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Real Humans of BCG: Lauren Rodgers, Northwestern Kellogg ’19, Consultant

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Chances are, if your post-MBA goals are in consulting, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is on your list of target firms. Founded in 1963 and headquartered in Boston, MA, they are a leader in the industry and a member of the Big Three or MBB.

BCG employs more than 18,000 people in 90 offices across 50 countries around the world. More than half of BCG’s employees are consultants.  These numbers may paint a picture of scattered silos and uncoordinated advising efforts, but the culture at BCG is quite the opposite.  They take a team-based approach, bringing together management consultants, data scientists, engineers and more to provide business solutions across industries.  Moreover, their scope of operations allows for diversity—something Lauren Rodgers, Kellogg MBA ’19 & current BCG consultant, really values about her role.

In this edition of Real Humans of BCG, Rodgers describes the draw of consulting at BCG.  She also walks us through her decision to attend business school and how the Kellogg MBA in particular prepared her for the hustle and bustle of the leading consultancy.  Read on for her story.

Lauren Rodgers, Kellogg MBA ’19, Consultant at BCG

Lauren Rodgers, Northwestern Kellogg ’19, Consultant at Boston Consulting Group

Age: 27
Hometown: Dana Point, CA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Pennsylvania, Bioengineering
Graduate Business School and Concentration (if applicable): Kellogg School of Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Boston Consulting Group (3 years, consulting)
Post-MBA Work Experience: Boston Consulting Group (6 months, consulting)

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Business school offered an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Having grown up in California and gone to school in Philly, I didn’t have a broad network in Chicago outside of work. Business school introduced me to a diverse set of people from different backgrounds, many of which I hope will be lifelong friends. Luckily, Kellogg alum also run deep in Chicago.

Professionally, I wanted to explore opportunities outside of consulting through internships, conferences, and experiential learning. Coming from an engineering background, I also saw value in taking core classes, such as finance and accounting.

Why Kellogg? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I knew I wanted to stay in Chicago so focused my first round applications on Kellogg and Booth. I was actually leaning more towards Booth going into the application process, mostly due to the convenience of living downtown. I consulted with countless colleagues who were alums of both schools.

And eventually after attending both admit days, Day at Kellogg solidified my decision. The Kellogg culture resonated, and I connected with the people I met there. I was also drawn to Kellogg’s focus on healthcare and social impact, two areas I wanted to explore deeper at school.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
The strong focus on group work at Kellogg reinforced tactics for effective teaming that are essential in consulting. It helped improve my problem solving skills, especially in the absence of clear hierarchy and when classmates have competing priorities.

Stepping away from the intensity of consulting for 2+ years also helped give me greater perspective on the job and remind me to think about what intrinsically motivates me at work. Finally, my focus on healthcare through my coursework, extracurricular involvement, and internship allowed me to jump back into the BCG healthcare space with new, relevant knowledge and experience.

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
During business school, I interned at Oak Street Health, a network of primary care centers for adults on Medicare in medically-underserved communities. Oak Street is a fully-capitated risk model, which means they are incentivized to keep their patients happy, healthy, and out of the hospital.

I decided to return to BCG after Kellogg, but have narrowed my immediate focus to the payer and provider space, and especially value-based care, which aligns with the work I was so fascinated by at Oak Street.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
At BCG, I get to work with a diverse set of smart, hard working colleagues to tackle difficult, impactful problems. Each case, team, and client can be entirely different, which continually challenges me. I’m also able to develop important transferable skills, such as managing a team.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Since I focused my internship search off campus, I found it extremely helpful to tap into my personal and pre-MBA professional network at the beginning of the process to get advice and connections to possible opportunities. I also found great value in getting guidance from professors and mentors throughout the process and in making decisions.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have recognized that everyone is on their own timeline for the job search. On-campus recruiting opportunities often occur months before companies will be willing to realistically discuss off-campus roles, so it’s important to embrace your back-loaded situation and not worry too much when many of your friends already have their summer offers lined up.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
For my summer internship, it was surprising how long it took to convert initial conversations to written offers. Often times, I would speak to multiple different people in the organization through informal chats or quasi-interviews over the course of weeks or months before an internship offer materialized.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
There are an infinite number of things to do at business school – recruiting, coursework, extracurriculars, social, not to mention personal commitments to family and friends. It can be easy to get overwhelmed at times, but it’s important to recognize the privilege the MBA opportunity brings and learn to ruthlessly prioritize those activities that bring the most value and joy. It’s also okay to shift priorities over the course of the two years!

What’s the best thing about working for your current employer?
It’s incredible getting to work on impactful, hard problems and often getting a seat at very senior tables in organizations, even while junior in tenure.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.