Dr Hong Sheng Lim – Consultant at Boston Consulting Group

Briefly outline your career so far…

After being an undergraduate at Cambridge and then obtaining my PhD from Oxford, I decided to do a short postdoc before moving into consulting.  I’m now a Project Leader in the Boston Consulting Group.  As a consultant, I work alongside companies solving unique business challenges and executing value-creation opportunities that result in long lasting impact.

What led you to a career in management consultancy?

People venture into management consulting for all sorts of reasons.  The reasons that resonated most strongly for me (and still do!) when I decided to join consulting are:

  1. To gain exposure to the wider universe beyond academia.  Consulting offers a chance to work on pertinent challenges in both public and private sectors
  2. To develop skillsets and knowledge for value creation to drive to impact (e.g. problem solving, communication skills etc)
  3. To travel, learn and be exposed to different cultures and work ethics across the world.

Do you feel as though your postgraduate degree has provided you with skills and expertise you now use in your current profession that you otherwise would not have developed?  If so, what are they? 

Scientists are rigorously trained in the ‘Hypothesis-testing’ approach, which is invaluable in the day-to-day job of a consultant.  Formulating hypotheses around a problem statement helps anchor and prioritise the team’s effort on the right sets of analysis (or experiments) in order to prove or disprove any given belief.  This approach and mentality comes as a second nature for most lab-trained scientists.

Do you think scientists have an ‘edge’ that means they are particularly employable and/or sought after in your profession?

Absolutely!  Management consulting firms are placing a greater emphasis on advanced degree hires.