Hendrik Oudelaar on working in strategy consulting at Arthur D. Little

12 January 2022 Consultancy.eu 4 min. read

Working in strategy consulting can be one of the most challenging and intellectually rewarding career paths in the consulting industry. Hendrik Oudelaar has been with Arthur D. Little in its Amsterdam office for five months – he reflects on how he has settled in with the firm. 

What drew you to world of strategy consulting?

I was drawn to the diversity in projects. Consulting allows you to come into contact with many different types of industries and develop different skills while also discovering your real strengths and where you can make the most impact. 

A key aspect of working in the world of strategy consulting is that straight out of university you are provided the opportunity to work on projects that are important to senior management of the largest companies globally. As a result, a strategy consultant can make an impact from the very first day.

Hendrik Oudelaar, Business Analyst, Arthur D. Little

Lastly, it is inspiring to work in a group of ambitious and intelligent people from diverse backgrounds. At Arthur D. Little in Amsterdam, our team consist of people from many different fields: chemistry, politics, finance, engineering, you name it. Working with the brightest minds from such a variety of backgrounds brings unique perspectives, meaning that you can learn a lot from each other. 

You’ve previously completed an internship at Arthur D. Little. How did that experience shape your decision to re-join the firm (nearly) three years on?

I did an internship at Arthur D. Little after just completing my bachelor degree. Although I didn’t have any work experience yet, I was immediately embraced by the team and quickly got similar responsibilities as other Business Analysts (the entry level at Arthur D. Little). 

At the time, the Amsterdam office already had a strong focus on sustainability-related projects. The importance and urgency of this subject – both fir myself and the world – has only further increased over the past years. The combination of the firm’s positioning, the focus on strategy and sustainability, and of course the people and culture, all convinced me to start my career at Arthur D. Little.

You’ve been at ADL for five months now. What kind of projects have you worked on?

During my first months I mostly worked on projects centered around sustainable portfolio management for chemical multinationals. For a Belgian chemical company, we audited their assessments of a part of their portfolio. It was interesting to analyse a wide variety of applications and technologies and rewarding to present sustainability-related and strategic recommendations to the client that were deemed very insightful and valuable.

For a German and American chemical company, we helped them implement sustainable portfolio management throughout their organisation. So far we’ve interviewed key internal stakeholders, designed their custom methodologies and planned the firmwide roll-out.

Currently I’m working on a business case for a battery recycling plant for electric vehicles in Europe. We are assessing the economic feasibility of such a plant in the near future.

Although these companies operate in similar industries, it is interesting to see how they differ and inspirational to work together with people from all around the world. 

How does Arthur D. Little help you with your professional and personal development?

Arthur D. Little provides extensive support for professional and personal development. First of all, I learn a lot from my colleagues during projects where asking as much as possible is supported. Next to this I have a mentor with whom I have regular conversations about my progress and goals. 

In addition, the global organisation (Arthur D. Little has offices in 20+ countries) facilitates virtual training sessions and this year I will go abroad for an intense week-long training program with colleagues from offices from all corners of the world. This week will focus completely on personal and professional development. 

Why did you choose to work for Arthur D Little and not for one of its competitors?

During my internship I noticed that I really liked working in a boutique firm. Because of the smaller size, you get to know everyone and learn a lot about the different projects our teams work on. 

At the same time, there is a lot of contact with other offices in the world which results in a dynamic and international environment. This combined with the project focus on strategy, sustainability, innovation and mergers & acquisitions convinced me to kickstart my career at the firm.

Finally, how would you describe the culture at ADL?

The culture in Amsterdam offers a family-knit environment. Since the team is not massive, you really get to know everyone. The office promotes a flat hierarchy which results in frequent open exchanges between all colleagues. This contributes to a very pleasant environment to work in, where one can have impact while having fun with colleagues. 

Meanwhile, there is continuous room for development.. and of course: fun! During my first month, we travelled to Sardinia with the complete offices of the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Austria and Central Europe. This was an amazing trip during which I met a lot of new people and it was nice to see that Arthur D. Little’s unique culture is shared among all offices.