How I Got There: LEK Associate | Greg Sullivan (MSB)
Posted in Student & Alumni Stories
Greg Sullivan completed a major in Finance and Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. During this interview, Greg shares about his experiences at LEK working as an Associate. Learn how Georgetown shaped his path, what led him to his current position, and more insights regarding LEK and the financial industry.
What did you study in your time at Georgetown? And can you walk through the process of how you got to LEK in your current position?
I majored in Finance and Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship in the MSB. During my time at Georgetown, I always enjoyed problem solving activities across my classes, extracurriculars, and internships. This problem solving drive led me to consulting and, eventually, to L.E.K. because from day 1 in this career, you are working as a problem solver. What I found most appealing about L.E.K. when going through the recruiting process was the firm’s focus on giving Associates like myself exposure to critical research and analysis tasks early on in our careers and trusting us to work with our teams to find the best answers for clients.
What activities/extracurriculars at Georgetown did you find most valuable and why?
My favorite extracurricular at Georgetown was interning in the University’s Investment Office. This was my first professional experience and gave me a lot of the hands on analysis skills I hope to take from my finance classes into the real world. The impact of working in the Investment Office was also particularly rewarding and I look back fondly on my time at GUIO.
What does a typical day look like for you?
As an Associate, your day typically revolves several key tasks. We normally check in with our case team early in the morning to align on our goals for the day, which sets us up for what to expect in terms of process and output. Associates in their first year are usually tasked with interviewing market experts to gain an understanding of the market you are working in and the problem your client is facing. This usually means getting to have one on one conversations with high ranking executives at fascinating companies. For example, I am in our Industrials practice and during an automotive case, I was tasked with interviewing multiple key executives at various electric vehicle companies to inform our understanding of the market.
Another main task throughout your day as an Associate is owning quantitative work-streams, such as market sizing models. This usually means conducting analyses in Excel, finding market reports that can help inform your findings, and presenting the results of the model to the Partners and case team you are working with. Associates also are given responsibility in outputting our research into client deck presentations, which are typically the key output in your case. Throughout the day, you also may have check ins with your team, lunch with friends in the office, a coffee break with a mentor like your Career Development Coach, or a meeting with an extracurricular you are involved with at work. For instance, I volunteer with our pro-bono consulting group Inspire and we often have team meetings throughout the day while also working on case work. Your day always is different depending on the case, but usually has a lot of these great aspects of working at L.E.K. sprinkled throughout.
What surprised you most when you started working at LEK?
I was surprised my colleagues’ supportiveness. Early on in my time at L.E.K., I had a lot of “dumb questions” about my role and work. From the start, I was paired with formal mentors (such as my Career Development Coach, Welcome Buddy, and Case Team Buddy) and quickly found a network of informal mentors to help me succeed. That same spirit of mentorship has held true nearly a year and a half later; I still feel that when I have those questions come up, I will have no problem finding someone in my pod, in the Boston office, or on the industrials team who will help me find the answer.
What skills are most needed in your current role?
Communicating insights is critical. As Associates, we are often the ones closest to the research. We are the people who run the models, conduct interviews with experts, and read market reports on the industry we are researching. As the team member most in the weeds of analysis, it is important that we can communicate what we have learned to the rest of the team who are more removed from that day to day research. Effective communication can significantly help our ability to find the right answer as a team and is a key skill to succeed as an Associate.
What is your advice to students interested in applying for a position at LEK?
My biggest piece of advice is case prep. I think the more case practice you do, the more comfortable you will be when it comes to the actual interview. The best thing I did during my recruiting process was finding 1-2 friends and running a few cases with them every day. It can be hard to fit in with your busy class and club schedule, but pays off in the long run.
What are the best ways for students to learn more about the industry?
The best thing I did when I was considering a career in consulting was talking to people who work in the industry. I would spend a couple of hours a week gong through LinkedIn and finding Georgetown alums (of which there are many at L.E.K.!) at firms I was interested in applying to and asking them if I could have a call with them for 20-30 minutes when they were free. It helped me gain a lot of clarity in the differences between each firm, their cultures, recruiting processes, focuses, and lifestyles. It’s what made me decide that L.E.K. was the right fit for me and went a long way in helping decide what I wanted in a career in consulting.
Any additional career development advice or other information that you’d like to add?
I think it’s really worth spending the time talking to a lot of different people at different firms to get a good sense of what work each firm does and how they differ from each other. When you hear about a “consulting firm,” it sounds like it is one archetype of company, when in reality, it could mean management consulting, implementation consulting, digital consulting, strategy consulting, and so on. The more I talked the people, the more I liked what L.E.K. focused on (hint: it’s strategy consulting) and the more I thought it was a great match to my skillset and interests. Taking that time to understand the nuances between firms helped me a lot in coming to my decision, and I hope it helps you too. Hoya Saxa!