Carmen Morales Garcia, a partner at our Madrid office, shares insights into her remarkable international career, the growth of L.E.K. Madrid, and her experiences as a woman in the consulting industry, emphasizing the critical role of diversity within the field. 

Can you give us a whistle stop tour of your career to date?
I'm Spanish but grew up in Turkey. After my degree, I aimed to start my career abroad for international exposure and joined the London office in 2003, focusing on consulting. I was an Associate and then participated in a Swap program to Melbourne, Australia, in my 2nd year, leading to a later opportunity to work for Qantas through the Sydney office.

Initially focused on PE and due diligence, I returned to L.E.K. as an Associate Consultant in London and worked on infrastructure projects like trains, airports, and ports, eventually joining the Industrials team. In 2014, wanting to be closer to my family, I moved back to Madrid. I joined PwC to develop deals and strategy in Iberia's PE practice, becoming a partner in 6 years.

Why did you boomerang back to L.E.K.?
It was interesting; I saw a few of my old colleagues, as they were coming to Madrid to see clients, and one of my colleagues and I were discussing the rumors about L.E.K. opening a Madrid office. I reached out and the rest is history.

The reason we wanted to open the Spanish office was that L.E.K. was already doing quite a few projects in Spain, but the client was demanding to have local teams. We started in HCS and life science, and now, over 3 years on, we have LS and have added Consumer, Industrials, and Education. The idea was to have a full office like Paris, with growth within Iberia and LATAM. And we are still on the journey; it’s very exciting.

For someone who is considering a career in consulting, tell us more about why you chose consulting and have stuck with it?
Before starting my career in consulting, while at university, I did three internships in accounting, finance, and as an actuary. I was bored with each internship; I really didn’t know what I was going to do. But my boss suggested I try strategy consulting. I had no idea what strategy consulting was; all I knew was that it would involve helping companies with their growth journeys. What I loved, and still love, is that I never get bored; you’re always learning.

It sounds like your Swap experience provided you with a lot of growth. What made you go on Swap earlier in your career? What would be your elevator pitch on Swapping to Madrid?
I'm always after experiences that cultivate personal growth, and what's better than working and living in Australia? Melbourne was fantastic! It invigorated me both personally and professionally. Although it was challenging to be the only female consultant in Melbourne's male-dominated office environment of 2004.

Regarding Madrid, it’s simple: first, Madrid is an amazing, vibrant city with affordable living, delicious food, great wine, a wealth of attractions, and stunning weather. Second, the culture here is unparalleled—we're a tight-knit crew of about 30, like family. We regularly enjoy lunches and social outings together. The office spirit is truly remarkable.

You mentioned it was challenging to be the only female consultant in Melbourne in 2004. Why is diversity in consulting important and what has been your experience as a woman in this field? 
When I began, I was often overlooked in meetings, not immediately recognized as the project manager. It's interesting to see reactions to a woman's presence. Initially, in infrastructure, I was the sole woman and adapted to it. Diversity, in general, brings different viewpoints. Women and men approach projects differently; women typically compile information before speaking, whereas men might speak up sooner and be more assertive. A senior partner advised me to lead my career and projects in my own way, without letting others dictate my path. In our Madrid office, we boast over 10 nationalities among 32 people, highlighting our commitment to diversity.

When I moved to London, my English was weak, but I learned the importance of speaking up—no question is dumb. Confidence comes from engaging in activities that make you the best version of yourself, and that energy contributes positively to your role. LEK feels like a family, valuing the team for who they are.