L.E.K. Consulting

www.lek.com

L.E.K. Consulting Reviews

Updated January 26, 2015
Updated January 26, 2015
177 Reviews
3.9
177 Reviews
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L.E.K. Consulting Global Managing Partner Stuart Jackson
Stuart Jackson
50 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Improving attempts to manage work/life balance compared to the past (in 8 reviews)

  • Great people to work with at the consultant and associate level (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • Obviously work/life balance is tough but better than competitors due to no travel (in 35 reviews)

  • Long hours (but typical of other consulting firms, as I understand it) (in 33 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Work hard, paid well

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Consultant
    Current Employee - Consultant

    I have been working at L.E.K. Consulting full-time

    Pros

    The salary is very competitive. Our base pay and bonuses are generous.

    The work is challenging and addresses key strategic issues for our clients. We make a real impact on our client's organizations - no doubt about it.

    My colleagues are smart and friendly. Many are people who I would genuinely be friends with outside of the office.

    You develop very quickly at LEK - you get experience across many industries and project types over the course of a year.

    Cons

    The stress level can be very high at times. While the company is trying to improve work-life balance, I have found that certain projects and senior managers can still create a very unpleasant experience. The work-life balance improvements are uneven, at best.

    The firm prides itself on a lean staffing model, meaning that we can ramp up cases quickly and are very nimble as a firm to respond to market demand. The downside is that there is not a "safety net" to help deal with difficult clients or projects.

    While not prevalent across all members of the management group, there is an "old school" way of thinking among certain senior team members to "just get the work done", and an avoidance of speaking up about work-life balance issues.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Without introducing more slack into the staffing model or taking on longer-duration cases, it's hard to imagine a way to fix the hard-driving, high-pressure culture. So, while the problem may be unsolvable, it is still a concern among staff members and something that is the primary source of any employee dissatisfaction.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Good team management experience; too much PE work

    Current Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA

    I have been working at L.E.K. Consulting full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    1) Consultants set direction for cases, manage teams, and provide thought leadership
    2) Firm is large but small enough that you can spearhead initiatives to change or grow things you care about
    3) Most colleagues are generally smart, down-to-earth people

    Cons

    1) Cases, esp PE, are mis-scoped (and oversold even when client or industry is not a good fit) and result in unnecessary late hours, getting jerked around by the client, and uncertainty for teams. Partners give lip service to caring about team hours but keep doing more of the same. The worst aspect of these ultra short cases is not even the stress of the process but the lack of depth in such short cases. You don't really dig deep into the industry or think through a problem fully; it's very transactional in answering some set questions for the client, which honestly a market research firm could do -- and that's not the job I thought I'd be doing or wanted to do when I started here (I'd rather do strategy work where we have the chance to actually THINK deeply and ADVISE the client, not just hand them a report).

    2) There are some managers and a handful of partners with bad attitudes (rude, micromanaging, poor communication and people skills, power tripping, always stressed out) and often somewhat inept (don't do work or review work, BS their way through team and client meetings, don't have a sense of the answer so push the team to do EVERYTHING vs. 80/20). LEK has an upward feedback system so knows how consultants and associates feel about these toxic people, but they are still around, tormenting teams and making people question the value of their time here. It feels like our development needs given to us in our reviews are judged much more (harshly) at our level than at the Manager level or higher, and that the upward feedback system isn't really used to correct behaviors at the higher levels - so why waste time making people provide it?

    3) Stop mistreating associates. They are smart and educated people, deserve a true stimulating learning experience while they generate all the work we direct them to do, and must be treated by consultants, managers, and partners the way they would want their own younger family members to be treated -- with respect and consideration. Don't make people wait around for hours to answer your questions (be organized as a manager), and engage team members as contributors rather than through hierarchical condescension. The culture in this firm will never change as long as associates are treated the way they are.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Focus on selling more strategy work to increase content vs. process-driven work (I didn't come here just to be a market researcher for DDs)
    - Be careful who you promote - toxic managers/partners are driving good talent to leave by being allowed to hold on to bad legacy cultural habits, versus adopting the new ones you're trying to promote around work/life balance. Also you shouldn't have people who lack thought leadership ability at the manager level; they dilute the quality of the work and the brand

  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Consultant at L.E.K.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Consultant
    Current Employee - Consultant

    I have been working at L.E.K. Consulting full-time

    Pros

    Great people to work with at the consultant and associate level. Respectful of time-off and of weekend work. Great exposure to strategy and high-level corporate thinking.

