Did you recently get a call, email, or LinkedIn message from an associate at Magellan Research Group with an offer for a paid consulting opportunity? Getting paid a high hourly rate for just an hour of your time sounds almost too good to be true – perhaps you’re wondering if Magellan is legitimate or a scam? Here’s what you need to know about landing high-paying consulting projects with this fast growing expert network.
What is Magellan Research Group?
Magellan Research Group is one of a plethora of expert networks that have appeared in recent years to source experts for market research projects for institutional investors— usually private equity, hedge funds, and consulting firms. Magellan Research Group is legitimate – it’s certainly not a scam! – and has been operating for 10 years from its offices in New York, NY. Their core product is the 1-hour phone consultation, although they offer a variety of services, such as management checks, custom industry surveys, and industry conferences. The firm is small, and specializes in a personalized and streamlined expert experience by utilizing the most efficient process to cut down on paperwork and vetting time so experts can focus on client calls.
It’s not uncommon for an expert to be asked for a follow-up call, or follow-up project with the client, which would be compensated at the same rate. Usually this happens when a client expands on a project, adds a new angle, or just has an excellent conversation and wants to work more closely with you for their project. A short phone call can sometimes turn into a lucrative consulting project via Magellan!
What to expect
If an associate from Magellan Research Group has reached out to you, it’s likely that you fit the criteria for a project:
- A former employee of a company on which they are doing due diligence. The industry standard practice is to source experts who are at least 6 months removed from the target company to ensure that any information exchanged is immaterial and thus not insider trading.
- A current or former employee from a competitor in the same industry.
- An expert on a specific topic, market, or geography from a parallel industry. This could include a current or former customer of a product or type of product.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of working with expert networks in general is the amount of paperwork an expert has to complete to apply to work on a project after they have been identified as a potential fit. While other expert networks will frequently ask you to complete questionnaires detailing your relevant work experience, Magellan’s associates do the work for you by crafting your biography based on the vetting conversation.
It’s important to give the associate the best high-level view of the topics they are asking about, as the client decides which expert to take a consult call with based on their biography. The vetting conversation is meant to be short, lasting no more than 15 minutes, but associates will stay on longer if you’re willing to provide more details, because those details could be the key to selling the call.
At the end of the vetting conversation, they will let you know if they believe you are a good fit for the project and if so, discuss your hourly consulting rate, your availability for a client call, and an overview of the compliance policy. Even if you aren’t a good fit for this particular project, you can still be added to their expert network database and may be tapped for future opportunities.
Magellan Research Group Consulting Rates
Magellan’s hourly consulting rates vary widely and the initial rate you are offered will be determined by a number of factors, including your job title and how many years you are removed from the industry or relevant job title that the client is researching. The closer you are to the relevant job title, the more likely you are to be chosen for a call, and thus more likely to command a higher rate. While you may have been called about a job you held three years ago, it may be unlikely that the client will take a call with you.
If you are below a director-level role, you will likely be offered $100-$200. If you are a director or above, you will be offered $200-$350. The associate is authorized to offer as high as $500, but anything higher has to be approved by a manager and could mean that your profile is not proposed to the client. Some experts really do get paid $1,000 or more per call through Magellan, but usually after they complete several calls and demonstrate that they are able to consistently offer clients the type of conversation that is extraordinarily useful and informative.
The best way to maximize your consulting rate is to let the associate know that you have worked with expert networks in the past and that you already have a set rate. This lets the associate know you are experienced and know your worth. It also sets a benchmark for the negotiations, so you can limit the pay range to what makes the engagement worth your time. Additionally, if you have been contacted for many projects, your knowledge is probably in demand and you can renegotiate your rate with each project.
You should note that your hourly consulting rate will be pro-rated based on how long you are on the call, so it’s in your best interest to keep talking (er, providing valuable insights!) to keep the client on the phone. Like many expert networks, Magellan really pays by the minute, so you won’t receive your full hourly rate if the call is an under hour, though the good news is that you’ll earn extra on calls that exceed 60 minutes – nothing beats earning an extra $50 by keeping a good conversation going a little longer!
Acing Your Magellan Client Call
Okay, so you’ve done the vetting call, settled on a rate, and scheduled a call. What can you expect?
The vast majority of client calls are centered on a particular company, industry or product. The client will want to know the details of the industry— how it works, business models, verticals, customer types, competitive landscape, key growth drivers, challenges, and trends.
The client is not expecting you to prepare for the call— they are looking to rapidly download knowledge of the industry via your many years of experience. Clients have generally done their own research, reviewed publicly available information, and heard a management presentation. What they are looking for is an insider who can confirm the research and give an informed opinion of the growth prospects and challenges of a particular industry, company, or product.
If you’re speaking with an investment manager, they are likely researching a particular company, they will want to know how it compares to its competitors, product and feature differentiation, quality of management, etc. These calls will often revolve around your former employer or a major vendor that you work with frequently, in which case they’ll want you to compare it to other similar products you vetted, with emphasis on the key factors influencing your decision.
Alternatively, the client may be a management consulting firm, which is tasked with developing a marketing strategy, solving operational problems, restructuring an organization, or other issues. These calls will often dive into how you approach a particular issue or problem, your impressions of various products, how purchase and budget decisions are made, and to provide feedback on some potential new products or proposed solutions.
You’ll usually have an easy time answering most questions during a call – after all, the client wants to learn about an area that you’ve been working in for years. Of course, you may not have the answer to everything, so don’t feel bad for saying that you don’t the answer to a certain question; the client will move on to the next question on their list and they aren’t paying top dollar for made-up answers!
It’s important to note that you’ll never be asked to share non-public or proprietary information, and Magellan will provide you with clear compliance guidelines several times before you connect with the client. One of the key responsibilities of expert networks is to ensure that improper information isn’t shared with clients, who are bound by strict compliance standards. It’s rare that you’ll be asked to share any non-public information, and you should decline to answer any questions you feel moves into this territory; clients won’t press you to share things that you shouldn’t.
Immediately after the call, you should get an email thanking you for your participation. There will be a link to the invoice system, which will offer 3 different payment methods: ACH direct deposit, a physical mailed check, or a donation to a charity. Magellan processes all expert payments at the end of the month.
Now that you’re a part of the network, you will periodically be contacted for new projects, as associates are more likely to tap you for projects if you have a history of completing successful calls.
Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your experience. If you haven’t been contacted by a Magellan Research Group associate, you can still register to be added to their network by emailing [email protected] to get started.