As an undergraduate student at Duke, I was very open-minded about what might come next. I always had several academic interests, but ultimately decided to study public policy because I enjoyed the strategy and ubiquity of it. As I moved through my undergraduate experience, I pursued different internships that complemented my interests and talents. At one point I was interning with my local congressional representative. It was incredible to see how things functioned behind the scenes and how decisions are made and to work for my community. After that public-facing experience, I pursued a private sector internship in investment banking.
I learned a lot of valuable skills and how to leverage those skills for my next step. After working in investment banking, I became focused on building a robust professional skill set and sampling several different industries early in my career. Although at the time I didn’t really know what I wanted to do post-graduation, the overall type of work consultants do resonated with me, and I knew it would afford me exposure to several industries and different professional skills. This led me to seriously consider a career in consulting.
Once I made that decision about a career in consulting, I knew I had to start the interview process. During recruiting season (the fall of my senior year of college), I interviewed with four or five consulting firms, including some larger firms and some boutique firms. In general, a lot of firms are similar in terms of their approach and the way they think about things. However, you can get a sense of the people and the way the firm performs when you speak with folks who work there. When I was interviewing with L.E.K. Consulting, the final-round cases on OTT (over-the-top) streaming strategy were incredibly interesting to me. I was really excited to think about what the work might look like. I received an offer from L.E.K. in Los Angeles when I was in the final round with another firm, but L.E.K. felt like the right fit, so I trusted my gut and accepted. I have no regrets about that.
Now I’ve been with L.E.K. for almost two years. As an Associate, my favorite part of the job is that everything is always evolving and changing. There is really no time to be bored. Being a consultant at L.E.K. means there is always room for growth and there is always something to learn. I wouldn’t have learned as much if I hadn’t been staffed on a case in a specific industry or on a particular project. Another perk is that there are so many really intelligent people at L.E.K. who will teach you so much. Working with smart people creates a great work environment for learning and growing.
Many L.E.K.ers are also very involved with their communities. We have a great network of ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) for folks looking to connect and participate in specific communities. For example, we have Pride@LEK, Mosaic@LEK and Women@LEK. All these groups provide space within the firm for people with commonalities to connect, network and get involved with causes they care about. Personally, I’ve pursued a leadership role in Mosaic@LEK, our ERG for ethnic and racial minorities, where I’ve connected with a lot of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. As the national Mosaic events coordinator, I’ve been exposed to many people who are excited and committed to building momentum around diversity and inclusion initiatives, which adds a great deal of value to my experience here.
Although I am relatively new to the consulting industry, I’m already very grateful for the training and opportunities I’ve received. When you come into it as a recently graduated college student, you have such limited business experience. Getting some time under your belt with L.E.K. is extremely empowering. Making the transition from learning in college to learning in the business world can be difficult. However, at L.E.K., I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined and gleaned so much knowledge from senior staff. The value of the Associate role is the fire hose of training and knowledge that you drink from your first few years. It is fast and intense, but it’s the best way to absorb that volume of information in a short window of time. I’m only a few years out of college, but I feel prepared to continue learning at L.E.K. and take on what’s next. I don’t believe I would have this breadth of experience had I chosen another starting career — or another firm.