Note: Over the next months I’ll be posting interviews with a number of key members of the Cicero team here and on my LinkedIn account. Stay tuned!
What brought you to Cicero Group?
In 2010, I graduated with a degree in economics. At the time, many companies were still reeling from the impacts of the recession, which resulted in a very competitive market for recent graduates. Several weeks before graduating, I entertained a “shotgun” approach with my resume. To this day, I am still unsure how I came across Cicero…while not an ideal response it is the truth. At the time I interviewed with about six local firms, all focused on data analytics. I recall the interview discussions being the same at all the firms, until I met with the team at Cicero. To this day, I remember the exact language that sold me on Cicero; it came from Randy Shumway, Cicero’s CEO. “If you work here, your first 12 months will be the hardest you have ever worked in your life. There will be late nights, missed events, and plenty of stress. However, if you stick with it, you will have more experience and professional growth in your first year than your peers receive in three years.” It has been five years since that meeting and Cicero held true to every word. In fact, I continue to use this same pitch when interviewing potential candidates today.
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
I recently wrapped-up several exciting projects, each being from sectors that could not be further apart: IT Security, Healthcare, and Higher Education. IT Security: Our client was looking to develop a freemium pricing strategy for their Mobile Security product. We worked with our client’s steering committee and executive team to develop a pricing strategy that would maximize customer participation by defining the features and associated price points that generate the strongest utility. In addition, we developed a robust segmentation that gauged demand and price elasticity for specific customer segments. This process ultimately allowed us to recommend a tailored pricing strategy for specific global markets. Healthcare: Our client, a leader in the biopharmaceutical industry, was seeking to understand how their sales executives fared against competitors. To access executive performance, we interviewed over 200 physicians around the nation – examining product usage habits, sales preferences, satisfaction, brand perceptions, and general unmet needs. Subsequently, we were able to systematically identify what is working, key areas for improvement, and potential competitor threats within the market. The results of this project are being used to define their sales team’s engagement strategy for 2016. Higher Education: Our client was evaluating the possible expansion of its brand to encompass several new degree programs that fall outside of its typical modus operandi. The expansion would require a significant capital investment and process transformation. We were tasked with evaluating the perception of the expansion among stakeholders, measuring its potential impact on enrollments, validating key assumptions that supported the expansion, and evaluating similar programs within the market. By the end of the project, a comprehensive audit of the expansion was conducted and a go-to-market implementation blueprint was provided.
What are you reading?
A lot of textbooks – I’m currently pursuing my M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University.
Now, what are you reading for fun?
Unfortunately, nothing. However, I have been binging on Netflix. I just finished House of Cards and Better Call Saul, both of which I definitely recommend.
What is the best part about working at Cicero?
That is easy: the people. The individuals that work at Cicero are some of the smartest, but most humble, individuals you will ever encounter.
If you could help all your clients understand one principle or strategy, what would it be?
Don’t shy from high-levels of engagement. Consultants are driven by a need to understand, diagnose, and solve problems. Underneath that process, our goal is simple: to provide clarity and answers to tough questions. However, the consulting process is not automatic, nor is it one-sided. I have found that the more a client becomes part of the process, the richer the results and the more successful the implementation. When provided a detailed overview of the organization’s operations and a holistic perspective of the business problem, it’s far easier to deliver an optimal product.