Interview with Alumni: Adam Ge’19 shares his experience in PA consulting group
“Interview with International Alumni” is a new program consisting of a series of interviews conducted by the Babson Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) and members of the Undergraduate Center for Career Development. This program will invite several international alumni to share their work experiences and career paths.
Graduation Year: 2019
Concentration: Business Management
About: I have worked at a variety of companies to expand my understanding of different industries and job requirements. My previous experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers taught me the importance of working in an environment with a strong company culture. I had the chance to work closely with clients when preparing a variety of state and federal tax returns. In 2017, I worked at Fresenius Medical Care North America where I learned the value of working in a small, but efficient team. I enjoyed interviewing experienced company leaders and writing articles about their past accomplishments for the FMCNA intranet. Through these experiences, I developed an interest in Biotech and client-facing work. As a result, I am excited to be working as an Analyst at PA Consulting where I can use my analytical mindset and technical expertise to recommend actions for global leading healthcare and life science organizations. I have worked on a variety of projects involving operating models, data analysis, and M&A. Overall, I bring a strong technical skillset to the table by developing financial models and cost optimization algorithms. I look forward to opportunities to present my findings and bring value to the client.
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-ge/
PA consulting | Full Time
- Analyst, Sep 2019 – Present
Babson College Math Resource Center | Part-Time
- Mathematic Consultant, Sep 2016 – May 2019
PWC | Intern
- Private Company Services Advisory Tax Intern, Jun 2018 – Aug 2018
Fresenius Medical Care North America | Intern
Corporate Communication Intern, Jun 2017 – Aug 2017
Q: Perceiving the diversity of your career path, how did you get this job?
A: For most consulting firms including PA, a big part of getting the job is the interview stage. Specifically for consulting, one has to practice for case interviews, which really shows one’s critical thinking. For PA, we are okay with hiring people with diverse experiences as long as they can show that they have a diverse skill set. I usually work in teams where there are specific members dedicated to certain activities. For example, I work with people who had PhDs and know exactly how a medical product works. But the team would also need someone who understands marketing operations. From this, we know that every background can provide something to the team. Overall, the interview is about how to frame yourself, and how you show that you can work well with other people. It is really important to see if you are a good fit to the company rather than one particular skill because many skills can be learned over time. You don’t necessarily need to have a lot of consulting background, but the interview stage is really important for whether you get the job.
Q: What do you think students have to prepare to get into the consulting field?
A: In general, for every consulting firm, you want to have something to show that you are interested in the field. It could be consulting clubs, or case competitions. But it really depends on what part of the consulting field you want to be in. It helps if you know about the field you are entering in consulting. For PA right now, we are expanding on life sciences and health care, so for applicants, it would be helpful if they have some relevant industry experience. For me, I worked at a leading provider for kidney dialysis in the US. They have about fifty thousand employees across the US and that was a big part of my resume. If you are just considering general management consulting, then you just have to show your interest in it. Of course, prior work experiences in consulting are always helpful.
Q: What did you use to prepare the case study?
A: The only case prep book I used was “Case in Point”. I would also recommend that you practice case interviews with classmates who are also applying for consulting firms.
Q: What do you think are the reasons PA chose you over others?
A: Honestly, it’s just the case interview. As I mentioned before, case interviews are a big part of job recruiting. During the interview, they would look at how well structured your answer is, how prepared you are, and whether you have a lot of general knowledge. I have seen some really qualified applicants, but they didn’t perform well during the interview. For example, we interviewed a girl whose resume was amazing. We asked her how many light bulbs are in the US. Her answer was way off the mark when she said the US only has one million people (lack of general knowledge), and she assumed one light bulb for each person so there are about one million light bulbs in the US. In this scenario, an ideal candidate should first ask clarifying questions (e.g. are we talking about all kinds of lightbulbs or just the household standard?). Then, a strong candidate would structure their answers to include homes, businesses (offices), industrial (parking facilities, warehouses, etc.), and other categories. Then the candidate can start calculations for each lightbulb (e.g. there are ~320M people in the US, at an average of 3.2 people per household that’s ~100M homes. Assuming the average home has 20 lightbulbs, that’s ~2 billion bulbs for households. Then the candidate can move on to the other categories). As you can see, a case interview is a great exercise for companies to see if your critical thinking skills and methodology are up to par.
The other part of this is that you really need to build connections with recruiters and with consultants from your schools. When I was at school, Babson and PA had pretty good connections. And PA would send recruiters to school over time to remember the faces. For example, last year we hired a Babson student over several Master and PHD candidates. She was in all PA events on Campus and had great conversations with everyone on the team.
Q: Can you share some interesting aspects of what you are doing right now?
A: In the consulting field, you get to work with a variety of people like your team and the clients and you get to involve in a lot of different activities. This is a unique blessing of consulting because you probably won’t have many chances to have a variety of experiences if you work in other fields. Usually it’s your decision of what field you want to work in and then you apply to the job in this field. It is a great chance for you to explore your interest. Personally, for me, I am initially more into data analysis, and it becomes a big part of what I am working on. Eventually, I just get more projects in the area of data analysis. Also, I have a business background, so I get to work on other cases about designing and selling. Aside from the working aspect, you get to be in a community. For me I work in PA Boston, which is a relatively small office and I get to build close connections with people in PA. I used to grab coffee with my manager every week and we have a really good connection. I know that if I want to apply for graduate school he would be a good recommendation. PA is also really open-minded and positive. We are mainly an international firm, so I get to travel a lot and work with people in a lot of different countries.
The last thing that I think people benefit from being in the consulting field is you get a lot of unseen benefits. For example, before covid, most consultants fly several times a month, which allows you to accumulate airline points or credit card points. I know of co-workers who earned 10K+ in benefits just from all these hotel/airline loyalty programs. There are also other great opportunities such as when you get to enjoy dinner with a client (great for connections).
Q: What is one case that you remember the most?
A: I recently worked on a customer service project for one company. The client is a well-known company in the life sciences industry who specializes in diabetic medications. A lot of these companies rarely need to innovate because they provide vital products for the economy (e.g. some companies earn billions just from selling Advil). In the case that I worked at, the company was working on a smart device that pumps insulin every so often based on your diet, lifestyles and other things. Usually, it is a pump you see people wearing on their belt on the side of the body like a little box.
My client’s new smart device would be able to connect with your cellphone and send diagnostics to your healthcare provider (this would be the most advanced product in the market). We had to work with their entire customer services department to see what they need to do or who they need to hire, or how they could restructure. As they only sold insulin before and now they are selling some high tech devices, the customers who call in would have questions that are more difficult to answer. For example, before they start to sell the device, all they have to answer is probably someone called in and asked what to do if they left their insulin outside the refrigerator all night. Now they are getting questions like how to use the Bluetooth, or what to do if the Bluetooth is not functioning. We had to rebuild based on every use case and go from there.