Arushi's journey in the social impact space and her preparation for BCG

After donning numerous hats in the social sector for almost 5 years, Arushi now works as a Senior Knowledge Analyst with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In her interview, she recollects her professional journey and specifically focuses on how she secured a job in the Social Impact practice area of BCG.

First Steps:

Immediately after her graduation in Political Science from Hindu College, she went on to pursue her masters at Sciences Po, Paris. This is where she came across the multitude of opportunities available in the sector. Her mentor’s guidance during her internship with UNESCO gave her the much needed clarity to navigate her way forward. After working for a year as a Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Consultant at UNESCO, she moved back to India.

“I soon realized that you could only do so much while sitting in an office in Paris, hence wanted to see how things worked on the ground. This brought me to NITI Aayog, where I worked at the intersection of Monitoring & Evaluation for programs cutting across domains, right from local to state to central level.”

- Arushi Malhotra, Senior Knowledge Analyst, Boston Consulting Group (BCG). BCG is one of the top consulting firms in the world.

She recalls getting tested for her M&E skills (e.g.: how do you measure the success of a household electricity intervention) through a few case studies and guesstimate questions for her interviews, while she was a NITI Young Professional candidate.

Extremely passionate about gender, she moved to Global Health Strategies (GHS) where she ventured into program design across domains like gender and public health. Following that, she finally moved to BCG.

The Preparation & Process:

Across all her interviews, what worked for her the best was gaining good insights beforehand about topics relevant to both the culture and work streams of the concerned organizations. She recalls looking up the SDG indicators for her NITI Aayog preparation since they were working on developing SDG indicators for measuring progress across States during that time. Even for her role at GHS, she read up a lot on laws and acts concerning abortion, as that was one of the core work areas of the organization.

For BCG, despite having enough work experience, she prepared extensively for the role. Following her CV shortlist, she had three rounds of interviews with the Partners where she was questioned about her previous work, along with a few case interviews. While being tested for her problem solving skills, she had to identify a few choices from a range of viable options provided to her. She was also asked to estimate the Pre-School Market in India. Besides that, the questions revolved around specific programs she had worked for, as well as her personal journey in the sector.

“I also think prior experience of working with the government worked in my favor, specifically because NITI Aayog has been BCG’s client for long. So, naturally I was asked a lot of questions about my Young Professional experience.”

In order to ace the interview process, she suggests one to:

Life at BCG:

While BCG hires a lot of MBA graduates for generalist and specialist consulting roles across sectors, she was hired as a Subject Matter Expert for domains like Education, Health & Gender with the social impact team. The generalists generally work in a fast paced environment, where they move from one case to another, cutting across domains.

Arushi Recommends:

For those entering the sector, she suggests one to first identify a few topics of interest like Health, Education, Gender etc. and then look for organizations working in those domains.

“Even if you wish to work with the government, most flagship schemes are run with implementation partners. So, it’s always a good idea to browse through government portals & identify the partner organizations for the programs you’re interested in working for.”

To develop a nuanced understanding, Arushi suggests one to keep looking across channels. From subscribing to newsletters by top development professionals to regularly navigating through numerous websites for staying updated. She suggests one to never be afraid of asking other people for recommendations. She herself is quite active in various social impact groups. Another great avenue to develop deep knowledge expertise is the collection of various reports published by international organizations like the UN, World Bank etc. She also considers writing & Power Point skills to be saviors in consulting.

“If you can write well, it tells people that you can structure your thoughts properly, and that’s extremely valued in consulting. If you do have prior experience in writing, please advertise that wholeheartedly!”

With all these insights, Arushi still does believe that one needs to put in their own hard work and undertake their own research to understand what may or may not work for them. She suggests that one may keep looking at different Ministry websites and other recruitment websites.

“Keep your eyes open for the recruitment period.”

PS: Arushi will be happy to guide young aspirants to navigate through their social impact careers. Reach out to us on our LinkedIn page to get in touch with her.

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