Barbara Close, Finance Expert in Princeton, NJ, United States
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Barbara Close

Verified Expert  in Finance

Management Consulting Expert

Location
Princeton, NJ, United States
Toptal Member Since
August 4, 2022

As a former KPMG and PwC consultant and Fortune 1000 executive, Barbara has collaborated with CXOs in diverse industries for 20+ years. She has diversified industry expertise across consumer and industrial products and services, manufacturing, logistics, eCommerce, retail, and technology, which gives her a multi-dimensional approach to problem-solving. Functionally, her work has spanned core operations and front- and back-office processes. Barbara is a mechanical engineer and Kellogg MBA.

Career Highlights

Principal Consultant
StrategyScape

Education Highlights

Master’s Degree
Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
Bachelor's Degree
University of Washington

Case Studies

Work Experience

Principal Consultant

2008 - PRESENT
StrategyScape
  • Led commercial due diligence projects where I amplified value drivers and competitive challenges for private equity and corporate acquisitions ranging from $5 million to $500 million in value in diverse industries.
  • Modeled financials and mapped operations to validate growth and value. Defined markets, competitors, and demand trends to expose opportunities and white space.
  • Informed and facilitated shareholder and management decision-making by benchmarking workflows and costs, optimizing prices, and recommending process efficiencies based on industry best practices.
  • Developed long-term contractual relationships with multiple global consultancies to provide fractional expertise on strategy and due diligence engagements as part of their consulting teams.
  • Executed primary and secondary market research and interview programs to understand customer needs, industry trends, and market intelligence.
  • Modeled strategic growth opportunities by creating spreadsheet models of existing or contemplated business operations and developing multiple future scenarios to determine potential value and critical risks.
  • Uncovered operational issues, including excess or hidden costs, sliding revenue from underperforming products, ineffective marketing tactics, product or service defects, process bottlenecks, and customer experience weaknesses.
  • Worked as an expert in the equestrian industry, having 20+ years as a professional sport horse trainer and licensed official and 35+ years in riding, training, and managing horses, including veterinary and nutritional decisions.
Focus areas: Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Growth, Operations, Manufacturing, Excel Expert, Supply Chain, Quality Control (QC), Market Fit, Research, Fundraising, Cross-border M&A, Financial Services, Banking & Finance, Strategy, Brand Marketing, Finance, Modeling, DCF Valuation, StatsModels, Mechanical Engineering, DCF Modeling, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Forecasting, Forex Analysis, Target Operating Models, Operating Models, Go-to-market Strategy, Business Process Modeling, Business Model Canvas, Business Modeling, Business Models, Financial Modeling, Business Strategy, M&A Strategy, Competitive Analysis, Pricing, Revenue & Expense Projections, United States, Market Research, Performance Improvement, Process Mapping, Logistics, Supply Chain Optimization, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Go-to-market Plans, Sales Strategy, Pricing Models

Advisory Director

2022 - 2023
KPMG
  • Delivered a 7-figure strategy transformation project for a $8 billion global leader in food ingredients. Enabled executive leadership team and 100+ international business and functional managers to make decisions affecting global market strategy.
  • Quantified cost savings and cash flow improvements for a $100 million PE-owned document printer. Leveraged rapid diagnostic approach to identify EBITDA improvements of $14 million relative to a $2 million target achievable within one year.
  • Led procure-to-pay turnaround effort for a $1.5 billion global chemical producer in crisis. Diagnosed critical process weaknesses within a week and implemented immediate revisions to payment, procurement, and inventory management functions.
Focus areas: Business Models, Operating Models, Process Mapping, Manufacturing, M&A Strategy, Strategy, Performance Analysis, Supply Chain, Go-to-market Plans, Sales Strategy, Pricing Models

Operational Excellence Consultant (via StrategyScape)

