Stax – A Global Strategy Consulting Firm

consulting firm profile

Founded in 1994, Stax is a leading analytically driven and tech-enabled global strategy consultancy specializing in commercial due diligence, value creation and growth strategy, and exit planning for private equity investors, PE-backed companies, hedge funds, and investment banks.

Stax has five distinct service offerings, all powered by its dynamic and agile data analytics capabilities:

  • Commercial & Strategic Due Diligence
  • Growth Strategies & Planning
  • Exit Planning
  • Value Creation & Operational Improvement
  • Data Analytics

Rigorous analysis, deep data discovery, an emphasis on uncovering insights, unique techniques, and robust industry expertise through proprietary tools and tech-enabled teams underpin every Stax engagement.

But is Stax the right place for you to begin or continue your consulting career? Let’s dive in to find out.

Table of Contents:

  1. Stax Key Stats
  2. Stax History
  3. Stax Organization & Careers
  4. Industries and Practice Areas
  5. Office Locations
  6. Career Path
  7. Stax Internships and Co-ops
  8. Stax Exit Opportunities
  9. Stax Firm Culture
  10. Stax Testimonies
  11. Stax vs. Competitors
  12. Stax Interview Tips & Recruiting
  13. Stax Training & Professional Development
  14. Stax Target Schools
  15. Stax Diversity Programs

Stax Key Stats:

  • Website: https://www.stax.com/
  • Headquarters: Boston, MA
  • Employees: 200+
  • Locations: Boston, Chicago, New York, and Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Chief Executive: Rafi Musher – Founder and CEO

Stax History

Stax LLC was founded in 1994 by Rafi Musher, who still runs the firm today. Musher saw a segment of the market Stax, StaxConsultingwhere clients were interested in significant content combined with an action orientation. The Stax founding team came from large firms and took their experience within the purely generalist case team structure and improved it adding specialist teams, giving Stax a unique value proposition in the consulting space.

In Q4 2021, Stax announced a platform investment from Blue Point Capital Partners which will fuel accelerated growth in the key areas which have defined Stax for over two decades:

  • Continuous improvement in Stax’s core offerings around growth strategies, commercial due diligence, data/analytics, value creation, and exit planning
  • Strategically expanded new offerings and geographies
  • Learning and growth opportunities for junior and senior talent

In short, there has never been a better time to pursue a role at the firm!

Stax Organization & Careers

Stax is a true meritocracy, offering a flat hierarchical culture that values the input of team members from every level. This is something to pay attention to if you’d come in at a junior level but are looking for quick professional development opportunities.

In addition, true to its nature as a boutique, the firm offers a collegial environment where (from what we can tell) the consultants seem to actually enjoy working with each other. This small office feel also offers direct access to leadership – senior leaders are staffed on almost every engagement and are accessible in the office even outside of the engagement structure.

An engagement manager in Chicago shared with us what surprised him about working at Stax:

“I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the hierarchy at Stax is fairly flat, and good ideas and contributions are valued equally whether from Managing Directors or Associates. Furthermore, career trajectory is defined on a case-by-case basis dependent purely on merit. Management is also very transparent with the firm’s overall performance through weekly town hall meetings highlighting new developments, as well as the incoming pipeline of projects.”

Industries and Practice Areas

Stax serves PE firms and their portfolio companies across the following industries:

    • Technology
    • Healthcare
    • Business Services
    • Industrials
    • Consumer & Retail
    • Education

Overall, the firm engages in projects focused on:

    • Private Equity
    • Strategy and Growth
    • Operational Improvements
    • Exit Planning
    • Data & Analytics

As a consultant at Stax, you’ll get near equal exposure to each of these types of projects, making for a well-rounded experience.

Stax is positioned as a provider of deep sector expertise rather than a generalist (in line with PE fund structure / buying preferences). Areas of expertise encompass a broad range of industries including software/technology, healthcare, business services, industrial, consumer/retail and education.

Office Locations

The firm has 4 office locations around the world:

    • Boston
    • Chicago
    • New York
    • Colombo, Sri Lanka

We have it on good authority the firm is hiring for positions across its offices!

Career Path

The career path at Stax looks like the following:

Associate > Senior Associate > Consultant > Senior Consultant > Manager > Senior Manager > Director > Managing Director

Undergraduate hires enter the firm at the Associate level while folks coming directly from an MBA program (who typically have 3-5 years’ experience) enter in at the Consultant level. You can expect to hit a promotion point every 18-24 months early in your career, and every 3-5 years as you become more senior.

