Roger Zhu

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On December 14, 2015, Roger Zhu commented on Bain & Company: A people-oriented approach to driving impact :

Totally agreed that the industry will be affected by the current pace of change, but I’m not entirely sure how the staffing model will evolve going forward. Clearly, I have a personal bias towards the need for the human aspect to the success of the project given my personal experiences, but who knows what disruption somebody could come up with that could eliminate that. Whatever emerges, I’m confident that Bain can evolve and adapt, but there will clearly be major change management considerations given that the standard consulting approach has been fairly entrenched for so long.

On December 9, 2015, Roger Zhu commented on Bain & Company: A people-oriented approach to driving impact :

Thanks for responding Sharharyar. I definitely agree that many consulting firms now market their ability to implement and deliver impact. I think that Bain would maintain that their people were and remain their key differentiator. From my personal experiences, the clients who most strongly advocate for Bain almost universally speak to how the collaborative working relationship is what set it apart from their other experiences with consultants. While I recognize that this sounds incredibly “fluffy,” I firmly believe one should not underestimate its importance. It is a relationship business after all.

To your question, Bain definitely has industry and practice area partner groups that specialize, but remain committed to a more generalist model up until that senior level. There’s something to be said for bringing an outside perspective, even within a consulting firm!

On December 8, 2015, Roger Zhu commented on Shinola: “Where American is made.TM” :

Very interesting company Betsy! I was wondering if you know what the typical price point for a Shinola watch is relative to other manufacturers in the industry. Are they looking to push the “American-made” story to the extreme high end (e.g. Rolex), or more to the middle where Japanese quartz watch companies are more prevalent?

In my mind, they would likely be more successful marketing to the middle segment of the market, where brand loyalty and association is not as strong as with the high end. However, I’m not sure whether they can manufacture the high quality mechanical movements at a cost where this is feasible. Do you know what they strategy is?


On December 8, 2015, Roger Zhu commented on What’s on the menu at Mitsui today? :

Very interesting post Megan; this sounds like my kind of establishment!

One piece I’m curious about is how they make their menu-less strategy work from a process planning perspective. While I can clearly see the benefits that it would have on customer engagement and inventory turnover, I do wonder how they ensure that the day-to-day variations do not result in such large fluctuations in order turnover time that it hurts the overall experience. It also raises the question of whether the business model is scalable, given that managing this complexity will become increasingly difficult with a larger and more diffuse chain of restaurants.

Do you have a perspective on how they handle this risk?


On December 8, 2015, Roger Zhu commented on Target’s failed entry in to Canada :

Nice post Sid, I think this is going to be an HBS marketing case some day! I followed this story fairly closely as well, and what I found most interesting was that many of the problems that Target Canada faced in its launch (supply chain, pricing and locations) could and should have been anticipated from the outset. If a reasonable person had thought about these questions with any level of rigor, I would be surprised if they would not identify some if not all of these issues.

Do you have a perspective on why Target didn’t foresee these problems? Or perhaps they were overly confident in their own ability to replicate the US business model and execute in another country?

On December 8, 2015, Roger Zhu commented on Bain & Company: A people-oriented approach to driving impact :

Thanks for the response Marco. While I definitely agree that there are companies out there who can attract that level of talent, many others can not. For instance, companies headquartered in smaller US cities often struggle to hire and retain the brightest employees. So at that level, I think a market for consulting will continue to exist.

In terms of scalable solutions, I think it’s a continuing arms race between all the major firms to ensure their IP and offerings are as up to date as possible. I personally don’t know of any imminent M&A plans at Bain, but there are always rumors circulating. Having said that, I personally a key success factor is that the solutions created are not cookie-cutter, and are tailored to the unique context of the business. Very rarely have i found that a solution that works in one company can be 100% ported to another and achieve the same results.

An interesting debate nonetheless,