The following interview is part of a series of profile interviews focussing on the background, views and opinions of leading figures in the management consultancy arena.

Here Colin Evans, Detica’s UK Managing Director, gives an insight into his experiences. Our thanks go to
Prism Executive Recruitment
for making this interview available to our readers.

Q: What was your first job?

A: I graduated with a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Southampton in the late ‘80s. Not much was happening in aerospace so I joined an offshore engineering firm and worked on safety and risk assessment projects associated with the North Sea. It was immediately after the Piper Alpha disaster and I spent a fair amount of time in Aberdeen.

Q: Why a career in Management Consulting?

A: I had quickly realised I enjoyed the varied of project work and wanted the opportunity to provide innovative solutions to clients’ business problems. I also wanted to learn about a broader number of markets and have the opportunity to gain experience quickly.

Q: What are the best and worst aspects of being a Consultant?

A: There are two things I always really enjoy. The first is actually getting to the heart of a client’s problem and giving them a practical solution which makes a difference for them. The second is achieving this by working closely with like-minded colleagues who share my pragmatic, “make it work in the real world” attitude.

The worst aspect is not the travel, or the long hours, or the pressure of meeting deadlines. For me, its working in highly politicised organisations where nobody really cares about the outcome and where consultants are just used as ‘lightning conductors’.

Q: What question are you most frequently asked by clients?

A: There are three generally!

What difference can you make to my business?

How much money can you save me?

How can you help me overcome this problem?

At our heart, Detica is about helping our clients solve hard business problems, so we always like to hear the last question!

Q: What has been the most challenging situation you have faced on a project?

A: I was leading a project looking at the opportunities to merge two government agencies. There was extreme hostility to the project from one side in particular. Every single meeting ended up with people shouting at us, despite the fact we wore our very biggest, softest kid gloves! Not fun.

Q: What is the most exotic location you have visited on a project?

A: I once had to spend a week in Silicon Valley and was due back in Washington DC the following Monday. I spent a great weekend touring the Monterey Peninsula in an open-top Mustang …. !

Q: What has been the proudest moment of your career to date?

A: Being part of the team that has grown Detica from around £20m turnover in 1997 through the £100m turnover mark in March this year.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your career to date?

A: Definitely Tom Black, Detica’s Chief Executive. He has been the driving force behind our success since he took over in ’95 and he gave me the opportunity to run a chunk of the firm back in ’97. We’ve worked closely ever since.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Management Consulting?

A: If you’re looking for something that is intellectually demanding, stimulating and where you can apply a broad range of problems in different situations, this is the job for you.

The other key thing is that you have to put your clients first - it’s not a 9-5pm job so be prepared to be flexible both professionally and personally.

Finally, seize every opportunity to get experience and enjoy the variety.

Q: What do you see as the key issues facing the Management Consulting sector in the next two years?

A: Firstly, its about delivering measurable client benefits, and proving the delivery of them. Clients are becoming more experienced buyers and are looking for partners to help them realise their vision. This includes ensuring that solutions are not just developed but fully adopted. Solutions also need to be unique and market differentiating solutions, either in terms of capability or, increasingly, time to market.

Secondly, recruitment - getting and keeping the best people in this competitive environment. For us, its about ensuring we select on common core values as we get bigger.

Q: Who do you admire in the business world and why?

A: There are a couple. What Stuart Rose is doing to turn M&S around is truly astounding – I look forward reading the business school case study at some stage in the future. I also once met Sam Chisholm, the former CEO of BSkyB and got some fairly forceful guidance on how to make a difference in business which has served me well!

Q: And outside of it?

A: Sir Steve Redgrave. His success over such an extended period of time is an incredible achievement. I admire both his will power and focus on excellence.

Q: What activities provide relaxation outside work?

A: As well as trying to make sure I see plenty of my daughter and son, I still play fairly serious hockey. I do sometimes wonder what I’m doing on a wet January night chasing a small white ball around in training, but it’s a good form of stress release!

Q: Which five people would you most like to invite to dinner and why?

A: Madonna, because she’s just an enduring great – Sir Ranulph Fiennes, because of his ‘never say never’ attitude - Bill Clinton, to understand what real power is all about - Jonathon Ross, just in case things got too serious - and Alan Titchmarsh for some down to earth advice on the garden!

Click here to view some of the latest consulting opportunities Prism are looking to fill, which include several senior positions at Detica Plc.

Prism executive recruitment specialises in end to end recruitment solutions for board level, senior management and other specialist appointments within the Management Consultancy, Professional services and the Telecommunications, Media and Advanced Technology markets. We operate on a pan European basis.

Please also click here to view all Detica’s current opportunities.

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