Unlike other consulting firms, Stax does not employ an “up or out model,” meaning that you are not forced to accept a promotion or leave the firm at defined promotion points. This offers you more career flexibility, and the reduced turnover that results from this policy contributes to the firm’s tight knit culture.

Stax Internships and Co-ops

Stax has a long-standing relationship with the Northeastern University Co-op program, where the Boston office hires one or two Fall and Spring undergraduates as Associate Co-ops.

The Chicago office typically hires summer interns from the following target schools:

    • University of Notre Dame
    • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    • Northwestern University
    • University of Chicago

Note: Internships aren’t limited to students at these universities. If you’re enrolled somewhere else, still apply – just be sure to network before you do!

Stax Exit Opportunities

With broad industry and project type knowledge, exit opportunities abound for consultants at Stax. These include roles in corporate strategy, consulting, finance, startups, the non-profit/public sector, specialized consulting, energy, and sustainability.

Stax Firm Culture

The Stax culture is focused on collaborative work that drives meaningful impact for clients. At the same time, the culture is a true meritocracy – everyone is welcome (and expected) to contribute new ideas to project teams, and promotions are based on performance instead of tenure.

Below, we break down the Stax culture based on its core values:

  1. Diverse Client Exposure

The Stax client base encompasses the world’s largest public and private corporations, private equity firms, their portfolio operations groups and portfolio companies. At Stax, you will learn the different perspectives of corporate managers and investors, the various elements that go into running and growing companies, and how best to be a valuable partner and create a substantive network over time.

  1. Access to the Stax Leadership Team

The firm offers formal and sponsored trainings and mentorships, but it’s the informal, collaborative work experience with senior leadership from day one that will accelerate your professional and personal development. At a boutique firm like Stax, your work will have an immediate impact and your contribution will be noticed as you work side-by-side with senior leaders.

  1. Fast-Paced Learning

At Stax, the diversity of project and client work contribute to consultants’ rapid learning and career development. Typical engagements involve 4–12-week deep dives into varying industries, companies, and geographies, offering you direct client exposure from the outset of your tenure.

  1. Quality of Life

Unlike many of its peers, Stax offers a limited travel model and does not require living on a client site. The firm nurtures an open environment where colleagues are eager to assist with onboarding, career development, and continuous feedback.

Stax Testimonies

One of the best ways to get insight into a firm’s culture is to talk to the people at the firm! Here’s what a few current consultants, who went on the record, had to say about their time at Stax.

“The access to the management team and their investment in my growth and development still surprises me. I regularly join pitch calls on topic areas or on assets where I have experience/expertise or active interest in developing expertise. This exposure has been incredibly helpful as there’s no better way to understand first-hand how an investor is thinking about an asset or area. And that directly ties into the quality of research and deliverables as well – we’re able to be very targeted in understanding an investor’s key concerns and ensure our output is both in line with their expectations as well as most helpful for their process.

In addition, I have regular check-ins with our Senior Managing Director and our CEO to talk about both my long-term growth objectives as well as near-term tactical feedback to improve the quality of my deliverables and better manage my teams. The regular cadence of formal, scheduled check-ins combined with numerous weekly informal touchpoints has been very helpful for me – I get to incorporate real-time tactical feedback while also making sure I continue to think and work on some of my longer-term objectives.”

Engagement Manager

“Above all else, the culture at Stax was the big draw. The team is exceptionally talented and understands how to deliver top-tier client work in a sustainable way. Our senior leaders are transparent, accessible, and deeply care about their people.”

– Engagement Manager

“Over the last five years, from Senior Associate to Manager, I have been provided access to leadership, client-facing opportunities, and a career trajectory that would not have been possible at other firms.”

– Engagement Manager

Work-Life Balance

Life at Stax is unique for the consulting industry – you can expect a better work/life balance than industry benchmarks. You get more content, more client exposure, and more time to think because of the firm’s business model.

No question: you’ll work hard like in any consulting firm, but Stax has several unique operational differences than firms in the sector – whether large, mid-sized, or boutique. Case teams benefit from the firm’s global skill-specific research and analysis teams (secondary, primary, deep analytics) which provide overnight support.

This efficient and focused approach has always been around content and action orientation, rather than 3-4-5-day on-site models and long stays at client sites. While the world has reduced travel for the near term, Stax’s model was always far less travel than traditional consulting.

