Jessica Roberts and Gregor Cohen Stuart on learning fast at strategy consultancy Arthur D. Little

19 April 2023 5 min. read

As they sought to challenge themselves while continuing to learn, Jessica Roberts and Gregor Cohen Stuart took a familiar route to recent graduates – heading into the consulting sector. Speaking with, they share how strategy consultancy Arthur D. Little has helped them build their skills and broaden their horizons since joining.

Working in strategy consulting can be one of the most challenging and intellectually rewarding career paths in the consulting industry. The prestigious segment’s leading firms count many of the world’s largest corporations, and most important government departments among their clients.

Regarded the world’s oldest management consultancy, Arthur D. Little specialises in strategic advisory at the intersection of management, innovation, and technology. The Dutch office is particularly focused on innovation and is at the forefront of sustainability consulting.

Jessica Roberts and Gregor Cohen Stuart - Arthur D Little

Every year, Arthur D. Little attracts top graduates to open roles, with Jessica Roberts and Gregor Cohen Stuart among the most recent hires in the firm’s Amsterdam office.

Jessica joined Arthur D. Little after completing an MBA. Following a career in banking, she was looking for a new challenge, while making use of her skills as a problem solver – something she says made consulting “the ideal industry” to provide her with a steep learning curve, while also getting exposure far beyond the financial services industry.

Speaking on her first year with Arthur D. Little, Roberts reflected, “What surprised me the most was how transferrable my skills were to industries entirely separate from the financial services world. Beyond being able to apply general quantitative and interpersonal skills to my work there are areas in which my training is directly applicable.”

“My first project was in the chemical industry but relied heavily on statistics and data and I was able to leverage my data experience and actuarial training to help the project be a success. Another example is in the area of sustainability: my background in trading and arbitrage pricing can be used directly in carbon credit markets.”

In contrast, Arthur D. Little was Gregor’s first major employer. Joining in the autumn of last year, after completing a Master’s in Management, he was impressed with the many ways in which the firm has helped fast-track his skills in the months since.

In particular, being able to work in different types of industries, on a wide variety of problems ranging from creating growth strategies to validating carbon emission-cutting strategies, has rapidly broadened his understanding of business and strategy – especially as Arthur D. Little often works with clients’ top-management.

Gregor revealed, “The biggest pro for me is the steep learning curve. I think it’s a known fact that consulting requires a little more work than your average nine-to-five, but in return you learn four times the amount. Secondly, the work offers a high level of autonomy and room to use the skills and knowledge gained during your studies; you get to think for yourself and come up with your own solutions from day one.”

This helped Gregor hit the ground running on arrival. His first project was a sustainability due diligence of an industrial company with a highly circular business model, for a European private equity firm. He performed an analysis of the company’s decarbonization strategy, and computed the feasibility of the private equity firm’s goal to lower CO2 emissions by 35% over total holding time.

Later, Gregor also conducted a commercial due diligence on a software company developing construction technology; a salient example of Arthur D. Little’s activity in the innovative technology sector.  

Welcoming atmosphere

In addition to expanding the horizons of new staff, Arthur D. Little’s consulting work lets them sharpen their pre-existing skills. For Gregor, these included talents he had honed during his studies, such as conceptual thinking, problem solving, communication and analytical skills.

Jessica also found this was the case – with life at the global consultancy also allowing her to better explore a passion for “engaging with people”, as consulting work is “inherently people-focused” – while the firm’s teams have supported the onboarding of both individuals personably, and professionally.

“When I joined, I was told by a colleague that the leadership here is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed – this has been my experience,” Jessica noted. “They are open to hearing your development needs and cater to them to the best of their ability. From a more formal perspective, Arthur D. Little has multiple training programs, both in person and online, which address both hard and soft skills required in this industry.”

This familial atmosphere is fostered by Arthur D. Little’s localised approach to building country-focused branches. According to Jessica, “true to the Dutch culture”, the Amsterdam office where both professionals now work is “non-hierarchical”, enabling easy knowledge sharing, while helping each team member feel they can bring “my whole self to work”.

This is also helped by the international make-up of the team – which along with Dutch members, includes colleagues from Brazil, Lithuania, Lebanon, and South Africa; all of which makes for a diverse and friendly workplace culture.

On the company’s team-building, Gregor said, “Unlike some other well-known consulting players, Arthur D. Little’s firm in Amsterdam is of the size where you can truly get to know everyone. My colleagues come from a vast variety of cultures and backgrounds which creates a vibrant, dynamic atmosphere at work.”

“Luckily, all are keen to help out and eager to undertake activities together; we often go for drinks or dinner on Fridays, have lunch together every day and once a month go for an out-of-office activity. The company’s hierarchy is very flat – you’ll be surrounded by people from all ranks of the organisation every day.”