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Overview

Introduction

 

Though boutique in size, Clarkston Consulting’s reach is far. The firm specializes in three distinct industries—life sciences, consumer products, and retail—making it an intriguing choice for jobseekers with diverse interests and skillsets. Clients run the gamut from cosmetics brands to some of the biggest food and beverage conglomerates, all-but guaranteeing high visibility to a number of high profile engagements.

Company Stats


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Employer Type


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Size


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Featured Rankings

Vault Consulting 50...


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Major Departments/Practice Areas

Consumer Products & Life Sciences...


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Major Office Locations

Durham, NC (HQ)...


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Employment Contact

Jessica (Carey) Morris - Director of Human Resources...

Firsthand Findings

 

According to insiders, Clarkston Consulting is a life sciences firm where ambitious, hardworking candidates will be able to see the difference they make for their clients. Achievement is recognized and rewarded, and opportunities for growth are plentiful.

Culture is a true differentiator for the people who work here. As one survey respondent tellingly stated, “I joined Clarkston Consulting for a career, what I found was a family.” Consultants generally report feeling supported in their growth and supported by a leadership that instills a sense of confidence and shared purpose in everyone.

Despite industry-standard demanding hours, the firm seems to place great emphasis on work/life balance, and consultants are rewar...

About the Company

 

Clarkston Consulting is a business and technology consulting firm serving the consumer products, retail and life sciences markets. Besides its headquarters in Durham, N.C., the firm has offices in six U.S. cities. Clarkston Consulting was founded in 1991 with a purpose to build a consulting firm focused on two things: delivering brilliant client service and being an employer of choice.

Clarkston Consulting has focused on the consumer products, retail, and life sciences industries for over 15 years. Reflecting this targeted approach, the firm has never pursued aggressive expansion, instead applying energy to the careful cultivation of its client base. The results have borne this decision out: Clarkston's 20-year average client satisfaction rate is 97 percent (as measured by annual surveys conducted by Cl...