    Cons

    Hours are very volatile and recently a lot of short-term projects (<4 weeks) which causes high hours and stress. Not invested in career trajectory (internally or exit opportunities). Very short-term thinking in terms of how it treats its employees (trajectory, suboptimal allocation of team expertise)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think more long-term for consultant/associate development and optimizing expertise of allocations rather than just filling teams as people become free indiscriminately. Change partner monetary incentives to shift case mix away from short-term projects (<4 weeks)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    You will learn a ton

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Consultant
    Current Employee - Consultant

    I have been working at L.E.K. Consulting full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Learning is guaranteed, short term cases which means you get exposure to more number of cases compared to similar firms and no travel which to me is a plus

    Cons

    You can get crushed with long hours.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do check in more requently when someone is going through a tough week.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Work hard, play hard

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I have been working at L.E.K. Consulting full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    L.E.K. takes care of its own. This is a company that feels like a family. They really care about staff at all levels, and listen to what you have to say. I have worked for good firms before, but L.E.K. is filled with genuinely kind people who want the best for you, professionally as well as personally.

    Folks work hard at this firm. It's a consulting firm, no surprise that there are long hours. But you are rewarded for your hard work with great office-wide events, incredible benefits, a beautiful office, and really smart colleagues to work with. They put value into making sure that you are happy with your work but that you are well compensated as well.

    Cons

    It takes a little time to get up to speed on everything if you come in off-cycle, but there is a lot of support to help you get there.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    One of the best jobs in business post-undergrad. Great people, good money and interesting / challenging work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Associate in Boston, MA

    I have been working at L.E.K. Consulting full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    -Top notch colleagues and culture. You will learn a tremendous amount from your peers / colleagues and I cannot speak highly enough of the caliber of the staff here. Especially after having worked in multiple offices, it really feels like there is a global L.E.K. community and I have developed some very close friends in my time here. L.E.K. also does a very good job fostering an active / enjoyable culture and employees are presented with a variety of non-case work related activities to get involved in both in and outside the office (e.g., corporate sport leagues, community services events, Friday beer cart, etc.).

    -International opportunities are very accessible to associates (i.e., pre-MBA level employees). The swap program, whereby employees temporarily switch offices with someone at their level in another country, is something that most associates who stay for 2+ years take advantage of and find very rewarding.

    -Broad industry exposure and a fast pace of learning. This is true more so at L.E.K. than many other management consulting firms given the short term nature of our cases (~8 weeks on average) and the generalist model we employ.

    -Significant responsibility for both pre and post-MBA hires early on. While there are certain tedious / menial tasks given to first year associates (e.g., cold calling), in general the job is intellectually stimulating and challenging on a regular basis. I know that many of my college friends cannot say the same about their current positions.

    -Wide range of exit options. Associates move onto anything from PE to corporate strategy to start ups to top tier b-schools (most that apply while at L.E.K. end up at a top 5 program).

    -Top notch training. Comprehensive initial training as well as on-going professional development sessions held at least once a month.

    -Minimal travel. Most of our work does not require being on client site, which not only helps with work / life balance but also with enhancing office culture.

    -Substantial company growth in recent years. Certain regions have done better than others, but on a whole, the company’s outlook appears very strong.

    -Highly accessible senior staff. This applies not only during projects, but also for non-case situations (e.g., general career advice).

    -Frequent and comprehensive feedback. I found this to be especially valuable in my first year here given that it was my first job out of college and understanding where your strengths / weaknesses lie is crucial to improving.

    -Beautiful offices. Might sound trivial, but you’ll be spending a lot of time there so goes a long way.

    -Time off in lieu (in the US, comp days). Days off are granted when certain hour thresholds are reached.

    -Very limited weekend work. L.E.K. does a good job protecting weekends, which is key for weekend trip planning and providing relief to sometimes long weeks.

    Cons

    -Work life balance. While the short term nature of our cases provides broad industry exposure, it also can drive long hours. This is one of the least well-understood aspects of L.E.K. though and it needs to be understood that a job at a top tier management consulting firm will inherently lead to long and often unpredictable hours. Hours at L.E.K. are substantially better than at any investment bank and are on par with most other comparable management consulting firms.

