Joining BCG as a Consultant
When I left university, there were two careers that most interested me. The first was management consulting; the second was to join a general management programme to learn about the 'real world'. I joined British Airways, where I spent ten challenging and enjoyable years getting my fill of the 'real world' of Terminal 1, Sales, Marketing, Cargo and a station in the Middle East. When I decided that I did not want to stay in one company for my whole career, I thought again about the options I had considered before.
Since joining BCG I have worked across five industries, on five different types of project. From profitability improvement at a media company, to an Industrial Goods post-merger integration, to defining a people strategy in Energy, to a due diligence for a Private Equity purchase, to helping create a strategy for some of Britain's most popular food brands, every case has given new challenges and learning.
What is more, I get a lot of input into where I work. As a parent with young children it is important to me that I am not on a project that takes me away from home for large parts of the week. So far I have only spent one night in a hotel during my cases, and it is not an accident that my needs have been met – BCG places a strong focus on making sure that consultants get experience which they value.
I had been expecting to move between industries and disciplines, but what I had not expected was the big difference in the way of working. Compared to working in a day-to-day line-management environment, project work at BCG has brought a much greater focus on defining key questions, reaching solutions and communicating them coherently, and doing all of these at much greater speed than I had experience of previously. These are skills that I know will be useful to me wherever I go next in my career.
The speed of promotion at BCG means you need to develop these new skills quickly, and every support is given to achieve this. There are regular formal training courses – some of which were at very nice European locations that proved dangerous to my waistline – but the main avenue for learning is through the 'apprenticeship' model. You can expect feedback early and often – which gives all the more time to build on it and move on.
I knew that consulting would give me great experience across industries and disciplines, and that I would learn a lot. I also knew that experience at BCG would be a big boost to my CV. Now that I have been here a year, I can say that all my expectations to this stage have been met, and more.