Management consultancy is one of those professions that most students have heard of but few really know much about; the term can seem particularly impenetrable to anyone who hasn’t had the chance to meet a real, live management consultant. At Rare, we’re working with top management consultancies like BCG to ensure that our candidates get proper insight and are fully prepped when the right opportunity arises. We partnered with BCG to create Rare Foundations: Consulting, an exclusive insight event, and Consult, a highly competitive mentoring and development programme for black students. We spoke to Folashade Oyewole, a final year medic and Consult alumnus with an offer to join BCG at the end of her studies.
Rare: Folashade, thanks for taking a break to chat to us - we know how you medics work hard. Tell us a bit about why management consultancy appealed to you.
Folashade: No problem, I timetabled it into my day! I like that in medicine, you spend your time solving a wide range of issues but they are all, obviously, related to medicine. The draw about management consultancy is you have to work with people across a vast range of industries, from so many different backgrounds and you can do it internationally - it feels like the possibilities are endless.
Rare: Spoken like a true convert! So how did you come to hear about BCG?
Folashade: It was actually through Rare. I heard about Rare in my 1st year and signed up, but then didn’t think too much about it for a couple of years. I knew I wanted to apply for a job at BCG and I was just going to go straight for that until Rare called me up to tell me about this summer internship at BCG. I wasn’t even going to apply for it but since I was already doing the prep for the graduate role, I thought I might as well…
Rare: And what did you find helpful about the support from Rare?
Folashade: Er…everything! [laughs] It really just meant that I did everything I was doing, just better. Rare really helped me to get my CV in order and worked with me on the interview preparation. I got a place on the Consult programme too, which meant I got to meet loads of BCG people and get a feel for the place. When I applied for the internship, it meant that I knew for sure that it was what I wanted.
Rare: Then you got your spot on the internship: what did you get up to over the summer at BCG?
Folashade: I worked on two different healthcare projects. I can’t tell you specifics because of client confidentiality, but they both involved identifying a lack of efficiency. I was part of a team that had to examine data sets to establish the effectiveness of each element and make recommendations as to how and where money could be saved.
On the second module, I had complete ownership of the data analysis, which meant getting comfortable using a lot of Excel. I hadn’t really used Excel much before that so that was really interesting, plus BCG gave me practical training on how to use it. I presented the recommendations based on our analysis myself.
Rare: That sounds pretty daunting - how did you have the confidence to deliver that kind of analysis when you hadn’t done it before?
Folashade: It was a lot of work but it didn’t feel overwhelming because I had so much support from my colleagues at BCG. I knew we’d done all the groundwork and how rigorous we’d been in our analysis, so I had confidence in the numbers and had full back up from my colleagues.
Rare: And they clearly had confidence in you, since you landed a job offer at the end. How do you think you’ll make the shift from medicine to management consultancy?
Folashade: Actually, there are more similarities than you might think. There’s a phrase I heard at BCG - ‘classify or die’ - which sounds pretty dramatic but it’s pretty much what we do in clinical training. A patient presents with a set of symptoms and we need to diagnose both what the issue is and how to treat it, which is very similar to management consultancy. The main difference is the analytical part, using data to identify the problem areas and figure out how to fix them. My medical background is taken on board, so I’ll have lots more training and learning on the job to improve my technical skills.
Rare: What was your favourite part of your BCG internship?
Folashade: The feedback. [laughs] I know, I’m probably a bit weird, but I really love feedback and hearing when I can do better. At BCG, you can get regular, very detailed feedback just by asking. I knew my strengths and challenges just three weeks in, and that really made a difference to where I focused my energies. And I actually really liked Excel! [more laughter] I think because I’d barely used it before, I could really feel the change in my competence from beginning to end, with clear markers of my progression. And my team was so nice, I really enjoyed the whole thing.
Rare: You sound like you’ve found your dream role. What are you most looking forward to about starting work?
Folashade: It’ll be a really good change, for one. I’ve been at uni for so long now, I’ve sat in so many classes and lectures, it’ll just be refreshing to be doing something else. And I’m also looking forward to working out what skills I want to focus on developing beyond my medical training. I think you can choose with a great deal of flexibility within management consultancy, and you can be incredibly creative and varied in your choices. I’m looking forward to travelling with it, too.
And we’re sure that Folashade is going to take BCG by storm.
Any of this sound like it could be you? If you’re a Rare candidate in your penultimate year, we can help you apply for the BCG Summer Internship, recruiting now. Just get in touch with Beth on firstname.lastname@example.org with a CV and cover letter; and applications close on 27 January 2018, so get your skates on!
If you’re a black student in your first year (or second year on a four-year programme) at a UK university, you can apply for a spot on our Rare Foundations: Consulting event in partnership with BCG. Apply online now before 9 March 2018.
All Rare candidates attending the Rare Foundations: Consulting day will automatically be considered for the Consult programme, an intensive mentoring programme designed to develop candidates and eventually increase the number of black graduates in consulting. Find out more about Consult here.
Keywords: Rare Foundations, Consult, BCG