Let’s start with the similarities. What has Merck IC in common with external consultancies?
Well, I guess basic elements of management consulting are the same. For instance, we work on a broad variety of intellectually stimulating projects, from strategy development to process optimization, or organizational development for our business sectors Healthcare, Life Science, Electronics as well as Group Functions. In this context we are facing an increasing number of project requests in the areas of digital transformation and data strategies according to general trends in the industry. Our team is highly diverse, agile and has global exposure.
Why are external consultants then joining Merck Inhouse Consulting? What is different?
The key difference is that our focus is on people development rather than selling projects. We act as talent incubator for Merck, building on consulting projects to drive personal development and foster transition to management roles after some years with Inhouse Consulting.
This is reflected in our way of working and leads to three distinct differences to external consultancies:
- Empowerment: Projects are assigned in close alignment with the consultants according to their individual interests and development goals. Once assigned, the consultant has the end-to-end responsibility for delivering on the project, from proposal development to steering committee presentations and project closure. This leads to high client visibility, and a high degree of autonomy and ownership.
- Career development: The E2E responsibility of projects is leading to highly visible consultants, creating a reputation, and developing an internal network beyond the individual assignment. Typically, consultants are directly approached by our clients – on new project requests, as sparring partner for discussion, or about job opportunities in their area of responsibility.
- Flexibility of work: Our consultants are perceived as Merck colleagues and not as pure service providers. Of course, there are times where consultants must go the extra-mile, e.g., to deliver a steering committee deck on time, but in general they can manage to have a healthy work-life balance. This is supported by our hybrid working approach – a mix of office presence to foster team integration and remote work providing workplace flexibility.
How successful was the talent incubator approach in the past?
Merck IC was founded in 2001 and has a successful track record since then. In the last 20+ years, more than 150 consultants and graduates successfully moved into business roles – by the way, about 75% of them are still with Merck. Currently, we have about 20-25 transitions per year into the business. And each transition to the business enhances our IC network, which leads again to more potential project and development opportunities in the future.