Why Blue Matter is Different from Other Consulting Firms was originally published on Vault.
If you’re a consultant who’s looking for your next big career move—or if you’re thinking about a career in consulting—then you’re probably doing a lot of research about what it’s like to work at Consulting Firm A vs. Consulting Firm B, C, and so on. We’d like to make that process a bit easier for you by sharing some perspectives on why Blue Matter truly is different from any other consulting firm out there.
This article is all about providing information to help you make an informed decision. Throughout, we include perspectives that come directly from a diverse range of Blue Matter team members.
So, without further delay, let’s dive in. Blue Matter is, as you’re likely aware, a strategic consulting firm that focuses on the life science industry. Our team members work with a wide range of pharmaceutical, biotech, device, diagnostic, and other healthcare clients. Our client list includes the largest global leaders as well as the newest emerging innovators. The work itself is rewarding, as we’re helping to bring some of the most interesting and groundbreaking new therapies to market.
Aside from the life science focus, what else makes Blue Matter different? We think is boils down to three things:
- Our Culture
- The Work
- The Ability to Help Build the Company
“People First” Culture
We’re extremely proud of our “People First” culture at Blue Matter and we work every day to preserve and enhance it. The team who founded Blue Matter had a lot of prior experience with other consulting firms. Many times, they lived through corporate cultures that were more focused on the numbers than on the people behind them. As a result, they saw all too often that negative feelings, burnout, and high turnover can result. That’s not ideal for the team or for the clients. So, Blue Matter was built on the idea that the people come first.
From Day One, we set out to build a team that is committed to excellence and to meeting client needs, but that also values each individual member of the team. The result is an inclusive, tight-knit, very cohesive team that works great together, mentors and helps one another grow, and truly enjoys each other’s company.
Below are some additional thoughts on our culture shared by some newer members of the team.
Jose Quejada is a Consultant based in New York. He joined Blue Matter in June of 2020:
“The hype is real. Blue Matter lives up to its people first culture. Ever since I started, both managers+ and consultants have been supportive and caring. A good example of this is that during a particularly difficult project I was involved in, people that were not even associated with the work checked in on how I was doing and asked if there was anything they could do to help. This also speaks to our great team culture. All the project teams I have been a part of focus on delivering our best to the client as a team. Managers and team leads will pitch in to get the work done and I have never heard anyone complain about flexing to help another team member out. Of note, Blue Matter is a company that focuses on providing constant constructive feedback, which I believe has helped me grow in my first six months as a first-time consultant.”
Sabrina Stewart is a London-based Manager with Blue Matter. She joined the firm in February of 2020:
“There is a very strong focus on professional development that was clear from day one of the onboarding process…There are extensive resources on offer, and a full-time team dedicated to learning and development, which far exceeded my expectations for a company of our size. There is that old cliché about people being a company’s greatest asset, but here there is a real commitment to investing in the team and providing continuous opportunities for growth. Embracing that growth mindset is a crucial part of our culture.
“As you might expect from a company that prides itself on its people-first culture, the team was very welcoming, supportive and friendly. Everyone makes time to get to know you, and you are encouraged to connect with as many people across the company as time allows. There was also a comprehensive onboarding process to get up to speed with the company’s ways of working, including an onboarding ‘buddy’ to help you settle in.”
Shaun Tjahaja is a Consultant in San Francisco. He joined the team in January of 2020:
“Blue Matter has a culture that is highly conducive to the implementation of new ideas—for both our company and our clients. This has stood out to me a lot, compared with my prior experiences in consulting…Another distinguishing aspect of Blue Matter’s culture is shared camaraderie across the organization…This has made my experience at Blue Matter very fun and fulfilling.
“I’ve found support at Blue Matter to be very accessible, whether that’s for project work, internal duties, or professional development. People are always willing to help and do so thoroughly.
