At BCG, Seekers go deep into the challenging issues our clients face. Their curiosity empowers our teams to facilitate change and add value to society. James connects the dots to see the bigger picture.
My most memorable moment at BCG so far has been getting the ad in the mail for a retail electricity company we helped launch. It was a pretty proud moment to see years of work with the client come to fruition. I still have the ad hanging on my fridge.
My background is in engineering. I’d wanted to be an engineer since I was a little kid; I loved the concept of finding a problem and solving it with technology. What I found once I started working in engineering is that the designs I was working on were only a small part of the equation, and they usually came in after someone else had come up with an idea. The engineering was just the execution.
BCG gave me the opportunity to be involved in that first step very early in my career. I’m able to work with the highest levels of an organization to help them work through their industry’s biggest challenges and design an action plan against them. The fact that we then work with them through the execution is a bonus. Now I can get the best of both worlds.
James holds a civil engineering degree from the University of Calgary, where he received an APEGA Past President’s Medal for academic achievement.
Q: What did you learn in your first year on the job?
A: I learned that cases become more enjoyable (and a lot easier) once you figure out the right balance between driving your own work and getting input from clients, principals, and partners. As an associate or consultant, you’re going to be much closer to the data than senior folks, which gives you the opportunity to find insights when you dig into the details. But there is a huge benefit in marrying those details with the hypothesis of clients and senior BCGers, as their previous experience can often help narrow the search and save a lot of time.
Q: What characteristics do you believe define a BCGer?
A: I think it’s a pretty unique combination of humility and a huge competitive streak. You probably won’t meet another group of people who push themselves as hard to be the best in everything they do, but who don’t really talk about their successes. I worked with a Rhodes Scholar for months, and he never even mentioned it. The competitiveness comes out in the little things: our “casual” company softball games involve many diving catches and home runs because everyone really wants to win.
Q: If you weren’t working at BCG, what would you be doing?
A: My friends and I always talk about opening up a microbrewery in the mountains, so that’s always in the back of my mind. I think it would be really interesting to bring some of the work we do with larger companies on pricing and why consumers buy their products to something small scale—but first we probably need to learn how to actually brew beer.