Cohort Spotlight: Operations
Meet the cohort that embodies the phrase “team work makes the dream work” and enables BCGDV to build industry-changing businesses
Operations team members act as the glue that binds the cohorts together, and ensure that BCG Digital Ventures can build and launch breakthrough digital businesses that disrupt markets.
Building innovative ventures with the world’s leading companies takes a wide spectrum of skills, alongside a spirit of collaboration and experimentation. At BCG Digital Ventures we cover all bases of venture building, from the initial idea to testing and validation to building the product, finding users, and launching it into the world.
This takes experts from all fields. In this series, we’re introducing you to each of our 8 cohorts, showcasing their approach, the role they play in building a venture, how they work together, and the skills that are required to succeed as we build businesses with groundbreaking impact. For this edition of the cohort series, we’re looking at Operations.
At BCGDV, our operations team designs tools and processes to enable the flow of information between cohorts and ventures. From human resources and information technology to marketing and finance, this highly collaborative cohort is the internal force that drives us forward. They are the gatekeepers and the builders, forming the backbone of venture building and ensuring the best teams are assembled to deliver the best outcomes for our clients.
Vic Lubomski, Director of Business Operations at BCGDV explains that this cohort enables BCGDV to deliver the best work possible: “We clear roadblocks and we open runways.” Senior Staffing Specialist Camilla Gaskell takes a slightly different approach, likening what she does on a daily basis to solving a jigsaw puzzle: “The Operations cohort identifies the right puzzle pieces and slots the right people into the roles, in order to create the best team for a venture,” she explains.
Venture Support Specialist Inge Frey describes her role as a “Jill-of-all-trades ensuring that the various venture dots are all connected.” This applies to everything from onboarding new team members and managing team health, to ensuring smooth engagement between BCGDV and the client. Inge’s career trajectory also highlights Operations’ high-growth environment: she started as an Office Services Assistant in the Manhattan Beach office and is now a Venture Support Specialist in the Berlin office a few years later.
The Operations cohort is fundamentally responsible for keeping the show on the road, which means going hand-in-hand with the venture through its entire lifespan and tapping into the right talent and expertise during critical junctures of the venture building process. Explaining why this cohort is so critical to the overall success of BCGDV beyond venture building, Global Knowledge Manager Cristian Young simply says “we’re the lifeblood of the business! We don’t just keep the lights on, but we also ensure BCGDV is a great place to work.”
In terms of the role that the Operations cohort specifically plays in venture building, Cristian says Operations helps each venture build “to be smarter than the last.” He explains that at BCGDV, “unlike a startup in the wild, our venture teams benefit from our long history of venture building. The Operations cohort leverages this intelligence and helps our teams to build smarter ventures.” Elaborating on the value add of Operations, Vic notes the neutral and supportive function that ops specialists often assume in supporting the other cohorts, saying “as people get incredibly deep in venture building, Ops can help bring a broader perspective.”
To succeed in Operations, Cristian explains that you must be collaborative and “have a really high capacity for change — you have to be able to embrace the fact that each iteration of a process can look very different.” The Operations team thrives off the ability to address pain points and find workable solutions. “Operations people need to have an incredible curiosity,” agrees Vic, “but sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel — it might just need a small tweak. A curiosity for always optimizing processes is essential.”
All team members agree that the combination of curiosity, a process-driven mindset, and people skills is what ultimately sets a good Operations specialist apart. “You can’t just work behind a computer and play along in a spreadsheet — you need to deeply understand people and what they care about,” explains Vic. Operations is also unique in that its interaction with other cohorts is key to the success of BCGDV as a whole; ops has to keep a pulse with all of the cohorts to understand their needs and figure out the pathway to get to the final product.
In terms of the typical career path for an ops specialist, Inge says “the word ‘typical’ doesn’t really exist in the BCGDV vocabulary — each role is what you make of it, and that’s the beauty of the culture here.” Camilla highlights her own background as an estate agent, noting that there are a lot of transferable skills that will facilitate a transition into Operations work; however, she returns to those key qualities — being a people person and a creative problem solver — as key to success in this cohort. Her favorite thing about being part of BCGDV Operations is “how everyone really comes together and supports one another.” To borrow an old cliche, in the world of Operations, teamwork really does “make the dream work” as it helps our Digital Ventures come to fruition and become a reality.
Much as the typical career path is anything but typical, our Operations cohort also rejects the idea of a “typical” working day. Camilla emphasizes that no two days are the same at BCGDV in general, but especially in Operations, and Cristian echoes this rejection of the “typical” — “Today, my day started with a conversation with someone in Israel and it will end with someone in Tokyo — and that’s what I love about it.”