Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Ann Hopkins Case Analysis

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Ann Hopkins was nominated for partnership at Price Waterhouse (PW) in August 1982 (1). She was a senior manager in the firm's Office of Government Services (OGS) in Washington, D. C. , where she specialized in large-scale, computer-based systems designed for government agencies (2). Her 1982 nomination class included 88 total candidates with Ann Hopkins as the only women in the group (3). PW offered partnerships to 47 of them, rejected 21 and placed 20, including Ann Hopkins, on hold (4).

While her partnership was put on hold, Ann Hopkins met with PW's chairman to discuss the decision and the admissions committee's recommendations. PW had suggested that she be given more work with partners and undertakes a quality control review in order to demonstrate her skills and allay concerns about her (5). In 1983, two of the partners which originally supported her nomination opposed her re-nomination and soon after Ann Hopkins was told that she would never become partner at PW (6). Ann Hopkins was born December 18, 1943 and graduated high school in 1961.

She received her B. A in mathematics at Hollins College in 1965 and finished her masters in mathematics from Indiana University in 1967 (7). She described herself as "third generation, small town Texas" and as an army "brat" who "learned from her childhood how to be an outsider" (8). Her month taught her that "when you shake hands, you should always shake hands firmly and when you walk into a room, you should walk in as if you owned it" (9). Her career began as mathematics teacher at Indian University.

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She later joined IBM and worked as a mathematical physicist and managed a 7 person project for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (10). In 1972, Ann Hopkins joined Computer Sciences Corporation where she continued to work on NASA accounts. In 1974 she moved to Computer Usage Corporation where she split her work between NASA and private sectors such as banks in New York and Chicago (11). In 1976, Ann Hopkins joined Touche Ross, a major accounting firm, as a systems management consultant where she later met and married her husband.

She also worked on various projects and managed as many as 20 Touche Ross consultants and other subcontractors (12). In 1978, she first joined American Management Systems and later moved to PW as a manager in the Management Advisory Services department of OGS (13). The senior partner of PW and a policy board managed the firm and elected all new partners through a formal, annual nomination and review process that culminated in a partnership-wide vote.

Partnership was in essence a lifetime appointment and in the history of the firm, only 2 partners had been revoked of their partnerships (14). The partnership candidates in a particular year where called a class and the firm prepared a booklet for each class member. Notes about the candidates where compiled based on various activities from counseling sessions, staff performance evaluations, partners' evaluations, statistical analysis of the quartile rankings for the candidate in each of the evaluation categories, and comparative rankings of the class candidates (15).

Candidacy and review for partnership began when the partners in a local office proposed a candidate to the admissions committee. The committee then invited every partner in the firm to submit written comments on each candidate. Partners who had significant and recent contact with a candidate submitted a long form evaluation; those with more limited contact used a sort form (16). The admissions committee met for three days in early December, 1982 for its initial consideration of candidates.

The committee member who had visited each candidate's office summarized the result of the visit, the strength of the nominating office's support, and important material from the candidate's personnel file, and then described the candidate's strengths and weakness for the Admissions Committee. The committee ultimately made recommendations on each candidate and forward these to the policy board (17).

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