In this 3rd installment in our series with Bates White, Katie Luker (Principal) shares a recent client case the firm consulted on. It’s a really clear look into the kind of work economic consultants do – and will help determine if the field is right for you!
The discussion reveals:
- What the heck economic consultants do
- Bates White’s approach to engagements
- How Bates White gathers and analyzes data
- The “definitional analysis” Bates White does
- Inside the cross-functional collaboration in the Bates White team room
- Career advice
Bates White is currently hiring – if you get excited about data, a role with Bates White may be just perfect for you (links below)!
Connect with Bates White:
- Explore careers at Bates White
- Follow Bates White on LinkedIn
- Contact Bates White: [email protected]
- Listen to episode #1 in this series (Partner Scott Weishaar)
- Listen to episode #2 in this series (Manager Amelia Irvine)
Other Links From This Podcast:
- Join Strategy Sprint virtual consulting project (Nov 4-10)
Hey Strategy Simplified. We’re back with part 3 in our series with Bates White, the economic consulting firm based in the Northeast United States. Bates White is a firm that is actively hiring. So if looking at and analyzing data gets you out of bed in the morning, you may be a perfect fit. In this episode, Jenny Rae chats with Katie Luker, a Bates White principle about a recent client case study that from conducted. It’s a really unique, fast paced and interesting case. I know you’ll enjoy it. If you haven’t already checked out the previous two episodes, check out the links in the show notes for those. Without further ado let’s get into this Bates White case study.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 00:44
Catherine or otherwise known to as Katie Luker specializes in leading teams that analyze large complex datasets on issues associated with class certification, liability, causation and damages. Her expertise includes applying economic analysis in false claims act or FCA, employment Retirement Income, Security Act, ERISA, antitrust and chapter 11 Bankruptcy matters.
These cases often require analysis of claims data, and internal company databases such as prescription sales, products performance and billing data. She works with counsel through all stages of litigation, including trials, government investigations and settlement discussions. In addition, Ms. Luker holds a BS in economics from the George Washington University. I’m really excited Katie to welcome you today to Strategy Simplified, thanks so much for joining us.
Bates White: Katie Luker 01:38
Thanks. I’m excited to be here.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 01:40
For folks who haven’t caught the previous two episodes in the series and who couldn’t interpret it through everything that I just hopefully articulately and probably mispronouncing it. In your bio, can you just quickly introduce Bates White for our audience? Before we dive into the specifics case studies today?
Bates White: Katie Luker 02:01
Sure, and no worries that bio of mine does have a lot of jargon baked into it. So I would not blame anybody if they weren’t able to succinctly say what Bates White did after hearing that. What we do at Bates White boils down to us providing complex data analyses for our clients. We’re an economic consulting firm and we typically work with lawyers, or on behalf of fortune 500 companies, government agencies, often in the litigation setting. And what we’re doing is providing the service of robust data analyses, econometrics, etc, to help develop that narrative and help our clients understand their position and what’s going on in a specific matter.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 02:45
Amazing. Well, we’re really excited today to jump into a case study with you. One thing that I found was that people told me what consulting was and then when I walked through an actual case study, it was like, “oh, right, that’s what they do”. This is super helpful. I can honestly tell you that it was probably two years into my time at Bain, that I figured out that economic consulting served lawyers primarily, I thought it served economists, I didn’t know that you were economists serving lawyers. Even the name was a little bit confusing to me. So I’m really excited today to bring that to life for folks. Yeah. So we’re gonna dive into a specific case study today. And I think the first thing we should do is just lay out the background. So can you highlight for us? What was the context? Who was the client? Why did they hire y’all? That’s a really good starting place for everyone.
Bates White: Katie Luker 03:38
This specific case study we’re going to talk about, I’m really excited to talk about a lot of times when I’m discussing my work at Bates White, because it’s in a litigation setting. It’s confidential and not public. But this was a case that was very much in the public eye, our attention was public. So it’s fun that I get to actually lay it out because as you said, it’s easiest to understand what Bates White does when you’re provided with an example.
The matter that we’re going to talk about or that I worked on fairly recently, we worked on behalf of Aero Technologies, which is a subsidiary of the big company 3M, and Aero and 3M were being sued by 230,000 US service members who were alleging that these earplugs that Aero and 3M developed called the Combat Arms earplugs are defective and caused hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus is when you have ringing in your ears. That’s something I learned when working on the case.