2013 - 2019
Versa Products Company
  • Reduced defects and customer complaints by 30% annually for four years by uncovering root causes and redesigning manufacturing processes. Turnaround time for complaints shrunk from months to hours, and shop morale improved.
  • Led a 3-day offsite that generated 90+ strategic growth projects presented to the leadership team. Collaborated with cross-functional teams to develop a 5-year growth plan, tactical approach and priorities, and team structure required to execute.
  • Created a digital marketing role and playbook and led a marketing modernization initiative. Results included a redesigned responsive website with global eCommerce capabilities projected to add 20% in sales to the existing distributor sales model.
  • Managed a team of inspectors and a team of senior industrial engineers running Lean projects, which improved morale and sustained efficiencies across multiple quality and production processes, including ISO audits and upgrades.
Focus areas: Lean Manufacturing, Quality Control (QC), Production, Process Design, Operations, Strategy, Brand Marketing, Finance, Modeling, StatsModels, Mechanical Engineering, Growth, Manufacturing, Excel Expert, Supply Chain, Market Fit, Research, Forecasting, Target Operating Models, Operating Models, Go-to-market Strategy, Business Process Modeling, Business Model Canvas, Business Modeling, Business Models, Financial Modeling, Business Strategy, M&A Strategy, Competitive Analysis, Pricing, Revenue & Expense Projections, United States, Market Research, Performance Improvement, Process Mapping, Logistics, Supply Chain Optimization, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Go-to-market Plans, Sales Strategy, Pricing Models

Strategy & Operations Consultant (via StrategyScape)

2008 - 2015
Nike
  • Increased customer order accuracy and on-time delivery to 100% while reducing labor requirements for the recycled footwear distribution business. Developed processes and standards for product recycling, packaging, and distribution.
  • Improving the quality of recycled materials by developing and implementing SOPs across factory operations in the US, EU, and Asia. Doubled yield and enabled ISO standard validation and standardized reporting dashboards across all partner sites.
  • Developed a monthly reporting system, measurement method, and website counter to promote the success of the used shoe collection program, which was used in corporate promotions and global sustainability reports.
  • Facilitated seamless transition-team onboarding to support a corporate reorganization by developing an operational playbook and team training documentation.
Focus areas: Operations, New Products, Quality Control (QC), Sustainable Development, Sustainable Advisory, Strategy, Brand Marketing, Finance, Modeling, DCF Valuation, Mechanical Engineering, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Growth, Manufacturing, Excel Expert, Supply Chain, Market Fit, Research, DCF Modeling, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Forecasting, Forex Analysis, Target Operating Models, Operating Models, Go-to-market Strategy, Business Process Modeling, Business Model Canvas, Business Modeling, Business Models, Financial Modeling, Business Strategy, M&A Strategy, Competitive Analysis, Pricing, Revenue & Expense Projections, United States, Market Research, Performance Improvement, Process Mapping, Logistics, Supply Chain Optimization, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Go-to-market Plans, Sales Strategy, Pricing Models

Founder and Head Trainer

1987 - 2011
Hunt Field Farm Equestrian
  • Founded and operated an equestrian services business focused on horse and rider training, equestrian facilities management, client services, competitions, and horse brokerage.
  • Managed stables, including labor and professionals. Oversaw the care and safety of 20-40 horses and riders.
  • Designed and managed feed and veterinary programs for equines used for competition, including overseeing veterinary care, farriers, and other therapists (massage, equine dentists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists).
  • Trained riders and horses for competition and competed as a professional rider on top-level US "A" show circuits.
  • Judged competitions across the US as an official judge licensed by the US Equestrian Federation.
Focus areas: Coaching, Training, Sports Business, Sports & Athletics, Facilitation, Facilities Management, Event Management

