Alumni Spotlight: Brian Louie MBA’17, MPP’17

At the BIP Lab, our main goal is to understand parental decision-making. Information is power, and learning about someone else’s personal experience can be particularly helpful when making decisions for your career. In our “Alumni Spotlight” interview series, we sit down with former students and staff to learn what drives them, what they liked about working at the BIP Lab, and where they are now. 

This time we chatted with former BIP Lab alumnus, Brian Louie. As a former teacher, he’s a natural problem solver and strives to make an impact wherever he can. Louie currently works as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. 

BIP Lab: What drew you to work at the BIP Lab?

Louie: I’ve always believed that early childhood literacy is key to improving educational (and, more broadly, life) outcomes. The work at the BIP Lab was especially exciting because it represented a realistic opportunity for me to move the needle. Behavioral interventions are easy to execute, low in cost, and light in touch, proving that they could be effective could have huge implications. 

BIP Lab: What is one of your favorite memories of the BIP Lab?

Louie: I miss the drives out to Head Start facilities in the middle of winter, interacting with parents of young children, and training them to use the tools we were providing them. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the most powerful research insights come not from ivory towers, but from conversations with the very folks whose lives you’re trying to improve.

BIP Lab: What are you doing now?

Louie: I’m an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. I primarily serve public and social sector institutions (e.g., nonprofits, state governments).

BIP Lab: How did you become interested in your field?

Louie: As a teacher, I’m passionate about education, but I found myself constantly frustrated by the lack of impact. Consulting is, if nothing else, the occupation of solving difficult problems. I felt that if I could learn to become a more effective problem solver, then I could eventually apply that skill set to solving educational inequity, one of the most challenging problems we face in this country.

BIP Lab: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Louie:  I started the debate team at the school where I taught several years ago. To this day, I like to think that I taught my students to think critically and to advocate for themselves.

BIP Lab: What advice would you give to other students who aspire to follow a similar career path?     

Louie: Prep for your interviews—both the behavioral and the case sections—and have a sharp rationale for your desire to work in consulting. The former is about maximizing your chances of landing an offer, the latter is about ensuring you’re making the right call for yourself. Consulting offers are not only incredible opportunities, but also incredible challenges, so it helps to know what you’re getting yourself into!

BIP Lab: What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

Louie: Reading, eating, hanging out with friends.