Geographical Mobility with L.E.K.

One of the perks of working for a global firm is the geographical mobility on offer. My six-year career so far has given me the opportunity to work overseas in a variety of different settings. Starting my career at L.E.K. involved an international move – joining the firm in 2007, I left Auckland, New Zealand to join L.E.K.’s Sydney office. From day one, I was impressed firstly by the intelligence, but also the genuine, down-to-earth attitude of my new colleagues.

During my first couple of years at L.E.K., I worked on cases in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand. Highlights include determining the five year plan for a business unit of an Australian conglomerate, a car-parking strategy for a major New Zealand international airport, and a media rights valuation for an Australian sport’s governing body.

However, I really experienced the power of L.E.K.’s international network in 2010 when I traveled to L.E.K.’s Boston office as part of the “swap” program – a program enabling associates and consultants to swap with someone at a similar level, to an office of his or her choosing, for a period of ~6 months. I chose to swap to Boston for a number of reasons: Boston is our largest office with more than 200 people and I wanted to experience a large-office culture. I was attracted to the case-mix in Boston – particularly the aviation and surface transportation practice. I also knew I was unlikely to be given an easier opportunity to live and work in the U.S., and the prospect of new work and life experiences excited me.

My experience in the Boston office saw me working on two cases during the course of my eight month swap: an ancillary revenue strategy for a U.S. airline, and a shareholder value strategy for a trucking and logistics provider. It was my first visit to the U.S., and it brought a number of valuable realizations. I learned first-hand about the size and scale of American markets and became more conscious of the challenges faced by countries such as Australia and New Zealand, due in part to geographic isolation and lower population. I also learned that it is possible to maintain one culture across multiple global offices – the L.E.K.-ers I met and worked with in Boston were just as smart and down-to-earth as the ones I had “grown-up” with in Australia. The experience made me want to come back. When I returned to Sydney, I applied to business schools in the U.S., and a few months later, I was making plans to attend Wharton in the fall of 2011.

After an unforgettable two years in Philly, I made the decision to remain in the U.S. post business-school, putting on hold my plans to return to Australia. L.E.K. was very understanding during this process and shortly after I initiated the request, my offer had been transferred to San Francisco, and I was able to make a relatively seamless move to the West Coast. More than a year later, I’m still enjoying the California sun. During my time up here I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of interesting healthcare cases, as well as learn more about the Silicon Valley tech scene. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m keen to add to the number of locations I have worked out of. Watch this space!

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