Global Director Mergers & Acquisitions

2007 - 2007
Tyco
  • Built the functional capabilities required to pursue M&A, including target search and screening, internal due diligence, proforma financial modeling, and management negotiations (supporting eight business units).
  • Cultivated 10+ attractive acquisition candidates (within six months) valued from $6 to $200 million in safety and security technologies, access control, personal protective equipment, and fire detection.
  • Promoted the targeted M&A transactions to the C-suite by guiding business unit executives through negotiations, internal deal reviews, strategy, and transaction execution.
  • Standardized financial and valuation models and pitch decks across business units, leading to consistent assessment metrics and more efficient deal reveals with the executive team.
Focus areas: Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Corporate Strategy, Due Diligence, Operational Risk, Growth Strategy, Cross-border M&A, Banking & Finance, Strategy, Finance, Modeling, DCF Valuation, StatsModels, Mechanical Engineering, Growth, Manufacturing, Operations, Excel Expert, Supply Chain, Market Fit, Research, DCF Modeling, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Forecasting, Forex Analysis, Target Operating Models, Operating Models, Go-to-market Strategy, Business Model Canvas, Business Modeling, Business Models, Financial Modeling, Business Strategy, M&A Strategy, Competitive Analysis, Pricing, Revenue & Expense Projections, United States, Market Research, Performance Improvement, Process Mapping, Logistics, Supply Chain Optimization, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Director, Transaction Services and Strategy

2006 - 2007
PwC
  • Headed commercial due diligence teams for targets valued at $50 million to $1+ billion for PE and corporate clients in retail, industrial, aerospace, CPG, hospitality, business services, IT, and telecom. Project values ranged from $100,000-$600,000.
  • Created a training program for partners and directors covering new practice capabilities in due diligence and growth strategy; presented it to hundreds of colleagues during an annual global management meeting.
  • Led teams of 5-8 junior associates and managers to deliver the highest-quality results under demanding timelines, including Excel analyses, PowerPoint reports, and qualitative summaries.
Focus areas: Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Due Diligence, Due Diligence Consultant, Manufacturing, Consumer Services, Retail & Wholesale, Comparable Company Analysis, Market Sizing, Competitive Analysis, Growth, Cross-border M&A, Financial Services, Banking & Finance, Strategy, Finance, Modeling, DCF Valuation, StatsModels, Mechanical Engineering, Operations, Excel Expert, Market Fit, Research, DCF Modeling, Forecasting, Forex Analysis, Target Operating Models, Operating Models, Go-to-market Strategy, Business Model Canvas, Business Modeling, Business Models, Financial Modeling, Business Strategy, M&A Strategy, Pricing, Revenue & Expense Projections, United States, Market Research, Performance Improvement, Process Mapping, Logistics, Supply Chain Optimization, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Sales Strategy
1997 - 1999

Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA)

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University - Evanston, IL, USA

1983 - 1986

Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering

University of Washington - Seattle, WA, USA

Finance

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Forecasting, Comparable Company Analysis, Due Diligence, Cross-border M&A, Financial Modeling, Market Research, Pricing, Revenue & Expense Projections, DCF Valuation, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Cost of Capital, Depreciation, Fundraising

Geographic Expertise

United States, Canada

Industry Expertise

Logistics, Retail & Wholesale, Financial Services, Banking & Finance

Other

Microsoft Office, Strategy, Analysis, Growth, Operations, Manufacturing, Excel Expert, Supply Chain, Quality Control (QC), Market Fit, Research, DCF Modeling, New Product Rollout, New Product Business Cases, Product Growth, Market Sizing, Market Studies, Survey Design, Consumer Trends, Use Cases, Customer Segmentation, Demand Sizing & Segmentation, Process Design, New Products, Operational Risk, Due Diligence Consultant, Consumer Services, Competitive Analysis, Financials, Growth Strategy, M&A Strategy, Business Strategy, Business Models, Business Modeling, Business Model Canvas, Business Process Modeling, Go-to-market Strategy, Operating Models, Target Operating Models, Startups, Early-stage Funding, Launch Strategy, Idea Validation, Performance Improvement, Process Mapping, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Go-to-market Plans, Sales Strategy, Pricing Models, Windows, Brand Marketing, Finance, Modeling, Qualtrics, Demographic Data, Lean Manufacturing, Production, Sustainable Development, Early-stage Venture Capital, Supply Chain Optimization, StatsModels, CAD, Mechanical Engineering, Software Design, Drafting, System Design, Forex Analysis, Staffing, Market Research & Analysis, Sustainable Advisory, Corporate Strategy, Performance Analysis, Coaching, Training, Sports Business, Sports & Athletics, Facilitation, Facilities Management, Event Management

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