My biggest learning during my time at BCG was not problem-solving or structured thinking, as important as these skills are.
The most important takeaway was how people treated me- right from the Asia Pacific Chairman, to the partner on the case to a consultant who was my team member.
Before my MBA, I had led talented teams for the Government of India and a boutique consulting firm. On most days, I would witness stark differences in people's behaviors across the organization.
And, post my MBA, when I joined BCG as a senior associate, I initially felt intimidated by the fear of becoming a cog in the larger global wheel.
However in true honesty, I was amazed how BCG maintained a culture of respect across geographies and that too in such stressful work environments. Being even at the bottom of the pyramid for the first time in my life taught and inspired me to build processes and cultures which are top-down and most importantly consistent across.
While the entire experience was humbling. It taught me the value of respecting people and their efforts for as small as requesting data. I learned to hustle at the same time ensuring that everyone around me felt safe and respectful.
Before my BCG experience, I was more used to categorizing people as performers and nonperformers. But now I see people first as humans with both their baggage and strengths attached.
In true honesty, I don't think I necessarily enjoy being part of large organizations, but working for a large organization such as the like of BCG has been extremely valuable, no matter how unsettling the experience was. I believe our learning happens in the most unsettling and uncomfortable zones.
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Author- Shatakshi Sharma, Cofounder Global Governance Initiative, Ex- BCG, Advisor, Tony Blair Institute