Meet the Boston Consulting Group’s MBA Class of 2020: Tim Purdie

Tim Purdie

BCG Office: Houston

Hometown: Selma, AL

MBA Program, Concentration: Harvard Business School

Undergraduate school, major: Tuskegee University, Chemical Engineering

Focus of current case/engagement: Growth strategy and sales execution case with a consumer client

Why did you choose BCG? I chose BCG because it was the best place for me to leverage my background as an engineer in the oil and gas industry and face new challenges that expand my skillset.

Before BCG and HBS, I worked as an offshore drilling engineer in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Thailand. I knew that I wanted the next phase of my career to build on the analytical and problem-solving skills that I had developed as an engineer, with the flexibility to experience a wide range of industries and functions. Throughout my interview process, BCG recognized the value that I could bring to a team outside of oil and gas.

I also chose BCG because I found myself inspired by the BCGers who I encountered during my interview process. I knew that at BCG, I would work alongside incredibly intelligent people who wanted to make a lasting impact with the client and each other.

What did you love about the business school you attended? The case method and the people were my favorite parts about HBS, and in many ways, they go hand-in-hand.

The case method only works with a wide array of perspectives in the room who have a desire to learn from one another, and my section—shout out to Section I—was a great example of that. The case method encourages you to put yourself in the shoes of a business leader facing a dilemma, form an opinion, and articulate it in front of 90 other incredibly intelligent future business leaders.

I loved that I constantly found myself surrounded by people who I might not have ever encountered without HBS. While I was continually amazed by the things that my classmates had done, they were also as interested in my experience. That mutual respect made the experience even more enriching, and I did not expect to form such close connections within the two years.

Most of all, I value those unexpected, long-lasting connections that I made in some of the most unexpected places, such as Cuba, Tanzania, and Kurdistan.

BCG’s purpose is “unlocking the potential of those who advance the world.” What has BCG unlocked in you? BCG has unlocked my ability and confidence to approach any type of problem. I used to think that problem-solving meant knowing how to identify the solution yourself, but BCG has taught me that knowing where to seek out information to get you started and leveraging the resources at your disposal is key to approaching a new problem. In many ways, asking the right questions is more important than having all the answers. Understanding that no one expects you do to it all alone is a huge unlock, and it allows you to enjoy and embrace the journey.

What was your greatest personal or professional accomplishment and how did you make a difference? My greatest personal accomplishment was completing a four-day hike in Iceland. I had never been hiking or camping before and agreed to go with two friends. I did not expect it to be the most physically demanding thing I’d ever done. We waded through freezing cold rivers and hopped across rock-laden streams while carrying all our supplies. I was cold, wet, and sore for days on end and thought about quitting several times. To keep moving, I kept my eyes on the horizon and took it one step at a time. I was motivated and rewarded by breathtaking views of glaciers, sunrises, and otherworldly landscapes. During this adventure, I learned to stop underestimating myself and how to address challenges incrementally instead of becoming overwhelmed by them.

What word best describes BCG’s culture and give us an example of how you’ve experienced this in your day-to-day work? Collaborative. My favorite part about the job is interacting with my team members to accomplish a common goal. Being able to bounce ideas off one another is encouraging.

For example, in my current case, I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with members of BCG’s GAMMA data scientists. I have learned so much from them by asking questions and leveraging their expertise that I would not have gotten if that collaboration wasn’t encouraged by BCG.

Please describe an “only at BCG” moment you’ve experienced so far. I love that BCGers enjoy learning new things, solving problems, and making an impact on the world. As an engineer, I’ve found that Excel can be a tool to do all three. So when I was at a case team dinner during my internship—and my Project Leader asked the table “What is your favorite Excel function?”—I knew I would fit in at BCG.  (My favorite function Index-Match-Match in case you were wondering).

What advice would you give someone interviewing at BCG? I’m not much of a sports fan, but I firmly believe in the mantra “shoot your shot.” The interviewing process can be strenuous, but the best way to get through it and succeed is to do so as authentically as possible. Find ways to display your creativity and unique perspective during the interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask BCGers questions about their experience to determine if you feel like BCG is the place for you. Lastly, be kind to yourself. Know that your perspective matters and your experiences have prepared you to thrive in a challenging and rewarding work environment like BCG.

Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at BCG, and how has this person made you a better consultant? My current Project Leader, Clara Lachmann, has made a great impact on me during our time working together. She’s honest, transparent, and supportive to new team members and always makes sure that the team’s efforts are aligned. She remains calm and confident in busier moments, acknowledges the successes and contributions of the team members, and always provides actionable and timely feedback. I consider myself lucky to have had her as my first Project Leader as a new, full-time consultant, and I hope to exhibit many of her qualities as I progress in my career.

A fun fact about me is…I have a collection of tea sets that I started while working in Thailand. Currently, I have tea-related souvenirs from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Turkey.


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