The reason that these are called Combat Arms earplugs is not surprisingly, they’re used in combat. And so the intent was that these earplugs provided servicemen and servicewomen with situational awareness that they otherwise wouldn’t have while also protecting their ears because you can imagine that combat is very loud and explosive and can result in hearing loss damage. So that’s the allegations of the case that 3M and Auro had developed these defective earplugs that didn’t actually work. And then as a result, our US servicemen and women had hearing loss because of it, hearing loss and tinnitus. 230,000 claims – it’s a lot. It is actually the biggest MDL in history.
For those that don’t know, I’ll try and not use a ton of jargons, MDL stands for multi district litigation. What that does is it just consolidates a bunch of different claims, under a single litigation for efficiency process. It would be a lot to bring 230,000 cases to trial, I’m not sure that that’s ever been done. So this was all consolidated into a single jurisdiction under an MDL. And so it was really cool that we are working on behalf of these two companies in the largest MDL in history. That’s something that’s fun to say, as a result of it being the largest MDL in history, our client Aero then filed for bankruptcy as a result of the litigation. And so then our work moving forward was to support them in their bankruptcy filing. Such that they could resolve all of this outstanding litigation through the bankruptcy court, rather than going through 230,000 individual trials.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 06:36
Well, I don’t want to have any spoiler alerts about what happened, and how it went. Even though if somebody just right now can’t stand it, you can look up in the news, how everything evolved. But what we really want to dig into is, your participation is public, but your actions are private, right? We don’t know what you’re doing behind the scenes to give this guidance, what somebody who is working with you would actually be doing in order to support a case like this. So I just want to start at the beginning. How do you start? How do you figure out what the first thing is? How do you gather the information that you need? How do you establish the relationship with the client? How many client interfaces do you have? Just give us a sense of what that early project moment feels like?
Bates White: Katie Luker 07:22
Oftentimes I’ll get asked, what is it typical team size? At Bates, White, what’s the scope of our projects, and I always say that it ranges, but also ranges within the duration of our project. So when I first started working on Aero, we just call it Aero for shorthand.
At Bates White, I was previously working in a different practice area. So our work at Bates White is consolidated under different areas. So I was working in a practice area called Life Sciences, which primarily works on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers. I believe, Scott and Amelia, as we talked on prior podcasts, they’re also Life Sciences peeps. But, this practice, that Aero was in is called the mass tort practice that does a lot of chapter 11 Bankruptcy work.
When I first started on the case, there were only about three or four core people working on the case, myself included. Over the course of the matter, it expanded to 12-15, depending on different points in time, and that’s because the scope of what we were doing very much expanded. When we first started out, there’s a lot of unknowns, what data are we going to use to help the client understand the issues? Is there available data, right?
Sometimes in litigation, we get lucky because we get to work with a lot of data that’s produced by each side in discovery, and that can be really helpful. But oftentimes, in the beginning, we’re just working with what’s publicly available to the extent that the client doesn’t have data yet so that we can help provide some answers and some insight into the issues at hand without having data yet. So what data we had transformed over time, and our team grew as we got more data. In the beginning, when it was just me and a few other people, we were working with publicly available data on hearing loss rates, of hearing loss among veterans, really whatever we could find.
At a certain point, we got a lot of data, which is really exciting as someone who works in the data industry. The Department of Defense produced audio grams, which are hearing tests for nearly everybody that was involved in litigation. So we went from having no data or very limited data based on what was publicly available to having almost more data than we knew what to do with at the time.
Our team had to really expand really quickly in order to process and analyze the data. Not only did it expand in terms of numbers, we expanded in terms of the type of people we had working on the project. So we brought in Economists that we have at Bates White to help provide a deeper understanding of the analyses that we were doing, built out the infrastructure of the team or across all levels, brought in more consultants, more people at the management level to help us process and analyze these data. And through that, we were able to provide more and more value and become more and more internal to our clients on the case, because we were now providing them with analyses and an understanding of the data that I’d like to think they wouldn’t be able to do without us.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 10:32
Amazing. All right, and then just in the first week or two of the project, when you said you’re gathering this data, how are you doing it? How do you decide what data you need? How do you optimize for the goals that you have versus the time that you have to spend on it? Are you sitting in a room making a list of the potential data? Are you using 16 data resources? Just what are the actual mechanics of that? That’s what we’re trying to get under the hood on here.
