Elisa MacColl ’16 will take her biology background to Boston management consulting firm L.E.K. in September where she will combine her science research experience with business. MacColl was valedictorian of the Class of 2016.
She described her professional path as having happened in stages. MacColl took a cellular neurobiology class with Professor Herm Lehman in 2013 which led to an internship at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in 2014. Also in 2014, MacColl was selected as a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater is the premier national undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.
Her path continued the summer after her junior year when MacColl conducted research at a pharmaceutical company; then in 2015 a paper she wrote with Dr. Raouf A. Khalil, her mentor at BWH, was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
L.E.K. appealed to her because it will allow her to be “on the other side” of the lab research with which she has so much experience. “I’m still dealing with lab stuff, but I get the chance to go in as a generalist and learn about all these different industries,” MacColl said.
In her role, MacColl will meet with CEOs and executives and problem-solve for companies in all kinds of industries. About half of the companies L.E.K. serves are biotech or pharmaceutical companies and the other half are related to the travel industry. “A great thing about consulting is that you learn about so many different industries even ones you might never have heard of before,” she observed.
MacColl said she was drawn to working in consulting because she will be thinking on her feet and have the opportunity to learn.
“I wasn’t sold on the idea of going to grad school next year,” she said. “I signed [at L.E.K.] for two years, then I can reevaluate and decide whether to stay or go to business school or pursue a Ph.D. What I learn at L.E.K. will help me tie it together and complete the picture.”