Employee Reviews


  • “Our focus on our clients and our people set us apart from competitors. We really care about doing the right thing for our clients and taking care of our employees and this combination seems obvious but is so rare in consulting. It sets us apart.”
  • “People like working at Clarkston – many long-timers with new people mixed in for a great balance. There are plenty of good people willing to help/guide your development. The culture is very strong and welcoming.”
  • “Great leadership vision and philosophies, right focus on client and steward satisfaction, tremendous growth opportunities.”
  • “Family. Clarkston truly cares about the whole employee, career, physical and mental well-being, financial health, and emotional and spiritual wellness. It is more than just a business and we are more than just a money-making staff.”
  • “Highly satisfying and rewarding company to work for, with many bright and likeminded team members I respect and trust.”
  • “When you join Clarkston, you don't just gain a career but you gain long lasting relationships that feels like family.”
  • “Consulting in general can be a difficult lifestyle. For instance, heavy travel, longer hours, time away from family, etc. That said our firm has been fantastic about finding ways to mitigate these challenges by equally considering the benefits for our clients, stewards, and firm in almost all of our decisions.”
  • “Travel has stopped due to COVID, but [it’s] typical Monday - Thursday travel. The quality of life and life on the road are made easier by the firm's family like culture.”
  • “The hours and travel are often dictated by client work, so it can be different each time. Regardless, the firm recognizes tough situations and is very accommodating to requests and/or additional support.”
  • “We have a wellness program through our insurance provider that gives guided health assessments and recommendations. Internally, we often have friendly competitions around walking/running goals, nightly sleep, healthy nutrition, etc.”
  • “[Our] StayWell program is run by a passionate group of stewards. Includes events and programs that include physical, mental and financial health. It is also combined with our health insurance so that activities can reduce our group and individual premiums.”
  • “Vacation time, holidays, sick and personal time are reasonable. Management encourages use of vacation time, work/life balance. If project related deliverable impede on taking vacation time; they work with you so you do not lose the time.”
  • “Salary is good but doesn't necessarily reflect the company's desire for us to go above and beyond. It seems to be about average against the industry, but we are asked to be better than average so we should be compensated for that. The bonus helps but it would be good to increase the frequency of that bonus rather than just at year end.”
  • “Though offering a competitive incoming salary, annual increases are routinely minimal without a promotion. However, payment of annual bonuses are a priority for the business and can be substantial in a profitable year, and anniversary bonuses are achieved every few years, a nice perk.”
  • “Our firm is very fair in its pay practices. While there may be higher salary opportunities in the industry (as there always are), we have more opportunities for total benefits and rewards than others.”
  • “Great total rewards package including salary, medical dental and eye benefits, anniversary awards, annual bonus for traveling consultants, and merit-based bonuses.”
  • “Base pay is benchmarked against both industry and consulting and incentive pay (bonus) is tied to personal and firm performance. This is good because I feel well aligned to my peers.”
  • “Best – Profit sharing, variable compensation and commissions, 401K contribution. Worst – internal activities and work aren't typically incorporated into base-pay, but rather your year-end bonus.”
  • “The opportunity for advancement is only limited by the time I am willing to invest. This is great for someone like me. Worst part might be that formal internal training opportunities seem to go to the newer stewards. Still overall, I get to drive where I am and what I make.”
  • “Training and development opportunities are not limited to your focus area; it is recommended to learn about all the offerings at Clarkson to both develop ourselves as well as have the background information to participate in different projects. Great way to expand your learning both on-site, remote as well as taking courses outside of Clarkston.”
  • “While the firm has a complex and detailed process around promotion, it ensures promotion of those who truly desire the position and are willing to work for it. Evaluation and approval within the partner community ensures agreement within the firm that the promotion has been earned. Bottom line is, if you want to be promoted, guidance exists on how to make it happen and there are people who will champion and mentor you if you deserve it.”
  • "You are always encouraged and expected to stay at the forefront of technology and trends that we expect will impact our clients. This is great because your skills will never be stagnant. We also have been tackling diversity for years now. We feel we have made great strides in gender, but are focusing on our efforts around color and sexual orientation.”
  • “One size does not fit all, which means you can create your own path for promotion, training, etc. That level of flexibility is not common at other firms and it's significant to have that much input. At the same time, some stewards are not as self-directed and may feel more structure is required.”
  • “Our firm always challenges us, which gives each of us the chance to grow as a professional, gain new skills, and never be bored. The problem with that is it does tend to burn people out, but we do offer a lot of internal programs you can use to recharge and keep everything moving forward.”
  • “Clarkston is committed to ensuring our firm is rich in diverse skills, competencies, strengths, personalities, and culture. We foster an inclusive environment that embraces the unique contributions of our people to further our purpose.”
  • “Clarkston Leadership and Core Values Committee has been actively involved in Employee Resource Groups and Diversity initiatives. They have also led a transparency initiative where they've shared detailed processes to explain how Compensation is evaluated, Promotions are decided and how equity is evaluated.”
  • “The firm does seem to value diversity and inclusion. I know they did a big data study on pay discrepancies and would be curious to see what the results were and steps they've taken to mitigate any gaps.”
  • “The firm has been actively working to improve and make visible its efforts to increase diversity and support of minority groups. In the last few years, development of networks supporting black, women, and LBGTQ employees have gained traction within the company, and all levels of employees have taken and interest in learning and participating. Without personal knowledge, I'm told that minorities and women may still be struggling to achieve pay equity.”
  • "The firm has spearheaded a number of initiatives related to Diversity and have promoted a heighted importance over the last couple of years. Recruiting – reviewing all job descriptions for biased language, blinding resumes, incorporated introduced new unconscious bias training for recruiters, video recruiting capabilities that can blind physical appearances during initial assessments, incorporating more quantitative recruiting models to reduce bias. Employee Networks – establishing a Women's Empowerment Network, Black Steward Network, and first PRIDE Network. Networks are open to non-identifying members to promote allyship, and lead quarterly company-wide calls on various topics such as authenticity, privilege, racial justice, and allyship. Internal Initiatives – After the death of George Floyd, the firm started a book club to discuss topics related to anti-racism and racial justice. Sending books such as “How to Be an Anti-Racist” to all employees and leading internal discussions. Training – We've continued to roll out our unbiasing the workplace seminars and developed inclusive language training seminars that will be rolled out to the firm.”
  • “I feel that the firm is taking steps to increase access to promotions and pay equality, but it would be nice if they share their findings with the firm. We are also taking steps to make the promotion process more transparent and objective rather than the movement towards subjectivity recently.”
  • “We are fortunate to be well positioned to survive and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently in a growth mode as a firm and are excited about the prospects for the future.”
  • “The current economic outlook is challenging for our firm and our clients - with so much uncertainty, it's hard to rate much higher. That said, Clarkston is in a strong position with limited debt, a strong portfolio and strong, stable leadership to perform well.”
  • “Despite the pandemic, the firm has done well with the industries where we work. The firm promotes internal education and has many employees that keep informed and disseminate information about current news and trends. I expect we'll continue to do well into the future.”
  • “Our firm is solidly positioned within life sciences vertical to balance concerns from Retail and CP.”
  • “We are well managed and financially healthy. Our vertices are somewhat shielded from meltdown. Consumer products and Life sciences are needed no matter the climate natural or manmade.”
  • “Our niche focus seems to be paying off as we continue to sign more and more clients.”

