At BCG, there is true experience and information sharing. One day, I was asked to "lend a hand" on an issue I was not knowledgeable about. I sent an e-mail to a manager in the Munich office, who gave me half an hour of his time the following day in order to brief me.
At the end of my studies at business school, I went to Brazil for a six-month internship in the finance industry and to India, where I studied and worked in the hotel business for six months. To me, joining BCG would enable me to address a wide range of industries and issues, and to enjoy a significant international exposure. I also understood very quickly during my interviews and first weeks of work how intense my learning process would be. Only three months after arriving, my manager sent me to meet, on my own, two direct reports of the client's CEO. I felt confident because I knew that I'd been watched without even realizing it, and that they felt I was able to assume this responsibility. It is highly stimulating.
At BCG, there is a true logic of co-construction. All individuals, whatever their seniority, profile, or expertise, make a useful contribution. As from the very beginning, I felt I could come up with new ideas. A consultant is very often in the field and can therefore provide a different point of view, which can be a basis for fruitful reflection. This point of view is really taken into consideration.
Lorraine holds a business degree from ESCP Europe.
Q: How has BCG helped you grow and succeed?
A: At BCG, we attend a number of training sessions. Beyond the techniques and methodologies that help me structure my work, I particularly appreciate the personal development tools. Today, I can better identify my strengths and areas for improvements and understand team dynamics. I notably remember a session with a coach, when we were all asked to describe a picture we were shown of a city. It was really fascinating to see the diversity of answers. Some saw details, others the story told by the picture or the colors of the picture. It helped me a lot to understand how consultants, managers, and clients think and act. In a similar vein, experience sharing within the women’s initiative—Women@BCG—helps me envisage my career from a female perspective, get awareness of my unconscious brakes (my own personal glass ceiling, so to speak), and learn how to push myself forward in a still rather male-oriented world.
Q: Can you give an example of a time when your team really came together in a big way? Put another way, what’s the best team experience you’ve ever had?
A: Team spirit is often at its best when assignments are tough. I lived through such an experience. We had worked on a difficult project, with very challenging issues. Difficulty bonded us all. Collaboration and mutual assistance were stronger than ever. We were all heading in the same direction in order to achieve the result that would live up to our expectations. At the end of the assignment, a team event was organized. The aim was to assemble and disassemble a 2CV (a French car). Roles had been allocated with no consideration of seniority, from associate to partner, and tasks required manual skills. We all played the game and the atmosphere was tremendous. Truly a wonderful human experience!
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to work at BCG?
A: Working at BCG requires curiosity, courage, and will. It requires curiosity for learning, discovering new issues, enriching your knowledge, and acquiring new tools. You must also have the courage to face sometimes tough situations, which you may not feel very comfortable with, and to never limit yourself. Last, you need the will to have a real impact, to create value for the client.