Originally published in IvyExec.com in January 2022.
Keystone Strategy is a boutique firm with an outsized impact. At its core, it is focused on building a team of consultants who can approach the most challenging problems in business and society using a multidisciplinary approach.
There are different titles (job families) that map to the three parts of Keystone’s triad: Economics, Technology, and Business Strategy. Like most consulting firms, Keystone hires Associates out of undergraduate programs, Consultants out of MBA programs, Economists out of PhD programs, and Technologists (Data Scientists and Software Engineers) out of master’s programs and industry leaders.
It is this diversity of thought that, combined, helps solve the toughest policy and business problems in today’s markets.
Consulting at Keystone
Keystone consultants have opportunities to work on significant projects with major companies and law firms relatively early in their careers. Leveraging the combined expertise of world-class experts from top universities and global enterprises, consultants at Keystone partner with top law firms and Fortune 1000 organizations to provide what they call “transformative ideas with uncommon service.” Needless to say, their offices in top tech hubs in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and New York enable them to attract top-tier talent across the country to deliver on this mission.
To be successful as a Keystone consultant, team members bring a “consultant” mindset, meaning they are focused, innovative, driven, and collaborative.
“When I joined the firm, one of my mentors said that Keystone focuses heavily on doing extraordinary things. As a consultant, I get to go above-and-beyond expectations for almost every problem,” said Gayatri Nair, a Consultant at Keystone based out of the firm’s Seattle office and a recent graduate from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Keystone’s approach to problem solving is different from most firms because of its ability to combine the expertise of business strategists, economists, and technologists under one roof. The firm fosters strong working relationships among teammates with different backgrounds and ways of thinking to apply their knowledge and skill sets to business or legal challenges. The ability to bring together economic and technical backgrounds and apply these views on a business challenge or legal matter—all with the lens of the “do great things” mission in mind—enables them to go the extra mile to bring innovative ideas from the tech world to market.
Fostering a Problem-Solving Mindset
Each Keystone professional works on a highly cross-functional team, leveraging their backgrounds, strengths, and specific interests to projects they work on.
For instance, consultant Tyler Zhu recently worked on a report analyzing the impact of algorithm design on market outcomes. Because of his background in economics, he formed hypotheses and guided argumentation, while partnering with consultants whose backgrounds in computer science allowed them to perform the algorithmic analysis and experimentation.
Consultants appreciate learning from each other’s expertise, as well. Nair described a recent brainstorming session she joined where the entire team, including partners, problem-solved together in the boardroom.
“Whether an associate or a partner, each of us came up with ideas as we laid everything out on a white-board. The exercise not only helped problem-solve faster, but also created long-lasting bonds with my colleagues,” she said.
A Commitment to Client Service
Unlike in other professional work environments, Keystone’s collaborative teams focus on high-impact challenges in the world today. Consultants find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems as they not only continuously build their technical skills but also push themselves to understand the world more completely.
“Being a consultant here means getting to dig into deeply complex problems and growing our ability to partner with the world’s top leaders and engage in an advisory capacity,” said Ellora Sarkar, a Consultant at Keystone based in San Francisco.
At all levels, consultants at Keystone have the chance to interact with and advise executive-level clients from leading tech companies and global law firms.
Developing Expertise and a Network of Partnerships
Keystone believes that expertise should never remain static. Rather, Keystone consultants stay connected to industry leaders and academic partners throughout their careers.
“We partner with the world’s leading academic and industry experts to harness transformative ideas and expertise to help shape our client strategies and apply a deeper level of experience since our early days as a firm,” said Keystone’s president Jeff Marowits.
Some of Keystone’s core partnerships are with leading universities like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.
Within the firm, consultants are also partnered with mentors who can direct their path. “I have been able to develop strong and impactful relationships with senior mentors, whose hands-on advice and guidance has helped me learn and accelerate my career,” Sarkar noted.
Keystone also maintains a strong alumni network. Even after Keystone consultants move on from the firm, they remain connected to current and former colleagues. The purpose of this alumni network—KeystoneNext—is for consultants to continue to learn from each other and gain insights from its own “network of experts,” Marowits adds.
KeystoneNext now has more than 300 highly engaged members in fields ranging from healthcare and technology to law and finance. Keystone regularly pulls from this broad expertise for its Alumni Speaker Series to contribute to the intellectual growth of the team.
Developing a Meaningful Career
Keystone stays with you from candidate to partner or alum. Keystone consultants make an impact at all stages of their careers, and the firm just recently introduced a tuition reimbursement program that covers much of the costs of related advanced degrees for team members to pursue. If you’re seeking a firm that gives you autonomy earlier in your career and a robust network of colleagues, explore positions at Keystone Strategy.
“Even in my short tenure so far, the best part of Keystone is the people I met here. Everyone is extremely friendly and fun-loving. I am excited to continue working here and meet more amazing people,” said Gayatri.