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YCP Solidiance

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Vault’s Verdict

As the result of being a global firm with a local/regional management model, there is a sense that the overall culture at YCP Solidiance has yet to merge into a single, unified experience for employees across the region. As a result, the specific culture experienced by an individual consultant will depend to a large degree on the location, makeup and heritage of the office they will primarily be working out of.

On the whole, however, YCP Solidiance represents a great opportunity to make an impact at a firm that grew up in—and out of—the APAC region, and to do work that blends the skill sets necessary to succeed in private equity and consulting. If the firm can manage to smooth out the most significant differences between its two cultures, it will be one to watch in the years ahead!

Firm Culture

  • “Flat, open working culture; where staff is constantly challenged and given opportunities to step up.”
  • “I believe it's our Asian-focus that sets us apart from other firms. We possess the market knowledge, network, and expertise in fast-growing Asian markets and are committed to high-quality work.”
  • “If you are looking for a firm with strong presence and experience in the South East Asia region, supportive and transparent culture, team diversity, and lots of challenges for professional growth starting from day 1, then YCP Solidiance is the answer.”
  • “It is important to choose a firm that gives you opportunities to grow and learn and make a mark for yourself where clients know you and not just the partners, and this is what YCP Solidiance offers. You have no brand name to hide behind or protect you so it is all about what you bring to the table and you are given opportunities to demonstrate that early on. A widespread network of offices across 17 offices globally and a flat organisation structure allows for work and learning opportunities on project basis in multiple countries and I have personally worked in places from Singapore to Myanmar to Abu Dhabi to Australia to Iran to Malaysia!” 
  • “Most of our staffs are stationed at the client's office to work together to realize operation improvement and business expansion, not just bringing ideas. Our service is visible in terms of ROI, which is well accepted by the client.”
  • “Our goal as the group is to develop our talent to those who can run the company in the future, so for us implementation work is important over strategy creation work. Additionally, we have investment function managed by the professionals with investment expertise. So our professional can develop his career both in management consulting and in private equity investment.”
  • “The firm intends to foster employees to be $100M CEOs by offering management hard skills through advisory projects and by offering hands-on management experiences through principal investment.”

Quality of Life

  • “Adequate support is offered during vacation time but can be difficult since firm promotes strong projects/career ownership, so intrusion during vacation time is unavoidable but can be minimized through effective team management and time management.”
  • “As with any consulting firm, hours required can be long but dependent on project needs and management style of project managers. Having said that, office management places heavy emphasis on emotional and mental wellbeing of consultants with frequent check-ins (formal and informal) to ensure good quality of life. If resource capacity allows, office management generally requests consultants to take time off after an intensive long-term project.”
  • “Best: Flexible hours, team members are treated like adults and allowed to take full ownership where delivery of timely output is given more emphasis than how many hours you spend in the office, travel requirements across Asia are mainly limited to interim reporting scheduled rather than on a weekly check in basis, rarely required to work on weekends. Worst: Nothing.”
  • “Efforts in this aspect are mainly office-specific, so it's a little hard to generalize. In our office, almost all team-building activities involve physical / wellness activities such as fun runs, muay thai lessons, volleyball games, etc. We are a small team, so we usually do not have enough people to justify group subscriptions, however, I'm certain that if we do propose it, management would most certainly consider.”
  • “Our firm is extremely flexible with hours and accommodating vacation time. This has led to a minimal amount of burnout as compared to working with other firms. Travel requirements are very light due to the lack of any need for travel for majority of the projects, whereas I would prefer having the opportunity for more travel exposure.”
  • “This is the first time in my consulting career that I feel I have a balanced work life and home life. It may be because I am a veteran now and have had years of practice, but it is also because I have a stronger team in place than I have ever done, and because the culture at work respects people to get work done, and not ask questions about going home early on certain days if your family requires it. I believe this is also different office to office depending on the leadership in each country.”
  • “We don't have a lot of health and wellness efforts that we can boast but some include, annual health check-ups covered by the company, checking working hours submitted by members to see if they are not working too much, and regular catch-up sessions with members to check up on both physical and mental health.”

