What do you enjoy most about your job?
My favourite part of this job is the variety of the experiences we have and the emphasis BCG places on making the most of that variety. Work at BCG is project-based; you can spend six weeks helping a retailer with a market entry strategy, followed by three months implementing a change programme at a bank.
Indeed, when you begin working here, you are encouraged to embrace that variety – to develop new skills and acquaint yourself with unfamiliar industries. Every project presents a new, unique challenge, making BCG a very dynamic place to work.
What are the most stressful parts of the job?
Starting a new project is pretty stressful. That same variety that makes this job so engaging also regularly forces you outside your comfort zone. Our work requires us to understand our clients and their industries inside-out, and that can be quite daunting on day one!
Fortunately, BCG has extensive resources to help consultants newly staffed on a project to get up to speed. These include a library of resources drawing on insight from previous client work and internal projects, as well as a network of dedicated experts. BCG, as an organisation, is all about sharing knowledge and I have never felt stranded.
Is there work/life balance?
Some projects are more relaxed than others. Even within a project, some weeks can be quite hectic, and others relatively calm. That’s simply the nature of the job.
That said, every manager I have worked with at BCG has been proactive about ensuring that I always have time to meet my personal priorities, whether that be a trip to the opera, dinner with friends, or time to go to the gym. Open communication around this point is essential. It is also important to manage your own schedule carefully, and to raise your hand if there is too much on your plate to manage feasibly.
What challenges have you come across and how have you overcome these?
Consulting is a client-oriented business, and many of our clients are large, complex organisations with their own cultures, politics, and personalities. Navigating these organisations and working effectively with our client counterparts can sometimes be frustrating.
In such situations, I have found that it helps to be constructive and proactive. Emphasising someone’s strengths, for example, encourages them to bring those strengths to the table when you are working with him or her, and can greatly improve the productivity of your relationship.
What ‘soft skills’ have you found useful?
This is a people business; getting along well with all types is a key to success.
Any advice for the interview process?
Relax! So much of the challenge of the interview is coming across as comfortable and easygoing. BCG interviewers are looking for people with whom they would enjoy working; the likeable aspects of your personality will have a harder time showing through if you’re a ball of stress.
Of course, this is easier said than done. The best way to ensure you come to the interview relaxed is to be confident. The best way to be confident is to prepare. BCG is very transparent about the format and content of the interviews.
Familiarise yourself with all of the materials available, attend our campus talks and events, and get in touch with current BCGers who can talk you through the process. Also be sure to do a mock case or two with a friend: you can find several on the BCG website.