    -Over reliance on external MBA hires at the consultant level in the US. L.E.K. needs to more effectively retain top talent, which will include making business school sponsorship more accessible and offering staff greater say in their allocations.

    -Brand recognition. While L.E.K.’s brand recognition is better in certain geographies than others (e.g., Australia), it is still not at the level of MBB. Significant efforts are currently being made here though, so hopefully we’ll start to see results.

    -Limited say in allocations. Logistically difficult to achieve but a better effort taking employees’ allocations preferences into account would go a long way. Would also help with retention.

    -Certain menial tasks as an associate. This particularly applies to the first year as an associate where sourcing and cold calling contacts for interview campaigns is common in US offices. Hiring temps should become more common practice.

    -Limited client contact in your first 1-2 years. Applies more to the US than other geographies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Improve policies and procedures in place to help retain highest performers (e.g., make business school sponsorship more accessible and offer staff greater say in their allocations)

    -Continue effort to build brand. Executive insights, articles and advertisements in high profile publications, etc.

    -Continue effort to improve work life balance, particularly in certain geographies (e.g., US and Europe). Ideas such as -having a partial team staffed to a project the week before it officially kicks off (even if it is not 100% sold) and hiring temps for cold calling efforts would greatly help with this.

    -Provide employees more say in determining case mix and visibility with regard to upcoming projects

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Good Experience, yet Far Too much demanding hours

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at L.E.K. Consulting

    Pros

    1. A lot of experience and Exposure
    2. Network with higher ups

    Cons

    1. Demanding hours
    2. Little pay compared to other regions

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. provide more incentives

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good training ground for specific types of careers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate Consultant in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Associate Consultant in Boston, MA

    I worked at L.E.K. Consulting full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's been many years since I left LEK. When I first left, I was so mentally exhausted, burned out, that if I wrote the review at that time, it would have been extremely negative. However, it wasn't until 4 years later that I felt that I had the clarity to understand what I had in context of everything else. I think it's OKAY for your first job out of college to be really tough. It teaches you a lot.

    I started out as an associate in the Boston office and left as an Associate Consultant after 3 years. I had pretty good performance throughout and remain in contact with several former coworkers.

    LEK is great for the following
    - Building a powerful analytic toolset with a focus on valuation modeling. This is one of the companies where you can get a great background on financial modeling without going into an investment bank. My skillset was definitely very desireable in any strategic job that I applied to. If you are coming from a top school, it is still true that management consulting provides you with a certain badge of honor that people in later jobs will want

    - Becoming very good at sourcing and collecting massive amounts of data and presenting it in a structured way, even when it's finding the needle in a haystack (and you can't burn the haystack. I've tried)

    - Flat organizational structure. Looking back, I'm pretty amazed that I could basically approach and talk to any of the partners when they were in the office. That doesn't always happen at larger consultancies

    - Exit opportunities into strategy in pharma, life sciences, private equity

    - Frequent feedback opportunities - at the end of every case, and every 6 months. Informal feedback opportunities from your mentor. I'm lucky now at a corporate job to get a formal review every 6 months

    - GREAT coworkers. My coworkers kept me sane, especially the associate crowd. It's very collegial, everyone grabs lunch together, people drink together after work, and party together. Lunchtime was protected in the Boston office, which was great. I was roommates with one of the associates in my class.Even years after we've exited I see LEKers meeting each other in cities across the globe and going to each others' weddings. You really bond during the long hours. Overall everyone is very intelligent, social, thoughtful, and value-driven. I think individually, everyone at LEK was great to work with. The negatives about the company are more organizational and market driven, rather than individually driven.

