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  To grow a healthy consulting business from scratch during the last years, differentiation was the key.
Consulting-Times E-zine
Those that were able to bring an unusual blend of services to the market were in some cases able to thrive and to sustain fee rates, at a time when many mainstream players were discounting their services just to generate an adequate volume of assignments.

Corven provides an example of what can be achieved if the right blend of services is brought to the market, even during a downturn. The firm has just celebrated its 5th anniversary and has recently opened a U.S. office and brought on board another UK Director in celebration of this milestone.

Started from a bedroom in 1999, the company had £2m in sales and seven staff during its first year of business. Its unusual blend of Management Consulting, Leadership Development and Corporate Finance (including investment of its own profits into new business ventures) proved to be a hit with the market, at that time riding high on the dot-com boom. The partnering of an advisory and investment offering enabled them to practice what they preach by investing their own profits to acquire UK businesses with growth potential.

Corven succeeded despite the economic downturn, moving into offices in Piccadilly within a year of being founded and then picking up a raft of awards by mid-2002 including a CBI Award for “Most Promising Young Company”, a National Business Award for “Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year” and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Company Award for “Entrepreneur Of The Year”.

By late 2002 the firm had grown to 30 staff, a figure which has now grown to over 40 full-time staff and which is expected to continue growing in the next years. Clients include corporations such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, BP, GSK, the Inland Revenue, mmO2, QinetiQ, BAE Systems, Abbey National and the Met Office.

What sets the firm apart though is its ability to advise on mid-market corporate finance deals up to £250 million, a capability built to complement its Management Consulting practice… Since on the consulting side Corven is intimately involved in shaping the change agenda of FTSE 100 companies, they understand the drivers that lead to business opportunities – and therefore which investments will succeed. Consulting therefore reinforces the Corporate Finance business, and exposure to both markets helps the firm to continue unscathed through any downturns in the consulting market – such as that which we have witnessed in the 2001-3 period.

With its 5th anniversary now behind it, the firm has this year opened a U.S. office and has brought on board David Barrett as a Director. David was formally a vice president at Capgemini, worldwide leader of the strategy practice and prior to that a consultant at Bain and Co in London. Also joining the Corven team in October are Daniel Holland from Towers Perrin, Craig Peters from Capgemini and Richenda Evans-Freke from Merrill Lynch Investment Managers. With further growth of the firm expected in 2005, there's no let-up in Corven's recruitment drive. Current requirements include a Financial Services Leader and Change Programme Directors.
Click here for jobs at Corven.
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