“I would encourage someone who is just joining the Blue Matter team to get to know as many people as possible. Given how diverse our project types are, knowing who to ask for advice or help is imperative to delivering the Blue Matter quality of work. It also makes the many fun activities we have even more fun!”
As we mentioned earlier, the work at Blue Matter can be extremely interesting and fulfilling. We often work with cutting-edge therapies in highly complex markets. While we work across a broad range of therapeutic areas, our key focus areas of oncology, CNS, and rare diseases often connect us with some of the most exciting developments in the life science industry. Our projects are diverse and are almost always highly strategic.
The team is also pretty creative about looking ahead to figure out where the next “round” of breakthroughs will be. Then, we do our best to stay ahead of the curve, developing thought leadership materials and new solutions for needs that may not be top of mind for most people (yet). As a result, our team members have incredible opportunities to explore new areas, boost their knowledge, and grow in ways they may not have anticipated.
Let’s see what a couple of our team members have to say about the work they do.
Katarina Mamareli is a Consultant based in London. She has been with the team since August of 2019:
“Working at Blue Matter provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge across different functions of the pharma industry, but most importantly how to position myself in client meetings and become a good listener, which is one of the key skills a consultant needs to have…At Blue Matter, everyone can feel included, while teamwork helps us overcome challenges across projects and motivates each other to professionally excel. Blue Matter is an excellent collaborative workplace with a strong emphasis on peer-to- peer support and teamwork.”
Tim Borgas is a Senior Consultant in our Zurich office. He joined the team in May of 2019:
“My main role is to support clients in identifying and then solving business challenges using our team’s expertise and experience. This can be as broad as where to expand a product portfolio and as specific as building an innovative consumer-oriented strategy for a prophylactic treatment that has been in-market for 40 years…Where we are involved with global products across geographies and franchises, we work best as the “one-stop-shop” for most of the strategic questions facing our clients every day.
“I previously worked for large, well known leaders of the consulting industry. However, nowhere have I seen consultants foster such close and engaged relationships with their clients over such long periods of time…I never before had the opportunity to establish such good client relations and be so closely immersed that clients openly include us as part of their team as with Blue Matter. Here, we go deeper into the subject matter than what I have seen before, which enables much more implementable and real-world solutions than at larger firms…Blue Matter also works in much smaller teams, which accelerates the close relationship even further. This is something quite unique.
“During my time at Blue Matter, I’ve had the opportunity to learn many interesting new things. To name just a few:
- I have become an expert in infectious diseases and vaccines strategy
- The pharma world is much bigger than the US & EU5. Sometimes markets such as Kazakhstan, Belarus, or Costa Rica are much more attractive to invest in than the US!
- Any business challenge can be solved by connecting the right people to each other and providing strategic thought partnership.
- Making decisions collectively through ‘new ways of working’ can sometimes be enlightening but can also be a major hurdle to effective strategies.”
The Ability to Help Build the Company
When a person joins the Blue Matter team, there are many ways in which they can develop themselves while also helping to build the company. Team members are encouraged to develop new ideas and being them forward. If someone is passionate about an idea that can help move the company and the team forward, then they might be able to take on a leadership role in making that idea a reality. This can include new service offerings, new internal initiatives, professional development programs, and more.
Below, some of our team members tell about their personal experiences building Blue Matter.
Harris Li is an Associate Principal in San Francisco. He has been a part of the Blue Matter team since 2015:
“In my time at Blue Matter, I have had the opportunity to work on a number of internal initiatives that I have been very passionate about. Since my first interview, it was clear that the company valued and supported employees taking on internal initiatives. In my first year at Blue Matter, I had some ideas on how to improve the office design and shared these with the partners. I was surprised by the level of enthusiasm and support I received and was given a lot of creative freedom to pursue my vision.
“From there, my work on design continued to evolve. I took over the complete re-design of our company website, which would serve as a first point of contact for potential clients and recruiting candidates. I was again given extensive creative freedom, while still receiving the appropriate level of support I needed.
