For the love of due diligence
LEK sits comfortably within the “Tier 2” classification of strategy consulting firms in Australia and worldwide. LEK was founded in London in 1983 by three partners from Bain. Since then, it has grown into a global firm with 20 offices around the world. LEK currently only have two offices in Australia – Sydney and Melbourne. These offices have 13 partners and approximately 100 staff. So not a big shop by any means, but still a sizeable presence.
The firm is traditionally known for its private equity strength and healthcare work, and has a reputation as a “boutique firm specialising in strategy and due diligence”. Whilst its reputation languishes in the face of MBB (and they are indeed in very different boats), it nevertheless is held in high regard by the market. As mentioned, LEK is a solid “Tier 2” firm with the prestige that comes part and parcel of being a well-recognised global brand.
LEK consultants can expect to do strategy work and due diligences (with the latter being less popular and more voluminous we suspect, for those crazy people who love due diligence). A lot of the work we have heard relates to mid or upper-mid market PE deals, which whilst complex, is typically also high-pressure and demanding. In that sense, the churning through of due diligence can sometimes make you feel like you’re in a bit of a sweatshop (but show us a place that doesn’t!) On the bright side, all this is great experience and LEK does provide its consultants with ample access to executives and other C-suite clients no matter the work, and as you would expect. The work quality and exposure to complex commercial issues at LEK therefore remains superb and will no doubt open doors for you down your career track.
We are told that LEK embodies a culture of “work hard, play hard”, and that people at the firm are generally “nice, down to earth with no egos”. LEK also provides a number of social events over the year so socialising with teammates is a big part of the LEK lifestyle. Additionally, despite only having a Sydney and Melbourne office, you’ve told us that there are many people from inter-state/overseas that you work with here, which adds to the diversity of the firm hires.
LEK remuneration is generally on par or just under MBB (at least at the associate level). Check out our remuneration guides for guidelines as to what you might expect in this market. Whilst you will be working hard here, you do not need to be worried about being paid below market rates. As for the actual hours? You’ve told us that for strategy cases, you can expect a working day of 9am – 7pm (with an earlier finish on Friday), whilst for due diligence, this might be longer – with a typical day being 9am – 10/11pm (with an earlier finish on Friday). The saving grace for this is that you very rarely will be expected to work weekends.
As you would expect from a firm like LEK, you will get good support from your seniors. However, most of the training will be on the job, and so (like many other firms), be sure to ask questions frequently and absorb everything thrown at you, so that you end up swimming rather than sinking.