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Real Humans of BCG: Matt Leung, Northwestern Kellogg MBA ’21, Consultant

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Looking to expand his horizons beyond healthcare, Matt Leung, Northwestern Kellogg MBA ’21, set his sights on b-school to cover more industry ground as a consultant. Read on for his story about what he learned at Kellogg, the process of joining BCG and more in this Real Humans: Alumni.

Matt Leung, Northwestern Kellogg MBA ’21, Consultant at BCG

Age: 28
Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Northwestern University, Chemical Engineering
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Kellogg School of Management, MBA Class of 2021
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Healthcare
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 months, Management Consulting

Why did you choose to attend business school?
After joining Baxter Healthcare right out of undergrad, I got the opportunity to work with a variety of amazing teams within the company, such as manufacturing strategy, supplier negotiations, and digital health. After a few years, I realized that my background to this point revolved only around healthcare, and I wanted a stronger foothold in other industries and functions to position myself as a better all-around leader in the future. I decided that attending business school would be a great opportunity for me to get deeper exposure across industries while also gaining memorable experiences with a great group of ambitious and driven peers. 

Why Northwestern Kellogg? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I wanted to go to a place that would allow me to grow and develop as a leader and teammate. I worked with a handful of Kellogg graduates at Baxter who I really looked up to – they were not only great at their job and wicked smart, but also well-rounded individuals that adapted well to any team or situation. After hearing about how Kellogg shaped their experiences and getting a glimpse of it myself during Day at Kellogg, I solidified my decision. To top it off, during undergrad years at Northwestern, I always saw Kellogg students as the cool kids on campus that worked hard and played hard, which I’m sure subconsciously impacted my decision. 

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career as a consultant at BCG?
Kellogg truly reinforces a strong focus on teamwork and working with diverse teams, which is critical when working in consulting. Almost every class I took had some aspect of group work, which greatly helped me navigate working with people that have competing priorities to all the other opportunities at Kellogg. A good percentage of my friends from Kellogg are also consultants here in Chicago, which has given me a nice soft landing as I have a close group to relate to, in addition to getting to know fellow Kellogg alumni at BCG.

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned as a summer consultant at BCG. It was a great opportunity to get hands-on experience on what a real day in the life of a consultant would be like.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
BCG helps clients solve their most prioritized business questions, and the thought of working at a place where I can solve these complex problems that lead to a high dollar impact excited me. BCG is also a place that will allow me to continue developing my strategic skillsets while continuing to get deeper exposure across different industries. 

Throughout recruiting, I was told that it was “the people” who made BCG a great place to work. I didn’t fully understand this until I started my internship. The people I met at BCG were not only extremely bright and intellectually curious, but they were also people that cared about my growth and development. Knowing I would have a supportive and stimulating environment solidified that BCG was the right place for me to be.

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
Luckily, not much, as my plan was to pivot into consulting from the start. The day-to-day consulting lifestyle has been impacted though, as there’s now less travel and in-person teaming compared to the pre-COVID days.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
When it comes to networking, quality over quantity. Get to know the people at the firms that you are recruiting for at a deeper level. These people aren’t just recruiters and people to have a coffee chat with – they’re people that you could potentially be working with in the future. Consulting projects can come with long hours, so make sure they’re the type that you would enjoy working with. 

–One thing you would change or do differently?
It might be hard in the moment, but looking back I wish I did a better job ignoring all of the external “noise.” I found the recruiting process to be an arduous marathon. Business school can turn into a bubble, and it’s easy to get lost in the recruiting shuffle of what others are focusing on, how you perceive firms are evaluating you, and many other stressful rumors. At the end of the day, focusing on yourself to make sure that, at the end of the process, you are at the top of your mental game and prepared for your case interview is all that matters. 

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Overall, no surprises. The Kellogg Consulting Club and its resources did a fantastic job helping me throughout the process. 

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Push yourself to try new things, meet new people, and leave your comfort zone! Some of my best friends and memories from business school came from going to events and trying new activities that I normally would have hesitated on, and it has made my experience so much better. 

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.