Overview

Introduction

Marakon Associates is a corporate strategy consulting firm that helps CEOs and their leadership teams achieve winning performance and build stronger organizations. A small firm, it offers its consultants more exposure to clients and the ability to take on additional challenges through stretch assignments. The company is an excellent place to begin one’s consulting career or work up to partner. For those with strong analytical and interpersonal skills, Marakon Associates might be the perfect place.

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Major Departments/Practice Areas

Corporate and Business Unit Strategy...


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Major Office Locations

Chicago...


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Employment Contact

Firsthand Findings

Marakon Associates is a small firm that makes a big impact. Due to its size, this firm offers its consultants more exposure to clients and the ability to take on additional challenges through stretch assignments. Consultants find themselves working on a variety of projects versus sticking to a particular niche.

Morale is high at this firm, and this is attributed to the engaging and intellectually challenging aspects of the work as well as the high caliber of colleagues. Insiders describe their coworkers as diverse, fun, passionate, and an incredibly smart group of young professionals. Workloads can be lumpy, and travel is generally required, but managers endeavor to prevent burnout.

Consultants at Marakon are satisfied with their compensation, p...

About the Company

Founded in 1978 and acquired by Charles River Associates (CRA) in 2009, Marakon has maintained its mission throughout the years: partnering with senior executives at some of the world's largest and most dynamic companies to drive sustainable value growth.

Marakon does not provide "one size fits all" industry solutions. They work closely with their clients—constructively challenging their current strategies and providing tailored insight-based advice. Their approach is built upon active engagement and joint accountability with clients, which only works for companies who are willing to "roll up their sleeves." But it hasn't seemed to scare too much business away. Marakon's client list includes big names like Merck, Barclays, Boeing, BP, Gillette, Roche, Nestle, Nordstrom, Danone, and McDonald's....