“As I continued to develop my knowledge and skills in design, I was given responsibility to develop a standardized design style for our brand. This style guide is now used for every slide in every deliverable and externally facing document we produce.
“I have continued to be impressed by the firm’s support of my interests, giving me so much control over the internal projects I’ve taken on, even from the time I was still very junior in the company. It confirmed for me Blue Matter’s stated commitment to developing its employees as a whole person, in areas inside and outside of work.
“Most importantly, through my work on internal initiatives, I feel like a part of me is forever embedded in Blue Matter’s culture and identity. That makes me feel simultaneously proud and honored, and further cements my aspirations for a long-term career with the firm.”
Kelly Scull is an Associate Principal based in the New York office. She joined in August of 2019:
“I’ve had the opportunity to play key roles in a number of initiatives at Blue Matter, including:
- Building and expanding the firm’s capabilities in market access
- Working closely with Blue Matter Academy to enhance training
- Helping develop the Women’s Initiative as part of an overall Diversity and Inclusion initiative at Blue Matter
“I’m especially proud of my work in expanding our market access capabilities. The market access environment is rapidly evolving and is an increasingly important priority for biopharmaceutical companies, especially in oncology and rare diseases. It is exciting to be building a new capability to address the complex challenges that biopharmaceutical companies face.
“The ability to play leadership roles in all these initiatives makes me feel empowered. Ashwin, Emily and the rest of the partners have developed a unique culture at Blue Matter that genuinely focuses on the people. They empower us to take ownership and pride in our work but also in building our company and our team.”
Isabel Vollenweider is a Principal in Zurich. She has been a part of the team since 2015:
“Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to play key roles in many different initiatives to help build Blue Matter. A few notable ones include:
- Because of my passion and interest in creative problem solving I decided that I wanted to be involved in the ‘New Ideas Initiative’, which I ended up spearheading. As part of this initiative, I created the ‘New Ideas Handbook’ to help our teams to live up to our ambition of bringing to New Ideas and Better Results to every client engagement. I also organized learning sessions for teams to practice ideation and to get to know new tools for creative problem solving.
- I leveraged Design Thinking techniques to conduct an in-depth needs assessment for Managers at Blue Matter and inform future learning strategy. This project culminated in a half day workshop with Blue Matter Academy and senior members from across all our offices where we prioritized the needs and built training prototypes. Many ideas that came up in this workshop have been adapted and implemented in the meantime. For example, we have introduced a Manager buddy for newly promoted managers to support the transition into the new role.
- For our 2020 company off-site meeting, I led the design team that developed the full Miami 2020 experience (from concept to execution). This complex three-day annual meeting is a key event for our company, as we bring together the team from all over the world for meetings, workshops, learning, and a lot of fun, too. Our team was responsible for designing all aspects of the experience. It was so exciting to see our ideas come alive in Miami. In retrospect, it was also bittersweet because COVID-19 was just around the corner, so we have been remote since then. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to come together again soon!
“Being involved in initiatives like these really motivates me. It provides the opportunity to combine my passions with improving how Blue Matter operates. Many of the above-mentioned initiatives were my ideas and I was fully empowered to get people on board and pull them through.”
Hopefully, these team members have given you a feel for what it’s like to be a part of the Blue Matter team. The culture is highly unique among consulting firms. The work is rewarding and the learning never stops. And finally, you can make a lasting mark on the company by following your passions and spearheading initiatives to improve Blue Matter. We hope you’ll check out career opportunities with us…You might just find that Blue Matter is the place for you.
Blue Matter Consulting is No. 19 in Vault’s 50 Best Consulting Firms to Work For in 2021. The firm also ranks No. 5 in the Best Boutique Consulting Firms, No. 3 for Overall Business Outlook, and No.5 for Firm Culture. Visit Blue Matter Consulting’s Vault profile for all of the firm’s 2021 rankings.