Ex-BCG’er Victoria Berquist a FT and McKinsey Bracken Bower finalist

13 December 2022 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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The annual Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year winners have been announced, with former BCG consultant Victoria Berquist a finalist in the under 35 category.

Victoria Berquist, a healthcare consultant previously employed with Boston Consulting Group in Australia and the United States, has narrowly missed out on claiming the 2022 Bracken Bower book prize as one of three finalists.

A part of the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of Year program, the Bracken Bower Prize recognises authors under the age of 35 with the most promising book proposals.

Victoria Berquist

Berquist’s ‘The Unstoppable Rise of Private Capital in Public Health: How businesses can help or harm the future of healthcare’ was selected as a finalist from a short-list of eleven entries, with the £15,000 prize ultimately awarded to Cambridge University Organisational Theory & Information Systems PhD candidate Âriel de Fauconberg for ‘Before the Dawn: Racing to net zero on the front lines of climate innovation’.

Berquist is herself currently studying a masters in public health policy with Harvard University, having previously completed a bachelor of medicine and surgery through Monash. In 2019 after two years as a resident physician at Alfred Health, she joined the Public Sector and Healthcare practices of Boston Consulting Group in Melbourne, before then crossing as a project leader to the strategy consultancy’s New York and San Francisco offices.

While perhaps disappointed to miss out on the main prize, which in part takes its name from management consulting pioneer and former McKinsey boss Marvin Bower, Berquist doesn’t go home empty-handed. As a finalist, she will get to take part in a masterclass with publishing representatives on how to bring her proposal to publication, as well as having an extract from it published online by the Financial Times.

“The future of our health is no longer controlled by doctors, governments or even you,” Berquist opens, citing the dramatic jump in private equity healthcare investments from under $5 billion in 2000 to more than $150 billion last year. “Whether fervently capitalist or strictly socialist, healthcare systems around the world are being transformed by the exponential rise of business in medicine, fueled by strained government budgets (and) relaxed regulation.”

The organisers note that the Bracken Bower Prize has since its inception in 2014 served as a publishing springboard for many of its winning and shortlisted proposals, with inaugural winner Saadia Zahidi going on make it to the main Book of the Year long-list four years later for her ‘Fifty Million Rising’.

Other success stories include “Meltdown” by Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik, which received Canada’s National Business Book Award in 2019.

As to the overall McKinsey Business Book of the Year winner for 2022, that title goes to ‘Chip War’, written by foreign policy academic and research consultant Chris Miller – who picked up the £30,000 prize following a ceremony in London. Miller takes the mantle from last year’s winner ‘This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends’ by Nicole Perlroth, with his book described as a timely and important account of the global battle for semiconductor supremacy.