Note: On March 10, 2017, Accenture completed its acquisition of Seabury Group. Time will tell if Accenture will leave Seabury Group to function rather autonomously, or if the firm’s identity will be swallowed up by its new parent.
Welcome back to our Firm Profiles. Today, we’re going to be looking at the consulting arm of aviation specialists Seabury Group. As part of a group that’s focused on Aviation, Aerospace and Defense, you won’t be at all surprised to find out that consulting at Seabury Group falls fairly and squarely within the realms of boutique consulting. For all you aspiring flyboys and girls out there, Seabury might just be the firm for you.
SEABURY GROUP KEY STATS
Seabury Group: www.seaburygroup.com
Seabury Group Headquarters: New York, NY
Seabury Group Employees: 275+
Seabury Group Locations: 14 countries, 20 offices
Seabury Group Chief Executive: John Luth
Seabury Group Revenue: $80M
Seabury Group Engagement Cost: $500K
SEABURY GROUP HISTORY
Seabury Group is still pretty new to the game, so the firm’s history is short. In fact, in terms of firms we profile, they are truly one of the new kids on the block.
Founded in 1995 by former Bain consultants and headquartered in New York City, they focus on developing airline strategy and implementing a major operational turnaround. As far as the firm’s history, that’s about as in-depth as it gets.
However, on December 16th, 2014, the firm announced the creation of the Seabury Advisory Group LLC, a subsidiary of The Seabury Group LLC, so it’s not all static on the Seabury Group front.
SEABURY GROUP ORGANIZATION
For such a new firm, with a short history, Seabury Group’s organizational structure is surprisingly convoluted.
Under Seabury Advisory Group LLC, are 6 more subsidiaries, 5 of which are LLCs, such as Seabury Aviation Consulting LLC and Seabury Corporate Advisors LLC.
Then, underneath three of these sub-subsidiaries are, you guessed it, more subsidiaries, such as Seabury Airline Planning Group LLC and Seabury Maritime Corporate Finance LLC. Are you confused yet? We’ll do our best to sift through all of the corporate jargon and paint a clear picture of the way Seabury Group is set up and operates.
In addition to this, there also happens to be another company within the Seabury Group called Seabury APG which is a management consulting firm specializing in aviation planning and management. Those of us who thought that aviation, aerospace & defense and transportation were already pretty niche just got taught a lesson – subcategories to subcategories and back again.
Practice Areas At Seabury Group
- Revenue Improvement
- Aircraft Acquisition
- Network Fleet Planning
- Cargo & Logistics
- Human Capital
- Cost Reduction
- Aircraft Technical Services
Industries At Seabury Group
- Aerospace & Defense
- Financial Services
Office Locations At Seabury Group
Interestingly, Seabury has expanded very rapidly and set up numerous small offices with low headcount in 4 countries, in 9 cities including:
- New York
- Hong Kong
The career path at Seabury Group is standard – 4-5 key levels and most start as experienced hires.
- Senior Analyst
Those who join Seabury Group right out of college will do so as Analysts and MBAs or experienced hires will join as Associates.
As Seabury Group is so focused on aviation, it will be no surprise to you that many of their staff have gone on to work in other areas within the field. In fact, one of our interview coaches, Michael Hecht, used to work for The Seabury Group and now works for Delta Airlines as a member of their Skymiles team.
The problem with working in such a narrow field is that your exit opportunities are also greatly reduced. All of your clients are in the same field, so the chances of interacting with people outside of the industry are greatly reduced. At MBB and other consulting firms, you will work with some of the biggest and best companies in the world – across many industries. At the Seabury Group, you will work with the best companies in the world – but most will be airlines.
If you do end up working at the firm and are hoping to transition into another consulting firm, you may have some difficulty, especially if you want to join a larger firm. As with all boutique firms, putting their name on your resume is tantamount to labeling yourself a specialist in one particular area. To the ordinary person, that doesn’t sound bad at all, but to other firms, it’s a red flag because they don’t know how well you’re going to be able to see the bigger picture as it relates to their more varied projects.
You should also consider the particular field The Seabury Group is in. In 2015, where most of the fastest growing companies in the world are tech related, working at a tech boutique firm could actually put you in a good position for new jobs. The airline industry, to be quite honest, is not as in demand or cutting edge, as it used to be.
Our advice? If you’re really passionate about aviation and transportation, and you just know you will work in this field for a long time, jump right into Seabury Group. If, however, you don’t know how you feel about working in this field and you’re just looking at working here as a stepping stone to different things, either be prepared to put in a few extra years climbing the job ladder to get where you want or reconsider your high-level strategy.
In terms of the working environment at The Seabury Group, there are a few things you should definitely consider before applying here:
One thing that employees love is the pay; it is very competitive. In fact, Seabury Group’s engagement cost is as high as those at top strategy firms, but comp can be higher because they spend much less money on the sales and recruiting processes. Just don’t expect it to be given to you on a plate – you’re going to work hard, very hard, for your paychecks.
Seabury Group is preeminent in their field, which means the people you’re working with know their stuff. If you do work here for a short, or even long, amount of time, you can expect to get a thorough education from aviation thought leaders.
Morale at the firm is pretty low, however. Long work hours mean it’s very hard to have a good work-life balance, particularly if you work out of NYC. Staff will often complain about limited opportunities for upward mobility, feeling their opportunities for advancement are being stalled without good reason. This, in turn, creates a Petri dish of competitiveness and ill will. It’s a common plight in small firms, but in one where high performers congregate, it’s magnified.
Formal training, especially for new starts, is limited, which can understandably leave staff members feeling very unsupported. Most new hires are actually ex-consultants from other top firms, so they come ready and trained. In short – you will be working with experts, but in terms of hands-on mentorship, don’t get your hopes up – come prepared.
INTERVIEWS AND RECRUITING
Seabury Group conducts interviews over two stages. The first is a fit interview and the second is a case interview. While the firm does recruit from some campuses, we’ve actually found that you aren’t at all disadvantaged if you don’t go to one of their target schools and if you apply online. They recruit a lot of their staff that way.
As for how they do their interviews, some things seem to be set in stone, while others are likely to change. The cases they give you to solve are hard and very math focused. It’s something we’ve heard time and time again, so if you want to give yourself a good chance at success, practice and keep on practicing.
One thing that seems like it changes is whether or not you are interviewed over the phone or if you get interviewed in person. It all depends on location and where you’re applying to work. Unlike other firms, Seabury might not fly you out to their offices just for an interview, so it’s not unheard of for candidates to do both rounds of interview over the phone.
Phone interviews are something to be wary of, particularly when it comes to case interviews. One of the many benefits of being in close proximity to the person who is interviewing you is that you can show them the process you’re going on as you take them with you. With phone interviews, you’re going to have to be right at the top of your game in order to both works through the case and communicate it to the interviewer who can’t see any of what you’re doing.