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Real Humans of BCG: Tyler Berghorst, IESE MBA ’22, Consultant

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In this installment of our Real Humans: Alumni series, Tyler Berghorst shares his story of risk-taking and reward–changing careers from engineering to business consulting. With its rigorous curriculum and leadership opportunities, IESE provided Tyler the tools necessary to navigate change and achieve his career goals. Read his story below to learn how an IESE MBA helped him find success in consulting at BCG.

Tyler Berghorst, IESE MBA ’22, Consultant at BCG

Age: 31
Hometown: Holland, Michigan, USA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Chemical Engineering and Material Science & Engineering (Dual major)
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year: IESE Business School, 2022
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Engineering Professional Development Program, BASF Corp, 2015-2017, Chemicals; English Teacher, Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School, 2017-2018, Education; High School Calculus Teacher, Affiliated High School to Hangzhou Normal University, 2018-2020, Education
Post-MBA Work Experience: Consultant, BCG, 2022-present, Consulting

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I had left my comfortable job as an engineer at a good company with a clear trajectory, as I did not see a future for myself in this area. I decided at that point to take a risk and go for what I thought would be a one-year sabbatical to a new country, doing something completely different. Little did I know that teaching and living abroad would both be rich and meaningful experiences that would draw me in for longer than I expected. I knew, however, that this also wasn’t the long-term answer, and I had always had my eye on a return to the business world. The desire for this “triple jump” of job, industry, and geography made the investment of time and money into business school an easy decision.

Why IESE? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
After spending three years outside of the US, I decided that I wanted to continue my international career and, therefore, decided to target a non-US school. I also knew that I wanted a top program which offered a 2-year program. I was planning to make a drastic career change and knew that the extra time, along with an internship experience, would help me towards that goal. This narrowed down my options to only a few schools. After reaching out to individuals at each of these, I found immediately that the ethos of IESE, and everyone who had been a part of the school, resonated with me. Everything I had read regarding finding the “right” school and getting through applications mentioned doing the requisite reflection to understand who you are, what you want, and what you want from the school. While these concepts felt a bit vague initially, once I started doing my due diligence on IESE, it all seemed to make sense. 

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
IESE has a strong focus on academics and has a quite rigorous program, especially in the first year. This experience can be overwhelming and is not possible to navigate without working closely with the team that you are paired with. This team setting, in which I had to have strong time management, work through difficult and ambiguous problems, manage stress, and effectively communicate my findings are all things that directly translate to my current career as a consultant. Beyond this, IESE provided opportunities for me to take on leadership responsibilities and be involved in clubs that provided useful knowledge and experience to prepare me for life beyond the MBA.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
In my first year, I was not sold on consulting as a career (contrary to what you’re told, you can change your mind about what you want before, during, and after the MBA) and wanted to test out a startup environment. I found an exciting role with a tech startup, founded in part by an IESE alumni, to join for the summer. This was a very small team in which we all lived together in an Airbnb in Los Angeles and worked out of the apartment. It was an intense, very fun, and very frustrating experience. At the end of this time I decided that I did, in fact, want to look for something more stable and structured for my immediate post-MBA career. This is the point at which I decided to reconsider consulting.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I remained committed to my goal of continuing an international career. With this in mind, I was limited in the geographies and offices that I could strategically target. After some research and thought, I decided that Dubai and the Middle East was the best place to target. As consulting was not my only goal, I decided that I would limit myself to MBB firms, aiming for the top if I was to go for it at all. Of the three, BCG appealed to me the most. Similarly to my experience in choosing an MBA program, when I spoke to individuals at BCG, I found that the general ethos and attitude resonated with me the most. BCG is also the market leader in the region and I was excited for all of the opportunities that would be afforded to me there.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
 Focus on opportunities that fit you. Similarly to the way recruiting functions review you to determine whether you are a good fit, you should also very honestly do this assessment with yourself. Don’t force yourself into positions that won’t even give you the opportunity to succeed. Beyond that, don’t stress. I knew individuals who did over one hundred mock case interviews in a furious attempt to get into consulting. I did a much lower number than this, focusing on working with individuals who would give me quality feedback, thinking through my strengths and weaknesses, and understanding when to stop after I felt comfortable.

–One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search?
 It would have helped to have a more clear goal for my post-MBA career earlier. I think its completely fine not to, but if you do have this clarity, then do everything you possibly can to put yourself in a position to win. Join the clubs, network, target internships that will help, do pro-bono projects during the MBA, and anything else that you can. Particularly, I would recommend building relationships at the companies that you want to work at. This will help you to get recommendations, will give you the opportunity to understand the culture, and will make you more than just a name in a list. If you plan to do this though, actually do it. It is very common to hear colleagues now complain about random MBA students reaching out for a chat and then being unavailable or unprepared for talks.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
 Sometimes, companies are incredibly busy. Due to the nature of business in the Middle East, my recruiting process was more compact and more fluid than my peers who interviewed in different regions. My dates and interviewers changed based on availability. I think it is important to understand that this has nothing to do with you, and the best thing to do is to go with the flow and not let it stress you out.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Do everything that you possibly can. That means don’t ever say no to opportunities – professional or for fun. You will make plenty of money when you graduate, but you will never have the moments back during this time. Take advantage of everything.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.