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The Artist & The Engineer

The ability to solve a problem in new ways demands being able to see a problem in new ways. BCGers Patrick and Jeremy apply their distinctive points of view to solve client problems with equal art and science.

Learning to See the World Differently

Growing up in Germany, Patrick attended Chinese language school on Saturdays, staying true to his parents’ desire to maintain roots with their native country. Learning the art of Chinese calligraphy, he also discovered a love of painting—the feel of a brushstroke on bamboo paper—and saw how the power of beautiful images can move people.

One of the things I like about working at BCG is that we constantly push ourselves to see beyond the obvious and to help clients understand their challenges in new ways.

Patrick believes his early interest in painting helped him to see the world in a unique way—a skill he continues to hone as a BCG consultant to retail, apparel, and consumer clients. “To paint well, one must see something subjectively, as well as objectively,” he explains. “The same is true of retail consulting: you have to know what customers are both thinking and feeling to create a great experience.”

Driven by a self-described “passion for fashion,” Patrick consulted on several projects in his first year at BCG, including the store redesign for a large European apparel retailer. Patrick likens the process of designing a customer-centric retail space to “storytelling within a store”—everything from the street window to the cashier needs to fit together and engage consumers like a clever book or movie plot. That often means combining creativity, consumer insights, and analytics in order to challenge the conventional wisdom.

“One of the things I like about working at BCG is that we constantly push ourselves to see beyond the obvious and to help clients understand their challenges in new ways,” says Patrick. “By bringing together people with diverse points of view, we were able to help our client develop a fresh perspective for the design of their stores.”

Patrick chose BCG after earning his master’s degree from a prominent German business school, because it gave him the greatest opportunity to make a difference in the world. “I have many personal interests—in business, art, music, fashion—and I could have pursued any one of them,” he says. “BCG allows me to pursue them all—and to have a positive impact on society.”

“BCG is constantly trying to innovate, to develop new concepts and methodologies. For a data engineer, that makes this an incredibly creative and exciting place to work.”

Choosing the Tech Road Less Traveled

Basketball is a game of patterns—networks in motion, offense, and defense, changing with every pass of the ball. A starting forward on Rensselaer Polytechnic’s college basketball team, Jeremy likens playing the game to his job as a senior knowledge analyst at BCG: fast-paced, competitive, and won by spotting patterns that others can’t see.

A math and economics major in school, Jeremy works hand-in-hand with BCG consulting teams to creatively uncover insights to myriad client challenges—from boosting membership renewals to deciphering why many patients don’t pick up their prescriptions. Often this includes applying innovative visual tools, including using graph databases, to be able to see problems in entirely new ways.

There are only a few that allow you to pursue that passion without ever having to leave. BCG is one of those places.

Jeremy joined BCG’s Knowledge and Analytics Organization in 2012 after working at a series of tech jobs out of college that didn’t offer the same creativity, diversity, or reward. “They were all great jobs with really great companies,” Jeremy says. “But it can get boring doing the same thing, day in and day out.”

Borrowing a quote from author and futurist Alvin Toffler, Jeremy describes BCG as an environment in which one can continuously “learn, unlearn, and relearn” in pursuit of better solutions. In addition to expanding his business and analytic skills at the company, Jeremy went back to school to earn his master’s degree in information systems from Northeastern University with tuition support from the company.

“At many companies, you start working in one area only to realize you have a passion for something else,” he explains. “But there are only a few that allow you to pursue that passion without ever having to leave. BCG is one of those places, because it constantly exposes me to client challenges across industries and new methodologies to solve them.”

Pursuing Their Personal Interests with Passion

Both Patrick and Jeremy pursue their personal interests as passionately as they do their careers. You can find Patrick painting on the weekend—he always keeps a canvas set up in his apartment—as well as going to museums, concerts, and fashion events. Jeremy plays competitively in two or three basketball leagues a season, as well as participating in other sports. “My outside interests inspire my creativity at work,” says Patrick. “And my work constantly inspires me to explore new avenues of self-expression.”

Photography by Paolo Pellegrin of Magnum Photos

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