Case Study: Ccg Bob Anderson

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Harvard Business School

9-496-023
Rev. October 16, 1996

Cambridge Consulting Group: Bob Anderson
As the 747 circled and climbed eastward out of Los Angeles International Airport, Bob Anderson began to unwind from the grueling 48 hours in Los Angeles. As managing partner of the High Technology Group of the Cambridge Consulting Group (CCG), he had spent two long days defining a consulting project for a rapidly growing bio-tech company. Now, while some of the junior members of his team were doing preliminary data gathering, he was flying back to Boston to meet with another client. Since the computer had not placed anyone in the other seat of his row, he was left to his own thoughts as he sipped a glass of white wine. Not surprisingly they turned to CCG and the Technology Group. What did surprise him was that in the relative quiet of the first class cabin, with no immediate pressures, his thoughts drifted to how he was doing at the end of his second year as group head, something he never had enough time to reflect on. The reflections which filled his head were mildly disturbing, because he began to wonder if, in spite of the great year his group had had, he was really doing such a great job of managing. Was he positioning the group well for the longer term with clients, vis-à-vis the intensifying competition, and was he developing younger staff and the organization to handle the rapidly growing number of clients?

The Firm
CCG, with revenues of $85 million, had been highly successful during the past decade. The firm had 52 partners and operated offices in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto, as well as in London and Singapore. The firm's success was reflected in its record profits in each of the prior three years. These profits were generated by a particularly strong showing in working with rapidly growing firms, including high tech ones, as well as a strong practice in implementing mergers and acquisitions. Much of the firm's success was attributed, by both industry observers and its partners, to the firm's rich traditions and strong reputation among its clients. Where many in the industry argued that it was difficult to hold long-term relationships with the same clients, CCG partners believed that the trust and confidence of its clients were a key to the firm's past and future success. The best way to meet these clients' needs was to tackle any client problems or opportunities with team effort and provide long-term service. In fact, CCG partners prided themselves on being able to put together a team of outstanding talent drawn from anywhere in the firm to meet a client's needs. With the firm's rapid growth and a desire to hold the number of partners relative to the professional staff constant, each recent year saw an increasing number of the firm's activities being Professors Jay W. Lorsch and John J. Gabarro prepared this case as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Copyright © 1995 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685 or write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Harvard Business School.

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Cambridge Consulting Group: Bob Anderson

conducted by non-partners, vice presidents, and more junior professionals (associates). To fill the need for its growing cadre of vice presidents and associates, the firm actively recruited at major graduate business schools in the United States, especially Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton. In fact, over 70% of its professional hires in the past five years had MBA degrees from such schools.

The High Technology Group
At...
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