    Cons

    If you want the following, don't come to LEK
    - Work life balance. Actually, don't go into management consulting. Everyone's going to complain about work life balance in the entire industry. This is an industry known for long hours in exchange for a certain skillset

    - Control over the cases you'd like to get on: I was with LEK during some of its worst years. During the big recession, I was lucky I'd entered before, I was staffed, but many associates were not. I was one of the "lucky" ones who was staffed on case after case with no beach time, which meant I always had revenue-generating work, which meant I could build my cred. However, I really wanted to do something other than life sciences / PE, which just doesn't happen in Boston. Given the partner mix, it is understandable. READ the partner bios for the office you are recruiting for. Note their main industries - those are the industries your cases will be in

    - A variety of exit opportunities and robust alumni recruiting. I have several friends who are McKBainBCG and their alumni network is stronger, the job boards are much busier. I have yet to find a single job posted in our alumni board that I would recruit for, so don't have those kind of expectations. Instead, keep in contact with every recruiter who calls your desk and use them for your next, or next next, or next next next opportunity. You will be glad you did. LEK will not ever be a Big 3, keep those expectations in check

    - No travel. You will not be racking up the Starwoods points. Instead you will be working on average 65 - 90 hours at your home office. I have since worked in jobs with a lot of commercial travel and I think travel work sucks, so I preferred being home and being able to give back to my home community. Also, PUSH BACK. Once you've established a good cred in your first two years of work, set your own boundaries. No one else is going to do that for you. I went through a hard my third year. I had built really great relationships with certain consultants and managers who let me take my work home. They trusted me. I don't believe you need to be chained to your desk the entire time, but you might be, in the first two years.

    Other notes...

    - Management will underprice and oversell projects. It sucks.

    - I have had occasions where I worked with consultants who just did not know how to scope work, and the bad consultants get pushed out pretty quickly. I did wish that LEK had more of the McK model where first year post-MBAs with no prior consulting experience do the same work as post-BA associates. Projects where there is only one first year consultant tend to be less balanced

    - There's cold calling and lots of stupid slide creation. Where the Big 3 hire others to do the cold calling and slide creation, you have to do it yourself as an associate. And printing. My most wonderful memory is standing by our production printers at 4AM in the morning making packs. I hated binding.

    - If you don't like iterative work, don't go into consulting. if you don't like "massaging" words and data, don't go into consulting. If you have really needy significant others who want to see you all the time, don't go into consulting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be equitable. During the recession consultants still could get bonuses, but associates could not. It caused a lot of resentful. if people have to suffer, everyone should suffer equally.

    Recommends
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great exit opportunities, but very difficult hours and working environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at L.E.K. Consulting full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I really loved the associates I got to work with at L.E.K. Everyone is smart, driven, and friendly. I was able to build up some of my technical skills very quickly at L.E.K. and I've developed several good habits that have helped me succeed in my new role. The SF office is relatively small, so I got a chance to get to know everyone in the office fairly well.

    Cons

    As everyone has mentioned, the hours can be very bad depending on what case you are on. The SF office tends to have many due diligence cases, which means you can expect to work at least 70 hours a week, with the potential for weekend work. The company as a whole has some serious flaws. Associates have virtually no say on what types of cases they are put on. Middle and senior management have very little regard for the personal and professional goals of associates. L.E.K. would rather hire new associates than focus on retaining the ones it already has.

    The SF office can be very political as well. Some VPs tend to choose favorites, which can be very frustrating to the rest of the office.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent. Listen to your employees and consider the long-term benefits of improving work-life balance, case allocation, and overall management. L.E.K. is not going to become a top consulting firm by creating so many dissatisfied employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Unsurpassed access to innovative biotech companies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Life Science Specialist
    Current Employee - Life Science Specialist

    I have been working at L.E.K. Consulting full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    As a life science PhD entering into consulting, you'd be hard-pressed to find a substantially better opportunity than L.E.K., which punches above its weight class in the biotech, diagnostics, and increasingly pharmaceutical spaces. And given that biotech is increasingly the engine driving pharmaceutical innovation, the importance of having exposure to innovative companies in this industry is becoming even more magnified.

    Cons

    -Low degree of autonomy when first starting out (probably similar across firms, though).

    -Starting salary is slightly lower (5-15%) than McBain Group (but still more than comfortable), although responsibilities are similar (keep in mind LEK Consultant is more akin to McKinsey Engagement Manager).

    -Comparatively less client exposure (more work done in the office as opposed to on site)---however the flip side is that it decreases the time spent eating peanuts with zero legroom.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase awareness of L.E.K.---clients are already highly satisfied with our work (particularly with respect to some competitors)---but few seem to know. Also, emphasize our competitive strengths:

    -working a bit leaner / smarter

    -access to small / medium clients in addition to the large ones

    -a continued focus on strategy at a time when other firms have turned more to operational projects

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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