Managerial Odyssey 2023: Switzerland - Company #2: Mantu

In this article, we will present the Mantu group in 3 steps: an explanation of its activities, what distinguishes the group at the managerial level, and its strengths in the face of crises.

The people we met!

1 - An Overview of the Mantu Group

We visited the headquarters of Mantu in Geneva which is an international consulting firm founded in 2007 under the name of Amaris. The founder and CEO of the group Olivier Brourhant kindly accepted to receive us, accompanied by the Chief of Staff, Emmanuelle Baillet

The Mantu group is now established in 60 countries. It has offices on five continents and employs nearly 10,000 people of 110 different nationalities. It has a turnover of 810 million euros in 2022.

Mantu is already distinguished by the breadth of its spectrum of intervention, which is very broad and responds to many of the challenges of business transformation. Olivier and Emmanuelle helped us better understand the diversity of activities practiced by the group.

The group’s activities are divided into 4 main categories:
  • Leadership & Advocacy: Mainly about helping companies work on their raison d’être, they have for example advised Orange on its raison d’être.
  • Technology: this can range from mobile application design, to situation modeling, to product manufacturing optimization…
  • Digital Marketing & Experience: this is about helping their customers connect with their own customers: website design, virtual reality, escape games, partnerships with museums, game design, film experience… For example, they’ve designed a virtual reality experience for the Alesia museum.
  • Total Talent Management: this aspect is more complex and was born from a belief: the more time passes, the less companies master all of the skills at their disposal, as the talents required by them are diversifying. The group therefore created the Little Big Connexion company (about 300 people), whose objective is to be the link between a client and the different types of people profiles it is looking for.
  • Thus, Mantu possesses a wide range of skills, all serving a single mission: “connecting and powering companies with leading team and technology, to succeed faster and sustainably. “

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    2- What are the values and managerial practices that distinguish Mantu?

  • The trust given to young people
  • What struck us was the trust that Mantu shows towards young people. Olivier even tells us that it is part of the firm’s DNA.

    Indeed, the average age was 28 in 2019. Today, 70% of Mantu’s top 200 started out either as interns, international volunteering in a company or recent graduates.

    And more than that: Mantu has opened new offices by trusting young talent. For example, the opening of the China office was orchestrated by a 23 year old girl, same for the Canada office, and the Chile office which was opened by a 24 year old man.

    "When you're young, you take chances, you innovate, you bring a fresh perspective to society."

    What are the advantages of trusting young people?

    Olivier is convinced that young people are less prone to putting barriers in their way and do not know the word “impossible”. “When you’re young, you take chances, you innovate, you bring a fresh perspective to society.” He even goes so far as to tell us that it is very often experience that creates barriers.

    Moreover, young people have less of a filter, they often ask questions. In fact, they still have that occasionally formidable critical mind from childhood. And if they are capable of being curious, they are also capable of accepting that they don’t know everything.

    It is this fresh, innovative and critical mindset of young people that makes Mantu trust them so much.

    And it’s a way of doing things that works! Mantu is growing exponentially, with an average annual growth rate of over 40% since its creation.

    We can also point to the example of the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) who won the award for the best CFO under 40… at 29! (there is no category for those under 30 years old, proof that Mantu is an exception…)

  • The right to make mistakes & coaching
  • At Mantu, the right to make mistakes is anchored in the company culture. If it is not an issue to make a mistake, making the same mistake twice is a problem. But to prevent this from happening, coaching sessions are put in place to support learners. 

    The methodology is as follows: start by explaining in a theoretical way, show how it is done, then let the learner experiment, while keeping a close eye on him. If they make a mistake, let them make a mistake, then correct them so that they no longer make that mistake and are autonomous. 

    Be careful, if you skip steps in coaching, then the learner cannot succeed. According to Olivier, the first common mistake in coaching is to explain the theory without showing. The second is forgetting to correct the person when they are experimenting for their first time(s). These mistakes stem from the confusion between autonomy and independence.

  • The issue of gender equality in hiring
  • For Olivier, it has always been inconceivable to discriminate in hiring and he affirms that this has never been the case at Mantu. However, he confides that while they recruit 50% men and 50% women, only 30% of women are represented in the top management. (3 women out of the 10 members making up the Management Committee). There is a reason for this: due to a patriarchal cultural heritage, women are generally more humble than men and dare to project themselves less on high responsibility positions. Mantu therefore carries out positive discrimination by offering specific coaching for women, in order to encourage their perspectives on their career development.  Therefore it is a task of the “detection” of talents that is done upstream to fight as much as possible against gaps in the top management, and the managers are also trained in the recognition of biases on a daily basis.
  • A culture of “why”
  • As simple as it may sound, Mantu places great importance on “why?”. Asking why is a very effective way to improve processes and human relationships. Similarly, asking only open-ended questions in all circumstances is a key practice at Mantu. We tried to implement this practice during our interview, a little game suggested by Olivier, which proved to be quite complicated to abide by! According to Olivier, this is not really a revolutionary managerial innovation, but nonetheless very effective. This culture of “why?” is related to the importance Mantu places on hiring young people. Indeed, this segment of the population is comfortable with the “why?” and does not hesitate to question the meaning of its actions. This often allows us to pinpoint practices that are perpetuated in the company but which are no longer necessarily the most optimal.

    3- Crisis management

    • A strong commitment allows for better reactivity in the event of a crisis

    What struck us was the trust that Mantu shows towards young people. Olivier even tells us that it is part of the firm’s DNA.

    Like almost every company in the world, Mantu has suffered from the Covid crisis. However, its growth rate in 2021 was still 7%. How is this possible? The answer lies within the company’s culture.

    Already before the Covid crisis, 30% of its capital was owned by the teams at Mantu (that’s a lot). This made the feeling of belonging extremely strong.  So when there is a crisis, the will to fight in order to get out of this crisis is exceedingly strong because the employees feel strongly involved in the company.

    • Climate crisis

    In the face of the current climate crisis, Mantu stands out for its principled actions. The company has certifications such as the EcoVadis gold medal. But what is most remarkable is that the group has obtained the first ESG syndicated loan in Europe! (This loan is granted by several different banks. It is also called structured financing).

    The interest rate of the syndicated loan is indexed on extra-financial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Therefore, if Mantu implements principled behavior, they will pay less… And the group already has a team dedicated to making a “positive impact”: efforts are made in terms of the environment (efforts to reduce and compensate for their carbon emissions), diversity and inclusion ( strong gender equality indicators, 95 nationalities present…). In addition, efforts are made to ensure equal career opportunities for all. Mantu teams are also encouraged to volunteer. Indeed, an internal platform offers Mantu talents to use their skills to serve non-profit organizations all around the world.

    We hope you enjoyed this article! Thanks and see you soon!


    Élodie & Dimitri