During your four years at BCG, you had the opportunity to explore many different practice areas such as healthcare, energy, financial institutions, automotive, and more. What advice do you have for BCG’s consultants who would like to explore other practice areas?
I have three tips for the (aspiring) consultant who wants to broaden their horizon in terms of practice areas:
- Communicate from day 1: Don’t be shy. Explain where your ambitions lie and why. Most likely, your staffing responsible or Career Development Advisor will ask you when you join. If not, or if your priorities have shifted, go to them instead of waiting for someone to ask you.
- Be realistic: BCG is a business like any other. Don’t ask for something you know isn’t sold in the region. Show you understand the business of your region by acknowledging the local project mix. By being flexible toward travel; you might at one point still get a taste of your favorite practice areas elsewhere. In the meantime, it obviously never hurts to get in touch with colleagues affiliated with the practice areas of your choice to signal interest.
- Be patient and don’t despair: Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor will your BCG curriculum. Personally, I had wanted to experience as many industries as I could upon joining BCG and had no particular interest in financial services. I ended up with the better part of my two Associate years working for banks. Then, all of a sudden, I had projects in healthcare, automotive and consumer goods lined up. Ironically, all of that led me to joining a bank once I left BCG.
After working at Unilin, Roularta Media Group, and VOSEKO, what sparked your decision to transition to the management consulting industry with BCG?
At Unilin, a manufacturer and part of Mohawk Industries, I worked as an intern over the summer during my last year of studies (as I already had my offer from BCG at the beginning of the year, there was more room to earn some money on the side). I never considered a full time role at Unilin to launch my career because I believed that the investments BCG makes in its people are unmatched. As Filiep Deforche, a former OA from the Brussels Office, mentioned during the campus recruiting event, “BCG is a springboard which will allow anyone to jumpstart their career. When leaving BCG, you enter the job market with so much more experience and competences than your age or education would suggest.”
What is your favorite BCG memory?
That is a tough one, because there are so many, but among the best:
- Generally, I always appreciated the tremendous amount of value we could bring to companies by bringing bright people together, by being able to focus on one specific topic over an extended period of time (because clients have tons of talented people as well, but sometimes lack the possibility to take a step back and see the day-to-day operations for what they are). Having seen both sides of the consultant-client relationship, I appreciate the value and ability to always add more.
- The pure fun we could have at social events with BCG Brussels’ staff. For instance, during the BCG Soccer World Cup in Amsterdam in 2011, BCG Brussels didn’t come close to winning on the field, but surely deserved the prize for best team atmosphere (which probably explains in part why we didn’t win). All joking aside, events like these created invaluable bonds that you could build upon during projects and even outside of BCG.
- My year at BCG Toronto, where I had a second BCG family in no time. Amazing people in a beautiful country, working on exciting projects such as car racing. Unforgettable!