A Q&A with Stax Consultants

Published: May 21, 2024

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Could you please provide an overview of Stax's offerings and the types of clients and projects you typically engage with?  

Yiwei Jiang, Manager: Stax focuses on serving private equity clients throughout their investment lifecycle, including buy-side diligence, value creation post-acquisition, and exit planning. Historically, Stax has been mostly focused on buy-side diligence, but over the past two years, the company has expanded more into value creation and exit planning, giving consultants access to more types of projects.

To what extent are you engaged with clients?

Maya John, Consultant: As an associate at Stax, you will find plentiful chances to interact with a diverse range of clients, including private equity firms and top executives of various companies. These opportunities may include communicating via email, delivering presentations directly to clients, or participating in day-long workshops aimed at brainstorming the best strategies to help clients achieve their objectives.

Brendan Shepard, Senior Consultant: At Stax, there are opportunities for client interaction very quickly, even for junior levels, who are encouraged to speak up on readouts. As you progress, these opportunities grow, and I'm now interacting pretty regularly with clients, sharing the communication with managers/directors along with the rest of the team. 

What does a typical day at Stax look like for you?

Maya: At Stax, every day brings its own “unique flavor,” and no two days are ever the same. Mornings kick off with team meetings, setting the stage for progress updates and addressing any concerns. From there, the team delves into interviews with industry experts to better understand the engagement topic, writing surveys, or modeling out market size, to eventually delivering presentations tailored to the client's needs (e.g., understanding a company’s positioning in the industry, determining pathways to double company revenue in 3 years). Days move swiftly, with multiple workstreams running simultaneously, but Stax fosters a collaborative environment, enabling projects to run smoothly.  

Brendan: A typical day at Stax can vary widely, though most days begin with an internal team meeting to catch up and prepare for the day. Throughout the day, the team will take research calls, have independent working time, and work together to build a client deliverable. The workday is usually pretty fast paced, with project teams meeting again towards the end of the day to recap progress and key findings from the day. 

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter strategy consulting?  

Brendan: There's really no required previous experience or hard skills to enter strategy consulting (I had neither). There are a variety of backgrounds at Stax and other firms, but everyone tends to be pretty driven and willing to learn quickly.

Yiwei: I agree with Brendan—I don’t think there is a preset of hard skills that are prerequisites to success in consulting. As we are constantly learning new things, having the intellectual curiosity to dive deeper will go a long way. In addition, logical thinking/the ability to organize our learnings into narratives and answers to client questions is also a key. 

Can you elaborate on the diversity of opportunities and the chance to engage with various verticals and project types at Stax?

Brendan: Projects at Stax are typically shorter than other management consulting firms, usually ranging from ~3-6 weeks. This allows for the opportunity to quickly gain exposure to a breadth of verticals and project types (e.g., it's not unusual to move from a software diligence project to an industrials value creation engagement within the span of a month).

What do you like best about working at Stax?

Yiwei: Having the opportunity to learn about a variety of industries: Due to the high velocity of deals, a Stax consultant might support 10-15 engagements per year. Each engagement is an opportunity to learn a new space and gain knowledge. (After digging into healthcare software and reimbursement through a couple of projects, I would never look at my bills and doctor visits in the same way as before!) It is a rewarding process for me, from not knowing anything to figuring out the bits and pieces via our research and thinking—there are a lot of “aha” moments in our research, and it is very rewarding. In addition, articulating a cohesive story for clients and helping their process is also enjoyable.

My colleagues are also a big reason why I like Stax: I enjoy working with a group of smart, low-ego people who share the same purpose of elevating client deliverable quality and developing people.

Brendan: The best part about working at Stax is the opportunity to work alongside and get to know a ton of great people. 

Maya: Getting to work with extremely humble and intelligent people who are fun to be around. Going to work can sometimes feel like hanging out with a group of friends, causing the day to fly by and making the work much more enjoyable. 

How does working at Stax contribute to achieving a better work/life balance?

Yiwei: Directors and managing directors also make efforts to elevate deliverable qualities and provide feedback on storyboarding vs. “selling the project and disappearing,” which avoids wild goose chases/ensures the team’s focus and time are spent on key research topics. In addition, our colleagues in Sri Lanka help with tasks such as visual production and data cleaning during the night, saving us ~1-2 hours per day of tasks such as slide formatting.

Maya: Stax benefits from an offshore team based in Colombo, enabling round-the-clock productivity. Tasks unfinished during our workday handed off to our colleagues in a different time zone for ongoing progress. Additionally, project leads are pretty accommodating of personal commitments outside of work. As long as you communicate with your project team and finish your responsibilities in a timely fashion, stepping out for personal commitments is perfectly acceptable.