SEI Consulting is a top-tier boutique business and technology management consulting firm. Its unique culture and flat management structure has driven it near the top of a number of “top firms” lists.
But should you want to work at SEI? Whether you’re just beginning to explore SEI Consulting or are seriously pursuing it, in this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about the mid-sized firm to make a decision. Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents:
- Key Stats
- SEI Consulting History
- SEI Consulting Careers
- Practice Areas
- SEI Consulting Locations
- Career Path
- SEI Consulting Internships
- Exit Opportunities
- Notable Alumni
- Target Schools
- Diversity Programs
- SEI Consulting Culture
- SEI Consulting Interview
- SEI Consulting Salary
SEI Consulting Key Stats
- SEI Consulting Website: https://www.sei.com/
- The SEI Consulting Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
- Number of Employees: 330
- Number of Locations: 10
- SEI Consulting Chief Executive: Bill Gallagher
- SEI Consulting Revenue: ~$20M
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SEI Consulting History
To better understand SEI and give yourself an edge in the recruiting process, it’s helpful to dive into the firm’s history.
The history of the firm dates back 30 years when it was founded by Dan Pierce in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1992. If you’re wondering what SEI means, the acronym stands for “Systems Evolution, Inc.” From its inception, Pierce came to realize the inherent disadvantages of ‘fly-in-fly-out’ consulting. Instead, Pierce envisioned an alternative roadmap.
He grew the firm by focusing on a people-first culture which prioritizes teamwork, mutual respect, and long-term relationships. SEI has expanded to employ more than 330 consultants operating in 10 branch offices throughout the United States.
SEI Consulting Careers
SEI Consulting maintains a formidable reputation among both employees and its nationwide clientele. Its localized, flat management model is generally considered to be a differentiator that leads to a rewarding work environment. The organization prioritizes the value of its employees and the reduction of excessive hierarchical bureaucracy.
In addition, SEI is 100% employee owned, meaning that each employee takes a sense of ownership for the success of the business. Two of the most unique features of SEI Consulting careers are:
- Unlike most consulting firms, the expectation is that you will NOT be asked to engage in weekly travel.
- The firm hires only experienced professionals. If you like what you are reading about the firm but are still an undergraduate, you’ll need to gain some experience before pursuing a job with the firm.
SEI Consulting careers encompass a variety of consulting specialties with roles in Technology Enablement, Concept to Delivery, Strategy and Operations, Services, and Data and Analytics.
SEI Consulting Practice Areas
Described as the company’s Capabilities, SEI practice areas are organized into five key areas:
- Concept to Delivery – Defining and planning a comprehensive approach that creates alignment between people, processes and technology, including: change management, design thinking, product management, rapid prototyping, and solution delivery.
- Technology Enablement – Integrating technology capabilities into a clients’ day-to-day operations, developing strategies and spearheading end-to-execution with the accompaniment of reliable project management. This often involves Agile Transformation, Application Development, Cloud and Technology, and DevOps.
- Data & Analytics – Utilization of data strategy, data modernization, data governance, data visualization and advanced analytics projects.
- Security & Compliance – Spearhead education and training programs supported by effective communication channels; security, risk management, compliance, and business resilience are prioritized.
- Strategy & Operations – Partnering with clients from concept to completion to generate large-scale transformations and increase operational effectiveness. Projects involve M&A, Organizational Design, Operational Transformation, Process Improvement, or Strategy Development and Execution.
SEI Consulting Industries
SEI Consulting serves a variety of sectors including:
- Government and Education
SEI Consulting Locations
With over 10 locations across the United States, prospective employees can select the option that best suits their current or preferred location.
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
SEI promotes a flat management structure. This ensures employees can collaborate and establish meaningful relationships. Here is an overview of the SEI career path:
- Consultant – A focus on doing the work – Consultants execute key work streams on projects.
- Business Development Manager – Generate new sales, negotiate client pricing, and forecast sales revenue.
- Managing Principal – Manage client relationships on projects where a team of Consultants is executing various workstreams. They are also responsible for guiding and integrating the work of the Consultants.
- Managing Director – Responsible for guiding the activities of multiple Principals to grow the firm.
- Vice President – Responsibility for financial/utilization metrics, delivery goals, and organizational targets across an entire business area for the firm.
Unlike most consulting firms, SEI does not bring on undergraduates without business experience. The firm only hires experienced professionals who can add value to the business on day one, with little to no training.