Career Development

  • “Although development opportunities are mostly informal and heavier skewed to on-the-job coaching, it is the best medium for learning through realistic client problems and business cases—but largely dependent on office or project leadership which can be a mixed bag of different practices.
  • Strong belief in taking ownership of one's career, hence being outspoken and vocal in requesting exposure/learning opportunities is key.”
  • “I have been granted responsibilities at a fast pace (through promotions) and really appreciate the trust. The learning curve is stiff and builds you as a professional. I also appreciate the international exposure, and have worked countless times with international teams and in numerous different countries. I also enjoy the diversity of projects and industries. The cons would be a lack of opportunities for specialization as we are allocated on projects upon our availability, rather than our own choice.”
  • “Our personnel evaluation/compensation system is very unique with high transparency and fairness. After a full 360-degree evaluation, both the qualitative and quantitative results of all members are shared with everyone from Analyst to Partner. This allows members to not just self evaluate but see how peers/senior members are evaluated which is very important for career development. We also have a structured training program for juniors that teach consulting skills, financial skills, and marketing skills.
    Also, we take a multi-assign policy where, on average, members are assigned to more than one project at one time so that they can have a different experience in a period of time. From a diversity perspective, the ratio of female employees needs improvement, especially in the management team.”
  • “The evaluation and promotion processes are very transparent. With the rather fast promotion pace, the firm provides many young professionals to face the clients directly, growing them to more experienced professionals faster than other firms.”
  • “The firm is focused on internal operations and practices to perform at a high level for all clients. As such we are able to develop a tight-knit, quality team in the local office. However, this greatly impacts international opportunities wherein you would need to meet exceptional standards or encounter rare opportunities to have the chance for global exposure.”
  • “The firm values its talents and gives great opportunities to those who are willing to take challenges. And it is very systematic in rating employees' performance and will promote those great performers every half year. The firm also provides different trainings to all levels of professionals to help them grow in a comprehensive way…”
  • “The name recognition of the company is still low so there isn't much benefit in terms of resume building…However, we do have diverse projects that can widen by general knowledge and expertise in multiple fields. Consistent interaction with foreign offices also contributes greatly to a broadened perspective and becoming a more globally aware person, which is essential in developing one's career.”

Compensation

  • “Best: Very good bonus with a clear and transparent calculation methodology shared with each employee where the upside is really in your own control, base salaries are in line with the industry and country averages, payscale is fixed for each level and hence there is limited room for inequality. Worst: Base salary is lower compared to the Big 4 firms, while the upside in the form of bonus can be much higher than the Big 4.”
  • “Equal pay for all! As I have visibility across many individuals' packages in our office, I appreciate the equal base pay for those in the same position - regardless of gender - and the varied levels of opportunity to boost this through performance bonuses. My favorite office perk are the regular happy hours that happen everywhere!”
  • “The best perks are transportation reimbursement is allowed for meetings with options such as taxis or online ride hailing apps, and meals (although not provided by the company) could also be reimbursed for every meeting that we have with key stakeholders of the project (e.g. client, expert, competitors, etc).”
  • “At YCP Soldiance, salary progression and compensation compared to other consulting firms is far behind and the company does not even offer the same perks as other companies.”
  • “Benefits and perks are generally non-existent, though base pay is higher than most Big 4 and boutique firms but minimal salary progression. Compensation package is inconsistent across all offices, with some offices having higher annual package (not considering effects of different currency).”
  • “The compensation packages across the company are quite varied, especially at the leadership and partnership level. As a predominantly Japanese led company, the model that most have followed is small base salary + extensive bonuses. When international partners were acquired through a merger, the international partners' base salaries were much higher, so bonuses were removed. It is likely to have to be reviewed and adjusted in the coming years. Higher salary is unlikely moving forwards, only a focus on bonuses. Unfortunately, this like many bonus systems across many firms often do not support or propel camaraderie or cooperation, but instead sometimes healthy and sometimes unhealthy competition.”

Diversity

  • “I am seeing more and more women taking on leadership positions but I think we still have long way to go in terms of achieving gender equality.”
  • “A high percentage of upper management are of minority backgrounds and I have not detected any form of discrimination in our office whatsoever.”
  • “Gender has never been a factor for hiring, pay or promotion, at most it is suitability for certain projects due to the nature of the industry.”
  • “Open to hiring, promoting and mentoring women, minorities, and LGBTQ individuals. Pay between men and women are more or less commensurate…”
  • “Our partner and group CEO are respecting and encouraging diversity in the firm. Starting from the recruitment process up to promotion & bonuses given to the individual. We believe in quality of the individual rather than the physical attributes that the person possessed.”
  • “Promotion is based on employees' performance, contribution and values added to the firm, not affected by demographic characteristics of the employees. YCP Solidiance has a performance assessment system in place to ensure promotions are based on qualitative and quantitative measures.”
  • “The criteria/process for evaluation and promotion are clear. The results are shared with all members every 6 months which is a clear sign that compensation and promotion are equal between male and female.”
  • “The situation would depend on each office. Throughout South East Asia, there is a strong gender equality, both in terms of number of employees and salaries. However, when it comes to senior positions (Directors and Partners), there are very few women. This however seems to be evolving the right way.”

