Boston Consultant Katie Stepsis is currently on a six-month swap in our London office. L.E.K. Consulting’s unique Swap Program provides L.E.K.ers with an opportunity to switch positions with a peer in another country for six months. Here she tells us about her experience on swap, the London office culture, and how swap has benefited her professional development.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to LEK.
I work as a consultant at L.E.K.'s Boston Office in the Consumer practice. I joined L.E.K. straight out of undergrad from Boston College and I have been here for 4 years now. What drew me to L.E.K. was its dynamic and fast-paced environment, coupled with its strong focus on the consumer sector.
Why did you decide to swap to London and how is it going?
Growing up, my grandparents lived in England, and it was always a dream of mine to live in London. During my recruitment for L.E.K., representatives spoke about the Swap Program, and I quickly identified this as a way to fulfill that goal, even if only temporary. So of course, when I first joined, I was super gung-ho about going on a swap in London. Unfortunately, COVID hit about nine months into my tenure at L.E.K., but I stayed in touch with our People team and ultimately was able to go once everything opened up. I have loved living here. I’ve enjoyed getting to know my peers here and see how their journeys are different than mine. Having been in Boston for 8 years and the L.E.K. Boston office for 4, it can be easy to be stuck in your own bubble, and this has allowed me to experience different working styles, cultures, and approaches to cases.
What is the London office culture like?
The London office culture has been very social, warm, and engaging. There is a strong emphasis on social events which has given me the opportunity to meet colleagues in a more relaxed setting and learn from their experiences. Everyone in the office has been super welcoming and I’ve been adopted to a pod that is super friendly and gives pointers on fun weekend trips to take, where to go for lunch, and things like that. I’ve quickly been able to find a home within the London office that feels similar to what I had in Boston and that has helped a lot with the transition. They also have a weekly beer trolley that actually trollies drinks around to people’s desks – which is something I may try to take back to Boston!
Have you been able to travel during your swap?
Absolutely. I traveled to Scotland with fellow swaps from the Boston office to experience the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, a cultural event I had never heard of before. I also visited the Amalfi Coast with friends from home. And I'm excited about my upcoming backpacking trip to Belgium, Germany, and Austria, which I’m planning for my post-swap time off.
What have you taken away professionally from this experience?
Professionally, this experience has been eye-opening. It's shown me various ways to approach cases that I hadn't considered before. Adapting to different working styles and approaches has challenged me to be more versatile and creative. Having been in the consumer practice for close to 2 ½ years, I’m used to working with the same partners and managers, so this has given me an opportunity to start from scratch and significantly step out of my comfort zone. While there were aspects that were quite different from home, the growth and learning opportunities outweigh any discomfort.
What has been your biggest culture shock?
The fact that not everywhere has air conditioning! I’m spoiled back home and when I was looking for an apartment for the summer, I was surprised that most didn’t have an A/C. I was a little nervous about that, but now that I’m here, it has been totally fine. It has been a nice, cool summer.