Stax vs. Competitors:

Associate and Consultants

There are some key differentiators at the Associate and Consultant levels versus its peers​:

Compensation ​

      • Competitive cash compensation​
      • Profit-sharing bonus in addition to the year-end bonus (eligible for senior consultants and below after year one)​
      • Strong long-term compensation trajectory over your Stax career​

Career progression opportunities ​

      • Better career growth trajectory in consulting​
      • Greater learning opportunities and ramp-up; collaboration with global teams​
      • Diversity of industry, project types, and more direct client engagement throughout the case team provides better depth of learning​

Quality of working experience ​

      • Collegial culture​
      • Engagement with senior leadership team​
      • Demanding clients and projects but with realistic delivery timetables and expectations   ​
      • More content into your work and ability to leave earlier at night because of specialized resources in the US and internationally working overnight US time

Work-life balance​

      • Generous parental leave, and a commitment from leadership that people take their full vacation time​
      • Very low travel – even pre-Covid, one night per week or less on average ​
      • Larger than average case team size and overseas resource teams provide greater chance to produce high-quality results​

Why does Stax offer these perks? It is building a sustainable firm and wants to…

      • Attract associates/consultants who are independent thinkers and team players – driven to get right answers​
      • Attract ambitious talent who take initiative, want to engage with clients on a day-to-day basis to help clients create value, and build a strong firm​
      • Reward consultants who take ownership of their work and help move the ball forward​
      • Create an environment where employees are provided resources to succeed and can see their own long-term career potential​

Managers and Directors

In addition, here are some key differentiators at the Manager and Director levels versus peers​:

Compensation ​

      • Competitive cash compensation​
      • Greater upside via profit sharing and long-term participation in firm upside​

Career progression opportunities ​

      • Robust set of client relationships​
      • Earlier chances for client management and development​
      • Expanding offerings and office expansion provide opportunity to participate in firm building​

Stax is interested in recruiting top talent and providing it with great opportunities to support market and client needs. Therefore, its stated goals are to:

      • Attract ambitious talent who take initiative, want to engage with clients on a day-to-day basis to help clients create value, and build a strong firm​
      • Provide more direct client engagement throughout the case team for better depth of learning, which improves individual career trajectory and translates to firm growth​
      • Allow senior leaders to further invest in the career development of their teams/colleagues and expand resources internally ​
      • Reward high-performers, which has helped the firm succeed in delivering top-tier work to clients who can afford any service from any provider. This means getting paid well, working with good people, and having the best possible work-life balance in this sector ​

Mentorship at Stax

Mentorships begin on day one of onboarding. When new employees begin at Stax they are paired with an onboarding buddy as well as a formal senior mentor. The onboarding buddy become the employee’s go-to-individual to get up to speed quickly. The formal mentors develop a more robust relationship and provide ongoing support to employees, helping you understand the firm, team, and project work in addition to supporting your personal career development.

Again, let’s hear from some Stax employees on how they’ve been given the opportunity to make a firm-wide impact. Quotes are excerpted from this article.

“Outside of projects, I have had the opportunity to contribute to building and developing our firm through both recruitment efforts and formal/informal mentorship. Through our mentor program, I have had the privilege of mentoring five members of the consulting team, meeting regularly to discuss projects, development, and goals. Further, I am a part of our women’s group that serves as a sounding board to junior team members, discusses current news in our industry, and provides overall support to the females in our organization.

Outside of the office, I have helped to build Stax’s brand as a speaker on the technology panel at the Kayo Women’s Private Equity Summit and spear-headed the organization of our social impact initiatives within the Boston community.”

– Engagement Manager

“One of my favorite parts of my job is the opportunity to mentor juniors. I mentor four incredibly talented consultants and we regularly check in to talk about project feedback, challenges they are facing, their long-term career goals, etc. I also support our recruiting team by interviewing candidates, holding informational interviews, etc.”

– Engagement Manager

Stax Training & Professional Development

Ongoing training and professional development occur through informal and sponsored trainings.

Informal: Project feedback at the end of each client engagement provides areas where employees can improve and areas where they are doing well to allow for continuous benchmarking against expectations, opposed to waiting until mid-year or year-end reviews; in addition to the hands-on experience throughout project work.

Sponsored: Numerous training sessions throughout the year provide opportunities for professional development across the firm, and for individuals that are looking to develop specialized skill sets and/or engaged in unique project work, tailored talent development opportunities are provided.

Examples include: Survey development, Excel Skills, Expert Network workshops, LinkedIn Recruiter, market sizing, forecasting/modeling, location mapping, data analysis; in addition to extensive focus on DEI, Compliance, Workplace Safety training; and mid-year and year-end 360s.

