Inside View: L.E.K. Consulting

Chief Talent Officer Lauren Reddy says the firm will hire 50 MBAs in 2017

L.E.K. Consulting is one of the world's best consulting firms to work for.

The Boston-based company is ranked in the top-10 of Vault's Best Consulting Firms to Work For in 2017 list. And the firm was also recognized by Consulting Magazine as one of the 2016 Best Firms to Work For.

L.E.K. plans to hire up to 50 MBAs from US business schools in 2017. That's up by up to 15% on 2016. Overall, the firm employs a 1,200-strong workforce across the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

The firm looks for candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. But problem-solving and teamworking skills, and management and leadership qualities, will serve you well.

What differentiates L.E.K. from its competitors such as McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company is the responsibility consultants are given early on in their careers.

L.E.K. Consulting's Chief Talent Officer Lauren Reddy says: "They are getting management responsibility from day one….That is unparalleled."

She also says that consultants at L.E.K. travel less and work on projects with a shorter duration than at other consultancy firms - a key selling point as consultants demand a better work/life balance.

"In professional services you have unpredictability of hours. But making consulting a sustainable career is a focus for L.E.K.”

We asked Lauren what it takes to land a coveted job at the firm. Here's what she told us, edited slightly for clarity: 

Q. How many MBAs will you hire in 2017?

We have increased our hiring targets at the MBA level. Across the US we are hiring somewhere between 40-50 Consultants. Not Associates. Just MBAs, who come in at the Consultant Level.

We’ve increased our MBA hiring target by 15% compared with 2016. Our business has gone very, very well. We have experienced growth in all sectors and all five offices across the US. We continue to grow our staff across the board.

Q. What are your key areas of recruitment in 2017?

While we appreciate and focus on certain people with sector-specific expertise, we are a generalist firm. At our MBA schools, we are looking for a variety of different backgrounds. We are not looking for anything in particular. People from different backgrounds add to the diversity of L.E.K. When you have teams of diverse people you create better solutions for your clients. And it’s also a better experience for your staff.

Q. Which business schools will you hire from?

We hire from a lot of schools in the US. Some we spend more time on campus with, but we are open to people from all schools and all backgrounds, including those from schools outside of the US. We look at a broader net of schools. We entertain every résumé that comes through our door. I would encourage anybody to apply; to reach out; to ask. We would absolutely consider any qualified candidate.

Q. What attributes are you looking for in consulting staff?

We are looking for diversity. There isn’t one black and white formula. We are looking for problem solvers. We are a team-based environment so we look for people that work well in teams, in collaborative ways. We are also looking for folks with management and leadership qualifies.

Q. What does a candidate's response to your case interview questions reveal?

The ability to problem solve, to think through problems. That’s what we do. That’s what a lot of consultants do. They take clients’ toughest problems and help solve them. Our case interview is very similar to many other firms'. It’s about understanding frameworks and how one might solve the problem.

Q. In interviews, what can kill a candidate's chances of success?

Many of us are typically nervous when in an interview. My advice is to relax and be yourself. Many of our applicants and your readers will be prepared. They have gone to school and this is what they have been studying and practicing to do. Jump into the toolkit and leverage what you’ve been learning for the last two years.

Q. How are you adapting to accommodate greater work-life flexibility?

In professional services you have unpredictability of hours. But making consulting a sustainable career is a focus for L.E.K. We have a number of programs and support mechanisms internally to make sure we are doing what we can to support sustainability for our staff. For example, we have designed a program where once a week, our consulting teams identify a day when they get out of the office at 6pm.

Q. What differentiates L.E.K. from your competitors?

A big differentiator we have for MBAs is that consultants at L.E.K. are the most senior members of a case team. They are getting management responsibility from day one. We do know our staff appreciate that. It’s unparalleled.

We also have shorter duration projects. They are between four-to-six weeks in length. And that means you really are exposed to a wide variety of clients and business problems in different teams.

We travel less than our competitors, too. You really get to sleep in your own home, and get to know your colleagues in the office.  

Q. Describe the working culture at L.E.K?

It’s energetic and collaborative. Vibrant and social. It’s highly collaborative; you are regularly interacting with Managing Directors. We really do focus our efforts on creating a coaching culture. Everybody is working together across levels and peer groups. It is also an entrepreneurial environment in the sense that people who have ideas and new ways of doing thing, can come to us with those ideas. We are accessible.

Q. What opportunities are there for social impact?

We have a number of social impact initiative groups across the US. It’s one of the things we are most proud of. Each office has a Social Impact Committee. They focus their efforts on meeting wonderful community needs. Recently during Christmas time, we were doing gift giving for underprivileged children. We also do two pro-bono cases annually. We are able to make an impact to both our clients and our local communities. 

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