The traits L.E.K. most values in its graduate employees are:
- outstanding academic achievement
- analytical ability
- collaborative approach
- intellectual curiousity
- ability to make an impact through proactivity.
It is worth bearing these in mind when applying for a graduate associate role at L.E.K. If you have experience of working in a team, perhaps from fundraising projects or college sports, you can use this to demonstrate that you are capable of a ‘collaborative’ approach. Others, such as ‘make an impact’, may prove more difficult; it doesn’t mean being bossy. If you’ve had a particular idea when working on a group project, you can talk about how you proposed, followed through with and implemented this initiative. The focus in most of your examples should be on what you, personally, have contributed and achieved.
Show L.E.K. that you share its values
You might be attracted by the fact that L.E.K. was the first carbon-neutral global management consulting form across all its operations and, crucially, that the firm maintains its dedication to carbon neutrality on a global basis). Alternatively, are you particularly impressed by its range of community support programmes, including a focus on social mobility and education? How about its Women’s Network, designed to encourage and support female leaders within the firm? There should be at least one way in which L.E.K.’s values align with yours; you can draw on this in your application, preferably backed up with an example of past actions and activities that demonstrate this.
Prove you know what working at L.E.K. is about
L.E.K. is a strategy consulting firm and the emphasis of its work is therefore on solving issues rather than implementing the solutions. Make sure you are familiar with the tasks an associate might perform, which according to the firm’s literature are: conducting primary and secondary research on markets, competitors and customers; performing rigorous analysis to pinpoint appropriate, practical recommendations for clients and collaborating with team members to transform research and analysis into thoughtful insights that deliver maximum impact for clients.
The firm is very proud of its formal professional development programme. Spend some time reading about this on its website, so you can talk about it. L.E.K. boasts, for example that that the training associates receive ‘covers many of the topics you would learn at a top MBA programme’. L.E.K. also runs an international office swap programme, through which employees can spend six months working in one of L.E.K.’s offices in another country.
At L.E.K. the case duration is shorter than the industry average, so if you are keen on variety then this might be something to pick up on; you can expect a reasonably fast turnover of projects and the chance to work with many different sectors.
The firm’s website has a great advisor blog ('The L.E.K. Advisor'), which can give you a good insight into the culture of the firm.
Demonstrate your extracurricular side
L.E.K. recruiters are very keen to know what you’ve done outside your studies. As well as identifying academic achievements and work experience, your CV is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate pursuits outside your degree. Ensure you highlight these key achievements, placing particular emphasis on those that identify skills transferable to the workplace. Keep the description brief, whilst ensuring you identify your role, the skills you developed and the outcomes achieved. Collectively, extracurricular activities demonstrate time management skills – juggling a busy academic schedule along with other commitments – and provide evidence of your reliability and proactivity.
The L.E.K. case study interview
The L.E.K. website provides three sample case studies for you to practise on, plus 16 (at the time of writing) videos offering interview tips. At L.E.K every interview consists of a case study question and some competency-based questions. Recent interview questions are said to include:
- Can you estimate the size of the t-shirt market in the UK?
- How would you advise a company to cope with recession?
- Can you estimate the US market size for a new pill that cures male baldness?
Candidates are assessed on how creatively they approach a business problem, their ability to draw on related knowledge and experience and their quantitative analysis skills. The firm recommends getting familiar with the kind of work that it does, as this will help you anticipate the kinds of questions that will be asked. During the case study questions you should provide commercial justifications for any assumptions you make.
L.E.K. second-round interviews
Also held at the London office, the second round of interviews is conducted by partners. There is the same mix of competency and case questions but with an added emphasis on establishing the candidate's motivation for pursuing a career in consultancy.
Candidates are also asked to prepare and present a short presentation (all instruction & preparation is carried out on the day of the assessment).