Inside a Case with Chicago Associate Kate K.

While cases at L.E.K. Consulting are typically shorter than at other management consulting firms, I was recently staffed on a three-month case. It was pretty exciting because it was staffed with co-workers from the U.S., London and Germany. Our client had branches all across the world. They wanted L.E.K. to assist them with multiple aspects of their business including potentially acquiring a new company, growing their business in targeted European countries, and entering new markets in other parts of the world.

There is no such thing as a “typical” day at L.E.K. or even a “typical” case. Therefore my work varied the whole time that I was staffed on this project. My biggest tasks were focused on research. I did a great deal of research on general trends in the client’s industries. And I also had to identify the most important micro and macro trends in many different countries in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

I also conducted a significant amount of competitive research. This involved interviewing experts in the industry and throughout the distribution channels, and finding recent articles that might help us better understand the competitive environment. I would compare it in many ways to detective work.

As an Associate, another big task is creating slides on our key findings. This is a pretty exciting effort because the work that you do during your first year actually gets put in presentations. The CEO of this multi-million dollar company would be seeing some of the work that I researched and put together. Slides could include maps, charts and graphs, and text depending on what the team and I thought would best illustrate the market dynamics that we identified, the go-to market recommendations, etc.

At L.E.K., we do not typically travel as much as other management consulting firms. Therefore, I had the benefit of sleeping in my bed each night rather than trying to catch red-eye flights to visit the client. That said, the client often came into the office so we still had an established relationship. Sometimes day trips were involved, and often the manager and partners visited the client’s many locations. But for me, I still got to see my friends when I finished my work at night.

There was one instance when the entire team needed to be together so we could finish up a presentation. For two days I was in sunny California where our team worked and enjoyed some nice dinners together. It was a good change of pace, but I realized how thankful I am to not have to live by the schedule of the airlines.

While working on my case, I also participated in a variety of outside activities with the firm. I am involved in the Woman’s Network and am currently working to get female alumni from L.E.K. to speak to us about their current careers. Through L.E.K. I also participate in Inspire, Inc., a national non-profit organization that provides management consulting services to other non-profit organizations on a pro bono basis. I am the PR Director for the Chicago office as well as a participant in casework.

L.E.K. has given me a wide variety of experiences. My cases have ranged from retail to energy to construction. I learn new skills every day. Most importantly, I work with my friends and people who want to help me succeed. I feel very lucky to be part of such a supportive community.



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