Learn how Louisa Chaves navigated the transition from a career in banking to an MBA student to becoming a Principal in London’s Healthcare team.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to L.E.K. Consulting.
I started my L.E.K. career as a Summer Consultant back in 2015. I joined full-time eight years ago, initially as a generalist, and then aligned with the Healthcare sector when I became Manager in 2018. I was promoted to Principal in 2022. Before this, I earned an MBA from London Business School. Prior to that, I worked in Sales and Trading at Barclays Capital for six years. I completed my undergraduate degree in Economics at Cambridge.

My background in Economics naturally led me to banking, which was exciting at first but eventually felt too repetitive. Seeking more of a challenge, I pursued an MBA. After considering many firms, I found L.E.K. to be the best fit for me. With L.E.K., I was excited by the challenges and really connected with the people.

What was it like coming into Consulting after your MBA?
Honestly? Initially, it was tough. But an MBA really prepares you for this. It equips you with a wide range of skills and the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of peers. I remember starting as a Summer Consultant, working with teams much more skilled in case work than me – it was daunting! However, through lots of classroom and on-the-job training, I quickly adapted. Now I assure new MBA graduates or interviewees that it’s okay to feel lost at first. You’ll find your way soon enough!

How did you get aligned to the Healthcare sector?
My objective when starting at L.E.K. was to avoid Financial Services, as I came from that sector and wanted to be exposed to different people and industries. In a short space of time, I had worked across most sectors at L.E.K. and found everything really interesting. The diversity of cases and industries was particularly refreshing compared to the niche focus of my banking career.
On my first day during my summer internship, a Partner on a Healthcare case asked if I wanted to go to Munich the next day, which was super fun! I then worked on a few Healthcare cases as a Consultant. I felt like the Healthcare Partners took me under their wings, and I loved working with them. The rest is history.

What is your typical case like, and what is your role as a Principal?
The case mix varies with broader market conditions, but I would say around 60% of my work is related to transactions and 40% to strategy. This involves both short and long cases, sell-side and buy-side. I enjoy working on a variety of projects, especially solving complex problems that have a positive impact. For instance, I recently worked on making dentistry more affordable, which was incredibly rewarding.

My role on a case varies and has evolved over time. As a Principal, I focus on the big picture rather than day-to-day details, but I’m still very much involved. I aim to create an environment where teams feel empowered. I believe in guiding without micromanaging, allowing teams to excel. It’s worth pointing out that my role as a Principal extends beyond case work. For example, building my network and external profile is now a significant part of my role. On that front, I’m finding my rhythm now, thanks to the support and guidance from Partners.

Why have you stayed at L.E.K. for 8 years? 
I think it’s a combination of the people that I work with and the fact that I am constantly learning. Even when you think you’ve cracked how to do the job, something else comes along which challenges you in new ways and helps you grow as a person! I’m always learning, both in terms of the clients we work with and the colleagues I interact with. The day I stop learning is probably the day I will consider leaving.