SEI Consulting Internships
Does SEI have internships? Yes, but they are few and far between. SEI’s Washington, D.C. office has a data and analytics internship program. Interns are provided with the ability to learn through various modules, beginning with data strategy, data engineering, data visualization and data science. The experience concludes with a capstone project integrating knowledge, methods, and strategies with a real-world dilemma faced by an actual client.
From time to time, the firm has internship openings in other offices, i.e., talent acquisition intern in Cincinnati. Learn more about current internship openings at SEI and apply here.
SEI exit opportunities are diverse. One option is to stay in consulting – many SEI employees eventually move on to Tier 1 firms with better-known brand names.
Another path is in “Big Tech.” An increasing number of employees exit SEI to join the ranks of major technology firms. These roles range from business development to marketing to data science to programming.
Another common exit from SEI is to land a job with a previous or current client. Finally, some SEI Consulting employees venture out on their own to launch their own consulting firms.
The list of SEI Consulting notable alumni is growing every day. It is not uncommon for even the most accomplished consultants to leave the firm to embark on a new journey outside SEI. Many have gone on to join the highest ranks of the consulting world both in the U.S. and abroad. The best way to explore SEI alumni is to use LinkedIn.
SEI generally recruits from Tier 1 MBA programs from across the United States. Naturally, the firm focuses on top programs near SEI offices. For example, Kellogg or Booth in Chicago, NYU Stern in New York, the usual suspects on the East Coast (Yale, Harvard, etc.), Wharton, etc. The firm conducts on-campus visits (virtual or in-person) several times throughout the year.
In addition, the firm is always looking to recruit seasoned professionals not in an MBA program. Find open roles here.
At SEI, diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas are embraced. The firm established a national DE&I Council to design a strategy for recruitment, training, and business development. This also includes the sponsoring of a variety of charitable organizations including Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, The Warren Center, and Step Up 4 Down Syndrome Walk & Run – among others.
SEI Consulting Culture
One of the most loved parts of the firm’s culture relates to its size – it’s large enough to be able to provide employees with the resources they need to thrive, but not so large that employees become a number and get lost in the crowd. Folks at SEI get regular opportunities to interact with senior execs and firm leaders.
The people at SEI enjoy who they work with, so much so that they are willing to attend after-work happy hours, hang out at lunch with coworkers, and attend team events outside of working hours.
The firm’s employee-owned model means that employees get a sense of ownership in the firm – and other perks (stock options and more). However, this sometimes has its downsides. Occasionally, employees have to put in time outside work towards business development, recruiting events, and account management. The pros outweigh the cons in this equation, but it is something to take into account when considering SEI.
If you’re looking for a consulting job but don’t want the stereotypical consulting lifestyle of weekly travel, SEI might be the perfect match for you. Its local staffing model – Consultants live and work from a local office – means that there are minimal expectations for travel. Will you need to travel some? Absolutely, but it will be nothing like the grind at a place like McKinsey or BCG. In addition, as a result of changing times, SEI (in 2020) introduced a remote work model it promises to maintain.
Finally, the fact that SEI only brings experienced hires onto the team does shape the culture – the people you work with will be a little older and wiser. That can be a positive or a negative, depending on the person, but we consider it a good thing for the most part.
SEI Consulting Interview
Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of the culture at the firm, let’s consider SEI interviews. It’s a multi-step process with three primary focuses; skill-set, cultural fit, and motivation.
The Skill-Set Interview
- The ‘What’ Interview
- Value proposition
- Candidate’s skills
The Cultural Fit Interview
- The ‘How’ Interview
- Value proposition
- Skill-set suitability (both hard and soft skills).
The Motivation Interview
- The ‘Why’ interview
- Value proposition
- Retention potential
You won’t necessarily “pass” or “fail” the SEI interview process in any one of these interviews – the firm looks at candidates holistically to determine who would be a good fit. Traditional case interviews do not appear to be a part of the interview process at SEI.
If you need help preparing for SEI interviews, work with our team of expert coaches. They will work with you 1:1 in any one of the three portions of the SEI interview process to get you ready. Start here.
SEI Consulting Salary
The SEI Consulting salary is comparable to other management consulting firms, noting that they don’t work with undergraduate new hires. As a result, SEI salaries start at $130,000/year, which is higher than the standard entry-level pay across consulting, but average for the amount of experience required.
As one of the top boutique consulting firms in the United States, SEI Consulting sets itself apart from competitors through a flat management structure, a tight-knit culture, and a focus on experienced hires. If that interests you, consider working with our team on a custom resume edit before applying. We’ll help you highlight your most relevant experience and the impact you’ve created in each stage of your career. Start here.
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