Day in the Life: Inside a Life Sciences Consulting Case

by Phil Stott | October 03, 2011

  • My Vault

The Project:  L.E.K. Consulting is supporting a diagnostics company in developing a strategic plan for its business over the next five to ten years.  The client wanted to understand the market opportunity for its key products, with a particular focus in targeted global markets.  During the course of six weeks, nine L.E.K. workers - two partners, one manager, three Life Sciences specialists and three associates - across four offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris and Milan, will work hard to help the client find the best path forward for its business.

Sarah O., a Sr. Life Sciences Specialist, is named the day-to-day project leader. Her Day in the Life takes place about a week before the interim presentation to the client.

8:30 a.m.: Stop by the coffee maker, then check email.  Send out team goals for the day – need to finalize the first draft of the interim presentation by the end of the day tomorrow to start getting VP input before next week’s meeting.

9:00 a.m.: Jump on a conference line with the EU team to catch up on the latest physician interview findings.  Compare notes to the U.S. interview campaign.  Make a note to highlight key differences among the various geographies at the case team meeting.

11:00 a.m.: Interview a key opinion leader at a major academic medical center with another LSS (an MD) to discuss key product features, assess unmet needs and explore market opportunities.  Our educational backgrounds were perfect for this discussion – between an MD and a PhD, we were able to get to the bottom of both the technical issues around our client’s key products as well as the product’s likely impact on a hospital’s standard of care.

12:30 p.m.: Grab lunch with my San Francisco officemates.  Whine about how the 49ers are looking this year.

1:30 p.m.: Hold a case team meeting to discuss team progress, highlight key findings to the partners, and agree upon which analyses best supports our points and should be included in the final slides for the client meeting next week.  Email the EU team with highlights from the meeting, and include questions and notes from the partners.

2:30 p.m.: Work with team on dividing and conquering the slides to be finished by the end of the day.

3:00 p.m.: Finish a draft of the customer interview guide for Phase II of the project, which will begin after the interim presentation next week.  Email my manager to set up a time to review.

4:30 p.m.: Review slide production from team and send through edits – we need to get the draft fully polished before the VPs see it!

5:00 p.m.: Go through the manager’s feedback on the customer interview guide.  Incorporate revisions and share with team.

7:30 p.m.: Grab dinner with the team.  Discuss final goals for the evening and review the progress on meeting goals for the week.

9:30 p.m.: Consolidate finished slides.  Send it through to the manager for feedback and head home. 

Final Notes:

Since a project leader is typically a Consultant at L.E.K., this project represented a big step up into major management responsibility for me.

The examples above give a sense of the many “moving parts” typical to an L.E.K. team. Team members often work independently--by conducting interviews, gathering secondary research and analyzing their data--but they also must work together to understand how the key findings contribute to the overall “answer” for the client. It's these cycles of independent and team-focused work that ultimately roll up into full presentations and detailed financial models, which are the final deliverables for the client.

This post was adapted from L.E.K. Consulting’s L.E.K. Advisor blog, which is an interactive resource for undergraduate, MBA and PhD candidates interested in pursuing a career in management consulting. The L.E.K. Advisor acts as a voice for the L.E.K. brand and also features contributions from L.E.K. employees who share their “real-world” perspectives about the management consulting industry and life inside L.E.K. Check it out at http://ask.lek.com/.

To learn more about the firm, also check out Vault's L.E.K. Consulting profile.

Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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