The Non-Traditional Consultant

Prior to my summer at L.E.K. Consulting, I had zero formal consulting experience. I came from an international development background having worked at the World Bank, the Clinton Foundation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature prior to attending business school. As a first-year MBA at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, I attended various consulting information sessions and recruiting boot camps to prep me for the case interview process. However, the case interview process only prepares you so much for the skills that you will use during the summer internship. I wanted to take the chance to share how I was able to leverage skill sets from a non-consulting background to deliver value for my internal case teams and, ultimately, the client. 

Teamwork

  • Teamwork is part and parcel to all that L.E.K. does. Case teams are comprised of MDs (usually as least two), a manager, consultant, and multiple associates. In order to meet deadlines, it is crucial that you’re able to work well on teams, communicate effectively, and manage expectations of everyone involved. In a post-MBA role here at L.E.K., it’s equally important to manage up as well as manage down.  

Synthesizing information

  • A key responsibility for Consultants at L.E.K. is developing and curating the storyline. It is important for the Consultant to be able to step back from secondary research, interview campaigns, and survey results to pull out the main points and arguments that will shape the advice to clients.

Client skills

  • In a client-centric business like consulting, L.E.K.’s case team efforts are centered on driving towards the answers and results that will have the most impact for the client. It is important to understand the client’s perspective and foresee their questions and concerns as you’re drafting the storyline and producing slides. I had the opportunity to lead a client call this summer, which required significant preparation but allowed me to confidently walk the client through our analysis and resulted in their buy-in for our market projections.

Don’t underestimate the skills that you acquire from your first-year MBA coursework. My first case was a Healthcare Services due diligence. Fortunately, I had taken a spring survey elective at Tuck titled “The Structure, Organization and Economics of the Healthcare Industry.” After my first day on the case, I went back to my apartment and immediately e-mailed my professor thanking him for the course, which allowed me to understand a healthy fraction of the acronyms and terminology thrown out during my first kick-off meeting with the partners. In addition to that elective, I have leveraged concepts from the core marketing, decision science, corporate finance, and statistics courses. 

Why L.E.K.?

I chose to come to L.E.K. Consulting to transition back into the private sector and be part of a firm with a strong culture of teamwork and professional development. I wanted to pursue a career in strategy consulting and have the opportunity to enter as a generalist in order to explore a variety of industries. L.E.K.’s summer consultant role provided a unique opportunity to experience multiple cases across a variety of industries and run point on managing work streams and associates. At the end of these nine weeks, I feel like I have a solid understanding of what a full-time Consultant role entails and am excited about pursing a full-time career in consulting post-MBA.

Advice to Applicants

  • Even if you don’t have formal consulting experience, understand what aspects of your professional and educational experiences would be well-suited to career in consulting and sell yourself
  • Network at various levels of the firm to understand the numerous responsibilities and career trajectories
  • Picture yourself at the firm
    • What kind of industries would you be interested in working on?
    • What office would you want to be in? There are five domestic offices – Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco
    • What opportunities would you want to take advantage of? L.E.K. offers international office swaps, externships, and sabbatical options

Summer Highlights

  • Intern Beach Soccer Game (Boston vs. All other offices) during training on Cape Cod
  • SF Office Bubble Soccer at Crissy Fields
  • Winning the SF Office trivia competition

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