Stax recently hosted a firm-wide workshop “Returning to the office: Resources and coping skills to better manage change and stress” run by a clinical psychologist to help employees transition back to in-person work and taking care of yourself in the process.

There aren’t many firms we know of that bring in clinical psychologists to help facilitate their people’s return to the office!

Finally, Stax has a long history of bringing time, talent, and resources around five key areas:

  • Community outreach and financial support of nonprofit organizations​
  • Stax-originated programs  ​
  • Social impact clients​
  • Thought leadership​
  • Launching social impact companies

The firm’s social impact clients include:

In addition, Stax consultants provide volunteer hours (and the firm provides direct funding) to the following organizations:

  • Street Samaritans​
  • United Way Mass Bay – Story Read Alouds – 20+ employees recorded themselves reading children stories to promote literacy and reading​
  • Community Food Pantry of Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown​
  • Somerville Homeless Coalition​
  • Dress for Success​
  • Tribal College and University Computer Science Initiative: A Call to Action​
  • Chicago Urban League IMPACT Leadership development program in partnership with the Univ. of Chicago Booth School of Business​
  • The Opportunity Network​
  • Facing History and Ourselves​
  • Tech Goes Home, supplying computers and tech usage in MA​

Finally, the firm has originated its own impact programs that it fully funds. These include:

  • WiFi and Chromebooks directly purchased for 100+ students/families of public schools during the pandemic and for graduating seniors in need for college. ​
  • The Bronx Lab School book program during Covid: Every student and teacher gets to choose several books per year to be sent to their homes. ​
  • Music Enrichment Programs: outfitted five different New York City public school’s music classrooms​.

Stax Interview Tips & Recruiting

Stax offers a more streamlined interview process than many other consulting firms. You can expect a fairly quick two-step interview process that takes just a few weeks from start to offer:

  1. A behavioral interview with a Talent Recruiting Specialist to assess skills, qualifications, background.
  2. Case exercises in addition to behavioral interviews; two case interviews: data analysis in Excel and a consulting case with behavioral interviews with peers and leadership.

As a candidate, you should demonstrate recent experience with strategy consulting firms, strategic planning/ corporate strategy groups, or private equity/venture capital firms; strong quantitative and analytical skills; someone with drive who takes initiative and wants to engage with clients on a day-to-day basis to help clients create value and build a strong firm.

Work with our expert team today to prepare for a Stax interview.

Stax Target Schools

Here is a list of Stax target schools. The firm hires from outside its target schools as well, so don’t fret if your institution isn’t on this list! Just be sure to network before you apply to stand the best chance of landing a coveted interview invite.

    • American University
    • Bentley University
    • Boston College
    • Boston University
    • Brandeis University
    • Brown University
    • Colby College
    • Dartmouth College
    • Harvard University
    • Howard University
    • Northeastern University
    • Northwestern University
    • Princeton University
    • Spellman College
    • Tufts University
    • University of Chicago
    • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Notre Dame
    • University of Pennsylvania

Stax Diversity Programs

Stax has exhibited a clear commitment to its mission of being a place where a diverse mix of talented individuals want to come, to stay, and do their best work. Diversity initiatives at the firm include:

    • Women’s Initiatives – Stax’s ongoing forums create an internal community to discuss project-related work, leadership opportunities, career development for women at Stax; fostering a greater sense of how women develop and grow within the private equity/consulting ecosystem.
    • Stax DEI Book Club – A quarterly book discussion where employees can share information, personal stories, ideas, and discuss DEI topics in-depth, especially as it relates to the workplace. (A sampling of books read: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land)
    • Professional Development and Networking – Stax supports the Kayo Women’s Private Equity conference series and the Exponent Momentum Women’s forum.
    • Employee-Driven Volunteer Efforts include the following organizations: Dress for Success, Street Samaritans, United Way Mass Bay, Somerville, Homeless Coalition, Tribal College and University Computer Science Initiative, Chicago Urban League IMPACT Leadership development program, The Opportunity Network, Facing History and Ourselves, Tech Goes Home, and many more.
    • DEI education and awareness: Diversity and Inclusion and unbiased conscious training.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in doing meaningful consulting work with a special emphasis on the Private Equity space, but not sacrificing the rest of your life to do it, Stax could be the perfect firm for you!

Helpful Links

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Filed Under: Boutique Consulting Firms, consulting firm profiles, Consulting Firms, management consulting