Top guru breathes life into project

From The Herald, by Albert Naismith

Even management gurus can have their road to Damascus. When the blinding flash happened to Gerald Michaluk, the inspiration came from the dead science of good old-fashioned economics. Now this instant convert to the idea of making serious money through lone endeavour has just been rewarded by seeing his company enter the coveted Top 100 list of similar companies up and down the UK.

It was as a lecturer in marketing at Strathclyde University that Michaluk was asked by the DTI to assess marketing consultants’ performance for certification. He spotted the differential between a lecturer’s salary and what a marketing consultant might expect. "It’s not enough." cried an inward voice. "Get some of the action." So it came to pass that Marketing Management Services was born, in a large villa in Glasgow’s south side.

Gerald Michaluk did not fall off his proverbial horse that day in 1988 when he realised the benefits of branching out, but he nearly did so in July on learning that Management Consultancy Magazine had named it among the top 100 consulting firms in the UK.

It meant his youthful business was in company with the giants of the arena, such as Coopers & Lybrand, KPMG Management Consulting, and Deloitte & Touche. Although he scraped in by the skin of his teeth, Michaluk recognises this latest achievement as the icing on a cake which already has a rich mixture.

MMS clients have included the GDA, Tandem Computers, Hewlett Packard, Linn Volvo, Moat House Group, various colleges, consultancy and training organisations, the Royal Mail, some LECs, British Rail, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Power, British Gas, and medical groups. The company has also just announced a franchising initiative. It is aimed at consultants leaving major firms to branch out on their own but who have become accustomed to the back-up and research support of such companies.

Going Solo, which offers a call-centre operation via video phone and laptops, opens important doors to information retrieval and administration support. Michaluk says the scheme takes care of the "chorey" bits and there is a big bonus when it comes to researching via the Internet.

Marketing Management Services is on the point of expanding on its services in this area with an important announcement about a new facility for Scottish companies involving research software previously limited to US specialist Internet research companies.

Marketing Management Services has also newly concluded a deal with Strathclyde University to run a 10-week certificated course in management consultancy. This could start as early as October this year, though the following January does seem more likely. Already, Michaluk is a guest lecturer in the subject at a number of educational establishments, including Strathclyde University.

His thoughtful approach to marketing and management at least partly explains the success of Marketing Management Services, now based in two large villas in Glasgow’s south side and at a software research centre in Clydebank Business Park. He offers an all-in service, encapsulating consultancy, strategy, national and international marketing, and publications. His success stories are many, with one company’s turnover increasing from 20m to 70m in 18 months and a smaller company, The Sweeper Centre of West Kilbride, enjoying a 100% turnover increase in 10 months. Marketing Management Services has also recently received Investor in People status and has staff who are trained in delivering IIP to client companies. As a company going places, MMS believes that time is money and it is not unusual for its consultants to pilot their own light helicopters to remoter parts of Scotland to ensure quick and personal access to clients. As its turnover grows, Michaluk takes pride not only in making it into Management Consultancy’s top 100 but also in having been named No.38 in strategy consultancy.

"We are adopting a higher profile each year," he says. "We are building on our success and challenging the top names." In some ways he has already reached Damascus and is on the lookout for further conversion.

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