Madrid Consultant Nicolas Genc went on a six-month swap in our Melbourne 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, he tells us how his swap experience down under provided him with professional development, personal growth and adventures he’ll never forget. 

Tell us about yourself and your journey to L.E.K.
I was born and raised in Guatemala, a small country in Central America. I moved to Spain at 17 to study industrial engineering at the University of Navarra. During that time, I did an exchange semester in Hong Kong, which exposed me to a different part of the world. After graduation, I worked at KPMG in the consulting department, focusing on deals advisory work like transactions, commercial due diligence and post-merger integrations. I later joined L.E.K. as an associate consultant. Last year, I had the opportunity to do a six-month swap in Australia, based in Melbourne.

Why did you decide to go on a swap?
I was drawn to the idea of experiencing different working environments and cultures within the L.E.K. network. In Europe, we collaborate with various offices, and I wanted to explore this on a global scale. Professionally, I aimed to learn about business operations in Australia, gain insights into different markets and understand the unique approaches adopted by the Australian team. Australia is one of the more settled offices in the L.E.K. network. I knew they had very well-defined processes and working methodologies, so I wanted to learn as much as I could from them. Personally, I was excited to live in a new country. I’ve lived on the American continent, in Europe, in Asia … I knew L.E.K.’s Swap Program would give me the opportunity to explore a place I’ve never been before. I had heard a lot of great things about Australia, and I felt like it was a great opportunity to live there for six months, meet new people, have new experiences and connect with Australians and their culture.

What kind of work did you do while you were there?
I worked on four cases while I was there, spanning various sectors including healthcare, financial services, telecommunications and technology. This allowed me to engage with different partners and clients, ranging from private equity to corporate entities. What stood out most was the positive rapport cultivated with both clients and partners, which contributed to successful outcomes and client satisfaction. Similar to my experiences in Madrid, I found it rewarding to work on cases that made a tangible impact and were highly valued by our clients.

What did you do in Australia outside of work?
There was something about New Zealand that captured my heart. I spent about a week and a half there, skiing for four days and then exploring the north of the South Island, including a visit to a glacier, which was a really cool adventure. Road trips to Queenstown and Wanaka only deepened my love for the country. Exploring New Zealand’s South Island was particularly exhilarating for me, as it was the first time I truly enjoyed driving. Everywhere you looked, there were breathtaking scenic views. It’s undoubtedly one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. Of course, I also made sure to explore every corner of Australia during my free time. From road trips along the east and west coasts to visits to Sydney and Cairns to witness the Great Barrier Reef, I always made sure my weekends were packed with adventures. Closer to Melbourne, I explored the Yarra Valley for wine tasting and drove along the Great Ocean Road, marveling at the stunning ocean views and iconic Twelve Apostles rock formations.

How was your living situation? Did you have a counterswap?
Yes, I had a counterswap, though ours was a little unconventional, as my counterswap was from Sydney, and I was heading to Melbourne. I connected him with my friends in Madrid when he was there, and they became really close. We stayed connected, too, and gave each other tips on our respective cities. He provided some great tips on finding accommodations in Australia, and I found an awesome apartment to live in that was only 10-15 minutes from the office and had great amenities. The areas that my counterswap friend recommended also turned out to be really good, and Melbourne’s public transport system made getting around the city easy. Overall, I was very happy with my living situation there.

What did you bring back from your experience to your consulting life in Madrid?
My experience in Australia had a significant impact on my professional life back here in Madrid. Starting there as an SAC, I found myself taking on more responsibility, managing entire teams and overseeing deliverables and coordination. Working on four diverse cases across various sectors allowed me to collaborate with highly skilled individuals, not just partners and managers, but also incredibly talented associates. I learned upward management skills while also adopting best practices from the associates. Upon returning to Madrid, I was able to implement these learnings, improving our processes and training programs for our associates. Professionally speaking, there was definitely a “before” and “after” of myself coming back from Australia.