Project Lead Spotlight: Jaime Garcia Gonzalez
Born and raised in Spain, Jaime Garcia Gonzalez served as a 2019 Project Lead for The Beacon Fellowship in Madrid. Before beginning his MBA program at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Jaime held multiple consulting roles in Madrid and Barcelona, most recently at BCG. He has worked in the travel, tourism, energy and industrial goods sectors dealing with revenue management, operations, cascading, M&A and more. Here, he reflects on The Beacon Fellowship and his experience as a Project Lead.
What were your initial impressions of The Beacon Fellowship?
The first time I heard about Beacon I wished that I had had the opportunity to be a Beacon Fellow, because it gives a very good understanding of consulting work. While I was going through the recruiting and application process for management consulting firms, I felt a bit lonely and I needed more information. I think the Beacon Fellowship experience would have been super valuable for me.
What makes The Beacon Fellowship unique?
I think there are mainly three things that make it unique. One is that the cohort of people who come here are very motivated and like-minded students. All of them are eager to know more about the consulting world, and what it is like to work as a consultant and deliver high impact projects. The second thing is that the specific focus of the program is on consulting, so we not only work for a client and deliver valuable insights, but we also have internal trainings related to very important consulting skills like problem solving, data analysis and communications. The third thing that makes The Beacon Fellowship unique is that the Project Leads are all former consultants and most of them are MBA students or graduates. So I think that's also very important because it provides Fellows with an insider view of the industry.
Explain the work you are doing with the client.
I had a group of 20 fellows that I divided into four teams of five. We worked on four independent projects for a ride sharing company based in Madrid, Spain. One of those projects was related to rider retention, another to communication strategy, a third to partner operations and the fourth to international expansion.
How do you go about leading the Fellows?
My role is like a coach. The Fellows are responsible to deliver their projects; they are autonomous and work independently. I help them structure the problem solving process and create powerful presentations, and I teach them how to use excel and some other advanced data analytics tools. I also solve their doubts related to consulting or client interactions.
It has been a very powerful learning experience for me. It's my first time managing a team of this many people and there are a lot of things I have to take into account. It's going to help me a lot when I go back to work after finishing my MBA.
How are you preparing the Fellows for their future careers?
Mostly through problem solving and communication. We are teaching them a lot of Excel and data analysis, as well as how to structure problem solving and how to distill insights from the analyses they are performing. Most importantly, they are becoming proactive professionals and independent workers who are able to run their own projects.
How have you seen the Fellows grow through this experience?
At the beginning, I saw that most of the Fellows were relying a lot on me and my guidance. By the end, they were working autonomously and proposing the analyses that were coming next. They also distilled the conclusions and recommendations from that analysis. I was impressed to see that kind of growth in only four weeks.
Do you think the Fellows are better prepared for the business world?
Yes. They've learned what real-world work looks like and they better understand the kinds of things that our client is doing day to day. They also understand what we do in the consulting world, and they have learned several very important tools.
What would you say to a student considering The Beacon Fellowship?
I think this experience is like an intensive course on what consulting is like. This should help students understand whether consulting is for them or not. If they already know they want to pursue consulting, The Beacon Fellowship is going to give them an insider perspective. They will be able to be better prepared for the recruiting process.