An Initiation Study is a term TPG uses to describe our typical first project with an organization where we learn more about how the organization operates before implementing solutions. The way I see an initiation study is really like the way a patient goes to a doctor and explains their symptoms. We act as doctors for organizations in an initiation study. There is no specific rabbit hole or silo that we want to jump into right away. We just want to have an end-to-end view of the entire organization and understand their operations, understand their people and understand the systems that they’re using. That way, we get a holistic view of what the main challenges, issues and underlying patterns are. And from there we figure out what the next steps are in terms of recommendations, creating a roadmap of projects and programs, and the benefits that they will receive.
This process creates value both from the bottom-up and top-down. By interviewing and understanding the underlying problems across the organization, and all different levels, we receive data regarding the pain points that are felt in every area of the organization. After those pain points are gathered, we roll them up into different themes to figure out what the underlying patterns are. With the different themes, and categories, based on the pain points, we roll those up into different projects that we recommend to the client. This is what is meant by bottom-up because we’re getting an organic understanding of what the problem is, from the client’s perspective.
From a top-down standpoint, we are also understanding the client’s issues from a C-level executive perspective. They might also tell us what they view the problem to be and where the main pain points are. Both perspectives are necessary and valuable for our team to come up with the relevant recommendations for the next steps.
While our approach to an initiation study is pretty standardized, the one thing that makes TPG unique is the implementation work that we do afterward. While most consulting firms provide recommendations, and strategies, they do not get into the weeds of the operations and start implementing some of those recommendations. I think, where TPG is unique is that we actually roll up our sleeves and implement the project from beginning to end. Additionally, we don’t just have strategy consultants, but we also have operational consultants who can make tactical, operational improvements across the organization.
Internally, a company can do certain aspects of what we do. But, to get that holistic picture of what the problems and underlying issues are, and the challenges that an organization is facing, a third-party, objective perspective is needed for several reasons:
Management is typically very busy with fighting fires on a day-to-day basis and often does not have time to solve the root cause of their challenges without some external help.
When an employee or executive is too close to the organization and too close to their role or their department, it can be difficult to remain objective and see the organization as a whole. To address many of these root causes, you need to get a 30,000-foot view of what’s happening within the organization. Our consultants provide a holistic view of every single function and the interconnections between them. They can understand the dynamics and the culture objectively. It is always valuable to have a pair of eyes from the outside, looking at your operations your people, your culture, and your technologies and then making recommendations on which improvements are a priority.
There’s one trend emerging in the industry that I’m very excited to learn more about called a BPM (business process management) 4.0. A BPM uses components of process mining to help drive solutions. Process mining is basically the intersection of data mining and business process management. So basically, by companies having their systems digitized, we can utilize the data that they already have within each area of their business, to come up with a current state process map of what is going on. Most companies don’t typically take interest in understanding what their current, or as-is, state looks like – they always want to jump to the future state. But, as we know, it’s always necessary to understand and have a clear baseline of what the current state is.
I think this process mining technology has the capability to accelerate many processes within the industry and access more data and insights for clients easier. I find it really exciting!
Tell me a little about your career path. What made you get into consulting? (Life experiences, skillset, a mentor etc.)
“I entered into the consulting field after graduating from UofT in Industrial Engineering. Many people don’t see the connection between engineering and consulting, but industrial engineering is very much related to management consulting, in the sense that you’re studying, optimizing and making systems better. I started in 2018, with TPG and have been involved in a lot of projects since then that have helped me grow in my role and learn about new industries.”
What is something you are passionate about outside of your job role?
“I love the art and creative world because it gives me that balance and energy that I need to come back to the analytical world. It acts as a nice escape for me, personally. Second, martial arts, specifically Brazilian jujitsu I love doing. They call it “the human chess”. You’re always trying to get out of different moves and come up with different ways to get out of a situation or puzzle that you’re in. I also have my own podcast, which is cool. I get to meet people talk about a myriad of different topics which is nice, too.”
What initially drew you to TPG?
“It might sound cliché, but it’s really the culture and the people. I met David before graduating, and he asked me to come to the office. From the initial meeting, he was joking around with me and there was a sense of fun within the company in addition to the work that gets done. That’s when I knew this is a place I want to be. So, it’s the culture and also the fact that at TPG, given that it’s a boutique consulting firm, you get to wear a lot of different hats and be on a lot of different projects working with smart people.
“In general, I appreciate that consulting forces you to become a curious person. I think most of the people within our team, our culture, are curious. I think that is the catalyst for learning and becoming better.”