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An Exercise in Startup Thinking

Lauren Raouf Talks Entrepreneurship and the Energizing Effect of BCG Teams

December 14, 2017

The alumni team sat down with Lauren Raouf (project manager, Chicago) to talk about her career path at and beyond BCG, her return, and what has made the biggest impression on her the second time around.

Why did you leave BCG, and what were you doing until your return?

I left to pursue my MBA at Wharton and started a business while there. I had an offer to return to the firm but wanted to develop my venture further and explore opportunities in the entrepreneurial space. I also started working as an independent consultant and built up a personal consulting business. There, I largely worked with smaller companies but did a lot of the same kind of work I had been doing at BCG. It was very important to me to have the opportunity to work on my own venture.

How did you hear about the "Talent Back at BCG" program, and how did you perceive the process of being rehired?

I received an outreach e-mail that introduced BCG Reserve, and I wrote back asking if the team could keep me in the loop, not really intending to come back. A few months later, someone reached out with a proposition for a specific project with subject matter that really piqued my interest, so I cleared some room in my consulting schedule for the project. It was a pretty seamless process to come back. The BCG Reserve team and the team I worked with were very helpful from day one, making sure I was equipped with all the tools and day-to-day insights related to BCG’s new ways of working.

What motivated you to come back to BCG, and is there anything you missed about the firm during your time away?

The project that came through the pipeline was a big draw because it involved a topic I wanted to build expertise in. I also missed being exposed to certain dynamics that are characteristic of BCG projects, in particular having a team of smart, driven, supportive people—as an independent consultant, I was often on my own. The interactions I have with clients inspires crucial parts of my work, but it’s energizing to have a team that pushes my thinking in a different way.

How do you feel your time away from the firm adds value to your BCG experience now?

Knowing how to bring startup thinking into an equation has been an interesting differentiator. For example, when my team was designing a training program, I pushed us to test, learn, and iterate on little pieces of the project, which helped us shape the overall offer. At BCG, I had already acquired project management skills and a strategic perspective, but through my own business, I learned how to put out an MVP rapidly and quickly get feedback from the market. I think both experiences have been complementary—it has been a self-reinforcing cycle.

Is BCG any different from when you left?

I left only three years ago but was struck by the new capabilities and tools we now have, as well as the new businesses like Digital Ventures. Most of these didn’t exist or were just getting off the ground when I left. It’s exciting to see how ideas have come to fruition in just a few years and now to be part of these big changes.

How does it feel to be back?

It’s been great! Gaining perspective from both inside and outside BCG has helped me see my career in a more modular way, where I can continue to build, explore, and bring different pieces together. It’s been rewarding to be working on BCG projects again with a more holistic outlook on the entire experience.

An Exercise in Startup Thinking