Why Work Here


At Clarkston, we provide a career that emphasizes personal growth and accelerated responsibility. We utilize a team approach, leveraging our collective expertise and industry knowledge to solve our clients’ business challenges. As stewards of Clarkston, we are all accountable for building the future of the firm together. We hope you’ll join us.

Getting Hired Here


  • “Our ideal candidate depends heavily on the level we are recruiting for, but in general is an enthusiastic, intelligent, and has great communication skills. They should be able to break down challenges to manageable parts, communicate the solution, and then execute against it.”
  • “Recruiter screen, which leads to a Subject Matter Expert (SME) screen. If the candidate performs well, they are invited to an interview day which consists of a Consulting Skills evaluation, another Subject Matter Screen and finally a meeting with one of the Partners to assess alignment and growth potential.”
  • “The firm looks for engaged employees that care about not only their success, but their client's and the firm's; independent thinkers who are proud of the work they do and share the values and respect for their fellow employees.”
  • “Timely interviewing and call back process; candidate is an SME in his or her field, excellent cultural fit, willing to travel, critical thinker, gives examples of brilliant client service.”
  • “Questions about communication, leadership, teamwork, problem solving. Whiteboarding to work on real world problems."
  • “The typical interview process begins with a conversation with a recruiter to discuss interest, fit and the Clarkston role. From there you will meet with subject matter expert in your field or focus area to assess the acumen and skills needed. The last stage of the interview process is the either final interviews, which are conducted virtually, or in-person at one of our office locations. The final interview consists of four separate interviews, the last being with a Partner within our firm. As a part of this, you will be given a business case or whiteboarding scenario to solve and work through.”
  • “Three level process, with different levels of Stewards works extremely well. All Seniors are involved in interviews for functional ability and in general cultural fit.”
  • “We lay out complex scenarios about a fictional key client, a challenge they are facing and then ask the candidate to pretend they have to propose a path forward. Usually we push them a little outside their comfort zone/ stated area of expertise. They have 10 minutes to prepare and then conduct a whiteboarding/ yellow-pad session with a Partner and current consultant in our firm.”
  • "Why Clarkston? What experiences have led you to choose a career in consulting? Tell me about a time you faced a challenge in a project and what did you do to overcome it.”
  • "Why do you want to join Clarkston? Why not a competitor? If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it's been for you in this role, what did we achieve together? Cases are based largely on the Subject Matter Expertise area for each of the candidates.”

Perks & Benefits