Indian consulting firm UC Strategy enjoys 25th anniversary

16 April 2019 3 min. read
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Indian consultancy UC Strategy has celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in style – with a performance from master sitar player Ustad Shujaat Khan to mark the occasion. 

Just two months after fellow Indian-origin consultancy Cognizant celebrated its 25th anniversary by ringing the bell at NASDAQ, Mumbai-based strategy firm UC Strategy has marked its own quarter of a decade with the altogether more pleasant sounds of sitar great Ustad Shujaat Khan, who performed before a gathered crowd of UC employees, alumni, clients and business associates to celebrate the occasion. 

Established in Mumbai in 1994 by founder and Managing Director Jay P. Desai, UC Strategy has over the past 25 years served more than 350 multinational and Indian clients in the life sciences, helthcare, agribusiness, industrials and financial services sectors with a wide range of strategy provisions, including market entry and go-to-market, diversification, business planning, commercial due diligence, supply chain, channel management, operations and distribution among others.

To date, the firm has completed 985 assignments, claiming a 75 percent client referral and retention rate, and built its team up to a headcount of 65-plus – complemented by a strategic alliance with Danish-headquartered international management consultancy QVARTZ formed at the beginning of last year, which itself has more than 400 highly-credentialed consultants across eight offices in Europe, the US and Asia Pacific – having grown rapidly over the past five years.

Indian consulting firm UC Strategy enjoys 25th anniversary

According to UC Strategy (which rebranded from Universal Consulting last year), the alliance with QVARTZ helps it to bridge global markets and jointly serve their clients across geographies – an impressive step for a firm which started out just two and a half decades ago with only $1,000 of savings in the founder’s pocket; “not even enough to buy a laptop,” quipped Desai in an interview with Willamette University’s Graduate School of Management alumni magazine.

Having earned his MBA with Willamette (since adding an advanced management programme degree from Harvard Business School), Desai immediately joined the ranks of Accenture progenitor Andersen Consulting in Mumbai, sticking around for nearly four and a half years before launching UC, which in 2007 formed an earlier alliance with L.E.K. Consulting – of which Desai was made a partner. Now, UC is one of India’s largest home-grown consultancies.

“I had a view that there was a market for management consulting services for mid-sized companies. I did what I wanted to do; I didn’t worry about whether it would succeed or not.”  Desai says of the firm’s early days, with UC now having borne “witness to India’s transformative journey from a mere $330 billion economy in 1994 to a major ~$2.5 trillion global economy in 2018.” By 2050, the local economy is expected to be the world’s second largest.

“Over the next 10 to 20 years I don’t think any other country can come close to providing the opportunities that a rapidly emerging India will,” says Desai. Still, the occasion of the firm’s 25th anniversary is a brief opportunity to look back, and joining Desai and the team from UC for its celebrations in Mumbai were QVARTZ founders Hans Henrik Beck and Torsten Hvidt – who together toasted a “friendship that now spans over a decade, which we consider a great honour.”