Meet the Boston Consulting Group’s MBA Class of 2020: Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

BCG Office: Los Angeles

Hometown: Brandon, FL

MBA Program, Concentration: Wharton School, Strategic Management

Undergraduate school, major: United States Naval Academy, Ocean Engineering

Focus of current case/engagement: Digital strategy for a state government

Why did you choose BCG?  It sounds cliché, but it was definitely because of the people. Everyone that I spoke to during the recruiting process was genuine and incredibly responsive.  Whether it was suggesting places to take my mom during Christmas in Philadelphia to connecting me to other military veterans in the office, I felt that BCG really made an effort to connect with me on a personal level.  This made me feel more confident about my choice to join BCG, knowing that this feeling of inclusion and care was omnipresent.

What did you love about the business school you attended? The flexibility that Wharton provides is unmatched, and that flexibility extends beyond the academic program.  Yes, the ability to choose courses across different departments is fantastic, but so too is the opportunity to join a myriad of clubs and organizations that represent every possible interest you can imagine. This flexibility also allowed me to make sure my experience was unique and took into consideration my priorities when it came to my academic, professional, and social experience.

BCG’s purpose is “unlocking the potential of those who advance the world.” What has BCG unlocked in you?  It was the ability to push myself, especially into areas in which I had less experience. Given my non-traditional background, I felt that it would be very easy to get pushed into mostly doing work that aligned with my past professional experiences. If anything, my experience since joining has been the complete opposite. When I first started, I mentioned that I would like to try to develop areas that I thought were weaker and I was immediately given the opportunity to explore those functions and skillsets. This confidence in letting me take on a role in which I had limited previous experience was a great motivator. Coupled with a great manager on the case, I was able to make vast improvements and add another tool to my toolkit going forward.

What was your greatest personal or professional accomplishment and how did you make a difference? It was my journey transitioning from the Navy to BCG. Being a consultant at a top firm had been a long-term goal since before I left the Navy. Added to that, I specifically desired to establish myself in the Los Angeles area so that I could be close to family. There were a lot of steps and numerous challenges along the way, but it made achieving the end-goal much more meaningful. I had so much help along the way from friends, family, and other veterans and look forward to sharing that experience with others in the future.

What word best describes BCG’s culture and give us an example of how you’ve experienced this in your day-to-day work? Driven. This describes everyone that I’ve worked with at BCG and not just among the consulting team. Everyone strives to provide the best product possible, whether it’s a deliverable to a client or a broader office event. As a case team, having this common mentality creates a very goal-oriented and collaborative environment because we know we can lean on each other every day as needed.

Please describe an “only at BCG” moment you’ve experienced so far. I recently had an opportunity to sit on a panel within my office to discuss my experience growing up in a half-Korean half-American household. Having people express interest in hearing my story and hearing how similar my experience was to theirs was very comforting. It was also a great opportunity to connect with more people in the office.

What advice would you give someone interviewing at BCG? Be authentic. It’s very easy to get caught up in the recruiting process and try to create a persona that you think BCG wants to hire. If you’ve made it to the interview, they clearly like you for who you already are.

Don’t focus on how everyone else is preparing for interviews. Find the process and the cadence that works best for you. Too often, people were hyper-focused on the number of practice cases they had done rather than the quality.

Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at BCG, and how has this person made you a better consultant?  Two people really stand out to me as shaping my experience so far. Natalie Rudd was my manager when I was a summer intern and I had an opportunity to work with her again when I rejoined after graduation. I appreciate her open communication style and emphasis on the importance of feedback. She was always willing to make time to ‘thought-partner’ on work and it never felt like I was a burden. Additionally, she is someone I know I can reach out to as a mentor as I continue my development as a consultant. The second is Phuong Vuong, my talent manager. She has always been a great resource and guide for helping me find the right opportunity to meet my development goals. She always makes time to check in to see how I’m doing and ensures that I’m getting the experiences and challenges I need.

A fun fact about me is…I spent a week in rural Senegal with buildOn, an organization that focuses on expanding access to education across the world. We stayed with families in a local village and helped with the initial stages of building a school.  We used primarily hand tools and the entire village pitched in with construction.  Even though we didn’t speak the same language I still felt like I was able to connect with the community and hopefully positively impact their lives.


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