Jennifer Henry, a Consultant in the healthcare services practice who is based in New York, is currently on a six-month swap in our Sydney 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, why she decided to do it and how swap has benefited her personal and professional development.
Why did you decide to swap?
I heard about swap from L.E.K.’s recruiting sessions, and I observed numerous swaps happening while I was a Summer Associate in 2017, and it really piqued my interest. Sadly, Covid put a wrench in potential swap plans in early 2020. I didn’t think I’d swap as a Consultant, as most swaps are Associates, but L.E.K. provided me with a great opportunity post-pandemic to swap with another Consultant in Sydney, and it has been a phenomenal experience so far. It’s been amazing to change up my lifestyle and casework while exploring a new country and making new connections.
Who is your swap?
My swap is named Annie, a Consultant from the Sydney office. She and I have a bit of a unique situation where she was able to come to New York earlier than when I was able to swap, due to Covid and visa restrictions. It was nice because I was able to meet her in person before I left and give her some tips on the New York City office, and she was able to prep me on all things Sydney. It’s been great to have the support network of swap, especially with someone at the same level as me. We can really understand and help each other out when needed.
Tell us a bit about your life in Sydney.
I’m currently staying at Bondi Beach, which is one of the more well-known beaches outside of the Sydney city center. I have had the opportunity to live in a shared house as well as a studio apartment. My current place is a 30-minute commute from the office, but it is worth it, being a block away from the ocean. I wake up every morning and spend some time at the beach. There’s a great path nearby called the Bondi to Coogee Walk, and it’s just a beautiful cliff walk where you can traverse different beaches and see stunning views of Sydney. I’ve also picked up ocean swimming with a swim club, which has provided an opportunity to meet locals in the area. It has been a great contrast to my New York City life where there’s lots of buildings and hustle and bustle, whereas here it feels much more laid-back and I can be close to nature every day.
How has the swap program affected your life professionally and personally?
Professionally, this has given me a different view into consulting and a view into a part of L.E.K. I never would have experienced otherwise. Swap, in a way, has given me the opportunity to be a generalist again and explore different topic areas and case styles. It’s provided me with new intellectual and casework challenges and a look into how different regions approach casework differently — for instance, the Sydney region focuses more on rigorous secondary data analysis, while the Americas leverage more market expert interviews. I have also enjoyed getting to know and learn from the partners in the region. It’s also been nice to see the elements of fun the Aussies sprinkle into the workday. We have something called the Sydney quiz, where we stop at 3:00 p.m. every day and we do three quizzes from a New Zealand trivia company. On Tuesdays, we go down to the field outside the office near the botanical gardens and play netball for about an hour during lunch. And of course, beer trolley, which originated in the Australian offices, is particularly cherished.
Personally, it’s been amazing for me to reignite my love of travel and change up my routine. Moving to a country I’ve never been to and where I didn’t know anyone has been beneficial to my personal growth, and it’s just been awesome to have a fresh start, make new friends and gain new experiences. I’m looking forward to doing a bit more travel post-swap in January and take time to reflect more on my professional and personal life — though obviously I am excited next year to eventually come back home to the New York office!