Ex-BCG consultant Mona is a Product Owner at Rentalcars.com in Manchester. Her job is to make car hire fully transparent for customers.
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”
This is how Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google in 2001, convinced Sheryl Sandberg to join.
Rentalcars.com has only just turned 12 years old, yet it is already over a billion-pound business. In the last three years it has doubled in size, and in the last year alone it has accelerated even faster! We are a team of 1,400 people and are hiring 450+ more this year. What this means is that there is ample opportunity to improve the business and (almost) no one stopping you from implementing your ideas! Quite a change from consultancy where you’re lucky if your brilliant ideas even make it into the final slide deck…
After my educational (PhD) leave I decided not to return to BCG in order to find a new challenge with a better work-life balance. I joined Rentalcars.com about 6 months ago as Product Owner of Terms & Conditions. I didn’t understand at first. Terms and Conditions? Were they sure they didn’t want to hire a lawyer for this job? However, the job is everything but boring legal details. Rentalcars.com is a broker, so our supply partners (Avis, Hertz and so on) have terms which our customers must adhere to – for example, additional fees they have to pay at the desk. My team and I make sure customers know this up front, and we help supply partners to improve their requirements. Achieving Full Transparency in the car hire industry is a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and I’m in charge.
The consultancy skill-set is a huge benefit in my role. Creating a strategic vision and boiling it down to roadmaps, planning and implementation is crucial. But there’s a lot to learn every day. I work with engineering (on software development), product owners (on intersections between software products), our call centre (on customer hassles), UX researchers (on user experience), copywriters (on wording), and our commercial department (on supply partner relationships). Each of my stakeholders has valuable insights, skills or resources that I need to create a fantastic product.
The biggest difference between BCG and Rentalcars.com is that I finally feel like I’m in the driver’s seat. I am driving change every day, and I can already see the results of my work on our website. But not all is different. My colleagues are smart and great at their jobs. I work with ex-consultants from BCG, Oliver Wyman, Bain, and Deloitte. Rentalcars.com is part of the Priceline Group, the world’s leading provider of online travel, and one of Fortune’s four most admired tech companies – alongside Google, Amazon & Facebook. We also have annual plans and quarterly objectives: just like the majority of BCG’s clients.
One of our company values is “We love having fun”. We have meeting rooms with hoverboards or poker tables, free breakfast, subsidized lunch and Friday beers. We also love “being different”, “doing stuff together”, “straight talking”, and “getting it done”. It’s a great place to be yourself and to be successful. And don’t even try wearing a suit for work.
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