Outlook

  • “Company morale is high and I do find majority of the leadership to be very competent, and the firm has very ambitious goals for the near future…”
  • “Given our size, we're pretty agile and flexible. In difficult times such as the one brought by COVID-19, it only took a week or two for us to come up with at least 3 new offerings in Southeast Asia, vetted by both ad searches and initial client feedback. The flat organization allowed for ideas to come even from juniors, and if it's worth pursuing, these same juniors would be allowed to work on it from end-to-end, with the Partners, with the inhouse digital team, and with anyone else that might be needed to bring this to market. Our lean operations, diversified portfolio, and Asia-wide footprint make us extremely resilient, particularly as the ones at the top are amazingly young, approachable, and reasonable from everyone else's perspective.”
  • “The company has a large number of customers in Japanese enterprises, European and American enterprises, but it lacks customers from Chinese local enterprises, which has potential risks.”
  • “The fact that we are both a consulting firm and a private equity firm owning many businesses make us unique. It balances the risk of the group's operations and business. We cover a wide range of sectors and practices, from strategy, operations, financial advisory and M&A, digital transformation with a dedicated IT team, and turnaround. Our range of services and industry coverage help us to tap into many different businesses and sectors.”
  • “The strength is definitely the hybrid business model of consulting and portfolio investment. This allows us to deliver a very realistic, effective and feasible solution to our consulting clients, as well as attract very high-skilled professional members to our firm.
    Also, the average age of members is low, which is a sign that we are energetic and a team thriving for growth….”
  • “YCP Solidiance is a very dynamic company, able to reinvent itself at fast speed. I believe it will be able to maintain its fast growth despite the competition…”

Hiring Process

  • “Attitude is super important. candidates need to show a collaborative mindset, team player, ready to  learn new things, embrace challenges and new territories. Interviews are a mix between the video interviews and the face to face discussions where Partners, directors and consultants depending on the role the candidate applies to.”
  • “High achievers, driven, humble, dedicated, resourceful, highly intelligent, high EQ, problem solvers, resilient, growth oriented, driven to learn and grow professionally, detail oriented, patient, kind, reliable, highly professional minded.”
  • “I believe all the employees should have the ability to source their own projects without any geographic barrier. The ideal candidate has the bird’s eye that can foresee the needs beyond industries and the survival ability wherever in the world.“
  • “Ideal candidates are usually only coming from one of the top 4 universities in Thailand or with an MBA from a university in the USA or UK. They have experience in other consulting companies. Those with no prior work experience can join as interns and then be converted into Analyst.”
  • “Interview and callback process is pretty good. In terms of ideal candidate, I know that attitude is always a priority, sometimes more than business acumen, perhaps to a fault. But I guess the ideal candidate (for entry-level Analysts) just needs to be someone that is able to suck it up and do a lot of primary research, which is not for everyone. I think the ideal candidate should also have a great personality, because part of what the firm offers would be the great environment at the office.”
  • “Our recruiting process is systematic and efficient to screen capable talents. We look for candidates who are proactively and are willing to create new values and impact society leveraging our company as a platform.”
  • “The callback process has been improved, since our office is now having its own dedicated person to handle the callback. The ideal candidate that we seek is the one that would like to challenge the boundaries and willing to go extra miles for to achieve the desired result.”

Interview Questions

  • “An American client in the music business has an opportunity to buy a stake in a Korean digital music streaming player. Present one slide on what your advice to the client is based on research you can conduct in the space of one hour.”
  • “How would you size the dental prosthetics industry in Thailand?"
  • "Using the funds from a venture capitalist, what new magazine idea would you introduce into the Singaporean market?"
  • "You are offered the change to move to Vietnam to open a new office of the firm. What would you personally consider to decide on whether you would take this opportunity or not?”
  • “Recently, the firm has been asking Intern candidates to build 5-6 slide reports on topics such as M&A opportunities for Japanese firms, which was a very effective way to select the best candidates among the 100 applications we received in our Bangkok office.”
  • “What is your hobby/interest? (Based on the answer) How many XX do you think is in Japan?
  • "What are some companies/products/services that you think are interesting/disrupting and why?”
  • “What solutions would you be able to provide to rescue a company that would go bankrupt in a month?”
YCP Solidiance

Unit 1602, 16/F, 100 QRC
100 Queen’s Road Central
Central, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 3643 1100

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Group CEO: Yuki Ishida

Major Office Locations

Japan
Greater China
Southeast Asia
Middle East
India
US
Netherlands

Major Departments & Practices

  • Strategy
  • Operations
  • M&A Advisory
  • Marketing
  • Digital
  • Global Market Research