As a partner at A-Connect, a global talent firm based in Switzerland, Nina Eigerman matches consultants with project work for corporations worldwide. “It’s a very, very innovative company and a really interesting business model,” she says.
Traditionally, consultants are a package deal, Eigerman explains, providing a range of services like a network of experts, a prescribed methodology, and access to cutting-edge research. Innovators are breaking apart this package of services and offering them à la carte, she says. While some companies provide only the knowledge network or the methodology, A-Connect focuses solely on finding independent professionals who meet a client’s needs. “We offer the consultants without the consulting firm,” she says.
Eigerman never intended to end up in consulting. In fact, when she finished her MBA at Sloan she vowed to do something else, because she had consulted before grad school. But McKinsey, where she worked earlier, wooed her back. She spent seven years there, providing strategic direction to manufacturers and retailers. After leaving McKinsey, she was president of Aquent Consulting for five years, working with companies such as Amgen, Hewlett-Packard, and Target.
At A-Connect, Eigerman develops new business through consumer, retail, and high-tech clients in the eastern United States and builds the firm’s pool of freelance consultants. One of the perks of the job, for her, is helping them achieve better work-life balance–something she cares deeply about.
“They work hard on a project for six months and then go work on their next novel or their political campaign,” Eigerman says. It’s not just a women’s issue, she notes; in fact, more than two-thirds of A-Connect’s 700 consultants are men. “It’s really about being able to pursue things you are passionate about, and that’s true for both men and women,” she says.
Eigerman is just starting to feel that she has more balance in her own life. She and her husband, Nathan, MBA ‘96, a quantitative equity analyst and hedge fund manager, live near Boston with their ten-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. “For a long time, at the bottom of my résumé I had ‘Used to have hobbies, now have two small children,’” she says, laughing. Now that their kids are older, she’s enjoying some time for herself–even if it’s just reading a novel or working out.