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Emerton: A Global High-standard Strategy Consulting Firm

Harold Smith | Emerton
Harold Smith | Emerton

It is no secret that the healthcare industry is a complex one. With numerous laws, policies, and regulations, potential professions and jobs, and daily developments in diagnosis, treatment, and medication, healthcare organizations have a lot to keep track of. Doing so thoroughly and professionally is unquestionably vital to their success and the health of their patients. That being said, people might wonder, “why are healthcare consultants so valuable in this niche?”

A mistake in advertising can be unfavorable to a company’s image, but a mistake in healthcare can result in severe mishaps — and that does more than impact a company’s image. In fact, it can disturb a healthcare company almost immediately and put them out of business. That is why healthcare consultants are so valuable.

Healthcare consultants have a goal: collaborate with clients to create and implement strategies to help them resolve their challenges and achieve their goals efficiently, effectively, and professionally. This is where Emerton excels as a boutique strategy consultancy by offering a highly customized approach to its clients.

In the following interview, Harold Smith, FranzenPartner, and Healthcare Practice Lead of Emerton sheds light on the journey of his company in the healthcare consultancy industry.

 Please brief our audience about Emerton, its values, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the healthcare consulting industry.

We are a boutique strategy consultancy that offers our clients a highly customized approach. We are best known for our work in licensing, due diligence, M&A, and international expansion.

For a firm that does a lot of deal-related work, our culture and values are remarkably non-transactional. We value long-term relationships and approach our work with both intellectual rigor and a healthy dose of humility and humanity.

 Tell us more about the services that set Emerton apart from the competition?

As a privately-owned company, we are not under pressure to systematize and scale. We remain a quality-focused atelier in a consulting industry that is increasingly homogenous, impersonal, and overly formatted.

Our team is analytically strong and data-driven but has not lost touch with the importance of creativity and human factors in developing actionable strategies and fostering an attractive work environment for our employees.

What is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the global healthcare sector, how Emerton fared during the pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns?

Frontline workers and healthcare service providers have endured the financial and emotional brunt of the pandemic. Economically, there have been some short-term winners from the crisis, but the ultimate impact is still unfolding. The industry has grossly underestimated the long-term impact of COVID-19 on government spending.

For drug and device companies, the pressure to demonstrate value will continue to mount at an accelerated pace as governments place pressure on prices and seek to shift funding from procurement to address other pain points.

Our company is looking at an expanded safety net in the US and increased investment in and higher compensation for healthcare workers here in France. Our healthcare practice has fared well during the pandemic.

Our business has grown, but, more importantly, our team has really come together. The pandemic has forced people to reassess their priorities, and I think this has been a net positive for us, particularly when it comes to recruiting talent from larger, less dynamic firms.

 In your opinion, what could be the future of the healthcare consulting services sector post the pandemic? And how are you strategizing your company’s operations for the future?

Digitalization and data analytics will continue to gain importance. Emerton has quietly built a world-class AI capability, Emerton Data, which will be increasingly integrated into our healthcare offering.

 As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare consulting services sector?

My advice to the budding aspirants is, Growth as a goal is a red herring. Focus on magnificent work, great client service, and building the team and culture; growth will follow.

How do you envision scaling Emerton’s operations in 2022?

We continue to strengthen our international operations and plan to continue expanding our geographic footprint. I look forward to working more closely with my colleagues in the US, Germany, and Japan.

 A Dynamic Leadership

Harold has over 25 years of experience as a strategy consultant to the healthcare industry. He began his career in Chicago and has also lived and worked in Tokyo, Singapore, New York, and now Paris. He has worked across the industry in pharma, biotech, medical devices, and private equity and brings a truly global perspective to his work and to Emerton.

Prior to joining Emerton, Harold founded and managed the Tokyo office of LEK. Consulting as well as Sanovo Medical, a boutique healthcare consultancy headquartered in New York.



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