Employee Reviews


  • “Due to our smaller size there is minimal bureaucracy and consultants can progress fast given stretch roles and high access to clients.”
  • “Early responsibilities and deep analyses for clients, early interactions with managers and executives."
  • “Everyone contributes to the thinking.”
  • “Great place for me to start my career, learn about a variety of business strategies and industries, and work with high-caliber colleagues.”
  • "Marakon is great for building an essential skill set you need in business and management. While the firm is small, the type of work is extremely interesting, intellectually challenging, and of substantial impact. On top of that, you will like the people you meet here--they are smart, humble, fun!”
  • “Small firm means flatter organization and greater exposure to senior leadership and clients early on in career.”
  • “Three-days-a week travel with many opportunities for local projects allow for plenty of nights in your own bed. Hours vary by project but leadership has been making an effort to target 60-hour weeks. Limit of one two-week vacation a year but using all vacation time is not an issue and there is the option of taking sabbatical in addition.”
  • “Best: The workload can be difficult at times, but that is part of the business we are in. Fortunately, we consistently have the opportunity to work on challenging, strategic problems, and on most projects the 'crunch times' for us connects clearly with high-impact client meetings and decisions. Worst: Due in part to the boutique size of the firm, workload can be lumpy with some weeks and months far heavier than others. In some ways, this is predictable and can thus be proactively managed around. However, some unanticipated fits and starts are natural and unavoidable.”
  • “Quality of life can vary widely by practice area. Some projects you'll be on site Monday through Thursday, while other projects you'll be local and on client site for meetings.”
  • “Vacation policy is constantly changing and confusing to keep up with the small ‘rules’ but otherwise good.”
  • “Travel model for most clients is Monday through Thursday or Monday through Friday. This is semi-dependent on the client, but partners believe in the need to have client facetime and be on-site.”
  • “Travel model of two nights away from home versus four nights is unique to the industry.”
  • “Comp is generally in line with industry with a fast ramp.”
  • “Competitive pay and accelerated progression track. Good healthcare benefits (80-90% paid) but 401K matching is on the low side.”
  • “Amazing health care benefits.”
  • “Healthcare coverage is very good and is affordable. 401k match up to 3 percent which is ‘free money.’ Snacks and drinks in the office are a big plus!”
  • “Great snacks. Fitness reimbursement is improving (doubled from $150 to $300, and can now use for more than just gym membership, such as yoga). Higher reimbursement would be better for more expensive fitness options like yoga.”
  • “Informal training from the consultant staff is one of the most valuable aspects of the firm in terms of development in your first couple of years.”
  • “Review forums conducted every six months to allow for merit-based fast track promotions. Groups within firm tend to be silo-ed and can be hard to move around partner teams.”
  • “Marakon is small so every consultant regardless of level gets amazing client engagement opportunities and has a stretch role (if they are ready for it).”
  • “Promotions are based on demonstrated competencies. It is not based on tenure or on attainment of an advanced degree. Individuals can start out of undergrad and work their way up to partner.”
  • "Training is very robust, particularly at the junior levels 0-4 years out of undergrad. The formal training helps develop very well-rounded consultants with trainings focused on financial modeling and analytics, strategy development and frameworks, as well as 'softer skills' in effective communications, presentation skills, networking, etc.”
  • “Training takes place routinely in formal and informal settings, on topics ranging from finance and Excel to strategy and consulting best practices. The formal training typically takes place over several days so as to reinforce the learnings.”
  • “Business is very cyclical. Firm has fluctuated from being sold out to having one to two paying projects and 75 percent of the office unstaffed (on multiple occasions). Partner focus is generally on current projects rather than selling new ones which leads to lags and lulls in work, which greatly impacts staffing and general morale. On the other hand, most projects extend and are based on long-term relationships."
  • "Business outlook seems to vary year to year and unclear what drives changes in demand. Leadership is not super clear on routinely updating staff on strategy, performance, etc. Some innovative offerings of late that we are trying to get off the ground.”
  • “Robust pipeline of projects and clients.”
  • “We are constantly pushing the envelope with innovative approaches to address the 'hard to answer' strategic questions and strategic choices CEOs are always grappling with. Over the years, the questions have not changed, but with increasing access to data, the tools and approaches have gotten more robust and sophisticated, and we are on the leading edge of applying new approaches. This helps us differentiate from competition. The entrepreneurial and innovative culture helps to fuel high employee morale. Everyone feels like they are part of creating something new in the market.”
  • “Marakon is quite strong.”

Getting Hired Here

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  • “Typical two rounds. Two interviews the first round, three interviews the second round. Ideal candidate needs to be well rounded. Strong analytics but ability to step back and see the big picture. Good strategic instincts and willingness to put forth a point of view and support it with facts. Genuine, personable, and mature. Good communicator and good team player.”
  • “Standard case and fit interviews starting with phone screen/on-campus interview followed by one or two rounds of in-person interviews. Off-cycle takes about three to four weeks.”
  • “The ideal candidate structures his or her thinking, demonstrates analytical capabilities, is a team player, and can communicate effectively by listening actively, questioning thoughtfully, and articulating clearly.”
  • “On-campus consists of one or two first-round interviews (case, fit), then a super day in offices with more senior consultants and partners (case, fit). Ideal candidate is highly analytical thinker who can build models in excel.”
  • “We are seeking entrepreneurial, creative problem solvers with strong analytical skills that can break down a problem and enjoy putting it back together.”
  • “All our case interviews are based on actual recent client engagements.”
  • “Our cases are more challenging than the typical consulting case interview, assessing quantitative and analytical ability with greater rigor while also highlighting candidates' ability to connect the dots and understand broader strategic implications.”
  • “Tell me about a time when you worked in a team and succeeded. What went well? What about a time when you and your team did not do so well. What could have been done differently?”
  • “Resume-based interviews to test background and experiences (academic, internship, work), leadership roles, team skills, and interest in Marakon.”
  • “Quantitative case interview to test comfort with analytics, ability to generate insights from numbers, charts, graphs, and ability to think through strategic implications. Also tests ability to structure and frame a problem.”
  • "Role play interview to test client-facing skills. Ability to lead an interview / meeting, ask questions, gather information and synthesize. Also tests presence, maturity, personableness.”

Perks & Benefits