Senior Partner & Managing Director, Chicago
At BCG, Storytellers synthesize complex information and ideas. They believe in bringing the whole team together to get a broader perspective. Michelle empowers and inspires others.
My work with Women@BCG really energizes me. I feel as if I have been given the responsibility to help make this firm better not just for women but for everyone.
I did a PhD in organic chemistry in Stanford because I had envisioned myself being a professor at a small liberal arts school. But I realized about four years into my PhD that I wasn’t exactly excited to teach premeds for the next 40 years of my life. Consulting seemed like a good way to get business experience, which was a gap for me, but also leverage my science background and the fact that I really enjoyed working with people. I joined BCG thinking I was going to be here for a year or two and go back to biotech or pharma and move back to the west coast. But I fell in love with consulting. I also fell in love with Chicago, and I’ve been here for the past 15 years.
When I was choosing where to work and looking at different options, the thing that stood out for me about BCG was how collaborative it felt and how much it seemed as if they were interested in my development—and the “they” is the collective BCG. I really felt that in the recruiting process, and when I came here it became even stronger. I vividly recall in my first year sitting in a meeting when I had the pricing workstream. I had no business background, so I didn’t know how one sets up a pricing model. The partner said, “You should talk to Jim. He’s really good at pricing.” So I reached out to Jim, and he told me to come back with my computer and spend an hour talking through how to set it up. And that type of investment in people that goes above and beyond is part of what kept me here in the early years and motivates me to be here still. People are supportive of one another, which is really part of the DNA at BCG.
Q: What characteristics do you believe define a BCGer?
A: BCGers are intellectually curious; they want to understand things. But they’re also humble before the facts and really want to understand what the facts tell us. When the facts go against our preconceived hypothesis or beliefs, that’s OK. BCGers are supportive of each other, and we fundamentally believe that we need to make a difference for our clients and the world.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: There are a ton of things I love, but part of what I love about my job—and my career—is that it has looked really different over the 15 years that I’ve been doing it. The work I’ve been doing, the clients I’ve been working with, the people I’ve been teaming with—there’s so much variety and it keeps me interested and intrigued. But I’ve also been able to have a lot of flexibility with my job. What it looked like when I was 28, single, footloose, and fancy free is really different from how I approach my job now—married with a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. That flexibility is just inherent in how we work and what we do.
Q: What are some of your favorite places in the world and why?
A: Any place that my family is. Last year I had my sabbatical, and we did three weeks in Juneau, Alaska. Then I came back for a week to work with our partner development committee and our Women@BCG conference, and my husband and girls came with me. We spent that time out in Boston and then did a three-week road trip across the northeast, and we just had a ball together. To me, the ability to blend work and life is how you make it all work.