How I Got There: LEK Associate | Senna Headley
Posted in Student & Alumni Stories
Senna Headley completed a major in Economics with a minor in Statistics. During this interview, Senna shares about her experiences at LEK working as an Associate. Learn how Georgetown shaped her path, what led her to her current position, and more insights regarding LEK and the consulting 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 Economics and minored in Statistics. Although I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue after graduation, by the end of my freshman year, I decided that consulting would be a good place to start. After coming to that conclusion, I quickly fell into the pitfall of tunnel vision – something that I believe is very common among ambitious undergraduates. I felt that everything on my resume needed to directly appeal to a consulting firm. Luckily, through advice from my network at Georgetown, by the time I was a junior I realized that my time was much better served exploring my own interests rather than doing what I thought others wanted to see on a resume. So, my junior summer, I interned at the Federal Reserve to pursue my interests of data science, statistics, and economics. Truthfully, I was nervous about this decision; when many of my peers were receiving return offers from consulting firms, I was just starting my case practice. However, I am so thankful I gave myself the opportunity to try out other interests before entering the workforce. Pursuing a variety of interests in college has saved me from wondering “what if” on multiple occasions. Additionally, I believe that my application stood out more because of my irregular path.
What activities/extracurriculars at Georgetown did you find most valuable and why?
Georgetown really excels in its pre-professional offerings. I was a member of Hilltop Consultants and GUSIF, and both organizations were formative in my readiness for LEK. Before Hilltop, I had no idea what consulting “really meant.” Getting firsthand experience working with real clients was invaluable to me. That being said, I do not believe these organizations are prerequisites for performing well at LEK. Getting involved at Georgetown in any organization, especially in leadership positions, is great preparation for the associate role.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day at LEK starts around 9am where I check my emails and calendar for the day. As the morning progresses, I check in with my project team to align on goals for the day. From day one, you are trusted with your own workstream that you manage independently; therefore, it’s my responsibility to share with my team relevant updates on my end. During the day I work on a variety of tasks which could range from interviewing industry experts, researching financials, performing data analysis, designing slides to many other tasks. In the afternoon, I usually check in with my team again so we can align on our goals for the end of the day. Towards the evening, I will finish up my tasks and send an update to the team on what I plan to work on the following day. At LEK, the short length of cases oftentimes means that your weekly schedule is centered around a client check-in. Personally, I find this guideline helpful to schedule my own week and consider when I need to take time for myself.
What surprised you most when you started working at LEK?
As an associate, you spend a lot of time digging into research. Therefore, I was most surprised by what a crucial role I personally played in developing an answer for our clients. Although the team structure is highly robust, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of weight I carried in case-cracking discussions. The ability to impact client deliverables is very rewarding, and an experience you get from day one at LEK.
What skills are most needed in your current role?
LEK-ers have a mixture of hard and soft skills, but the most important skills to have as a new joiner relate to organization and self-management. At LEK there is an understanding of the learning curve that up-skilling entails; teams know that everyone starts at different places and brings something unique to the table. However, while LEK has the ability to train you in data analytics or coach you on slide development, being task-oriented and proactive is a mindset that is necessary from day one. There are a lot of moving parts in this job, and the people that are most successful at it will recognize patterns and create systems to work efficiently and track their progress clearly.
What is your advice to students interested in applying for a position at LEK?
I would advise students interested in applying for a position at LEK to reach out to our recruiting team to ensure that they are update on all relevant timelines. Additionally, I recommend students to engage their Georgetown networks. I first learned about LEK through my peers at Georgetown. Through these relationships, I was able to meet with LEK associates at the time to hear about the day-to-day of the job and LEK’s mission. Remember that although it important as it is to demonstrate to your interviewers why you are qualified for the role, you should also keep in mind what sets LEK apart from other firms and how your goals align.
What are the best ways for students to learn more about the industry?
The best way to learn about consulting is to find peers who are also interested in the industry – there is a ton of shared knowledge at Georgetown about consulting. My introduction to consulting was through word of mouth, and I found talking to others with firsthand experience in the industry extremely helpful. Additionally, check out the websites of consulting firms you are interested in – many of them have case preparation materials online. Finally, I would recommend utilizing social media. There are lots of sources to find “day-in-the-life” videos of associates in consulting and resources for those that are interested in preparing for case interviews.
Any additional career development advice or other information that you’d like to add?
Don’t worry about finding positions that are exactly applicable to consulting – variety can be a really great way to stand out. Pursue interests that genuinely excite you because curiosity and passion are highly valuable traits. Everyone at LEK has a different path, so don’t feel like you need to fit a mold. Lastly, don’t stress if you don’t get that sophomore year internship – as Georgetown students, we put a lot of undue pressure on ourselves, but remember that college is a marathon not a sprint.