Bates White: Katie Luker 11:02
Yeah, good question. So when it starts out, I like to think that my almost 10 years-ish in this industry gives me some idea of what to think of and what might be helpful. I definitely have public data sources in mind that I’ve relied on time and time again.
The CDC, for example, publishes various survey datasets that talk about the health of people in the US, and that’s really rich data. And then a lot of it is also Googling. That doesn’t sound very sophisticated, but it at least is an important place to start. When you start with Googling, I start by, this case was all about US service, men and women, so looking at, the VA, the department that supports veterans and what publicly available data they have. How are they thinking about hearing loss among their servicemen and women. Going from point A to B to C, to figure out what is available, what’s the information that’s out there, what ground has been covered, what ground hasn’t been covered.
There’s very rare circumstances where I feel like I’ve worked on a case that has zero information about it out there in the universe, it’s just a matter of putting on your sleuthing hat and figuring out where to dig. And a lot of times, it does start with Google combined with the experience that I have.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 12:23
Well, let’s dive in a little bit to the research and analysis your team performs. So you talked already about a little bit about the data collection, but let’s just pinpoint you get 200,000 plus audio grams? In the collection of data where that information was published, what do you do with it next? How do you decide what you’re going to do with it? What tools are you actually using? Is this an Excel function? Are you using advanced statistical analysis? And what were you hunting for? And when did you decide that? Did you start playing with it first, and then decided to start at the beginning? Just tell us a little bit about that analytical process specifically with that data set.
Bates White: Katie Luker 13:05
So the first time we receive any data, the first step is to do some general diagnostics. So just understand what we have, right? Obviously, you could open up a file and see that has a ton of information in it, but how comprehensive is it? How complete is it? Does it have fake names populated throughout? Or do we think it’s real data? These are things you can just assume, because data is messy. And in undergraduate, I often worked with really nice clean data sets that were given to me, but that’s very rarely the case in the consulting world.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 13:36
So true, nothing is more true than what we’re talking about right there. I love it, keep going.
Bates White: Katie Luker 13:42
With that in mind, we rely on a few different statistical software package systems. At Bates White, we use Stata and R, which are our two primary coding languages, for those people that are into code out there.
We relied on Stata in this instance, to process the data, the audiogram data that we received, as well as data that we had on claimant filing. So every single person that had actually filed in the case, we had a record of their filing. So we loaded that information into our statistical software packages, the team developed code to process and standardize the data, which was very clean. I’ll give it that credit, it was very nicely formatted data, which doesn’t always happen. And I think the team was very thankful that it was very clean as well. We loaded that in, processed it, did our data diagnostics, and through that, were able to confirm that we did in fact, have a lot of data, a lot of really helpful data, which is not always the case on our matters.
From there, it became understanding the rate at which we actually saw hearing loss manifest. We have these allegations and oftentimes complaints are written as expected from the perspective of the claimants and our making allegations with regards to the rate of hearing loss and tinnitus that they thought resulted from these products and the defective the defects that they were alleging. But what are the data say about that? What if we apply publicly available hearing loss standards? Because WHO, the CDC, there’s a lot of information out there about what constitutes hearing loss. If we apply that to the data, what does the data say about hearing loss? Are we finding that everyone has significant impairment? And, based on that result, what do we think that means in terms of key strategy? And how can we help work with the lawyers to figure out what our case strategy should be?
So part of it was determining how do we even define or think about hearing loss and tinnitus? Those are two medical diagnoses. How does that manifest in data? How do you understand that especially? We’re not doctors at Bates White, we’re not a medical consulting shop, we are economic consulting. So a lot of it was getting up to speed on what the different standards out there were for how to diagnose, or not even diagnose, think about hearing loss as it would manifest an audiogram data. And then from there helping our client understand what those results for and how we should move forward based on those.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 16:18
What kind of insights did you uncover? And can you share a little bit about, especially now that this is a public process about what you found? What were insights that you uncovered that were helpful for them?
Bates White: Katie Luker 16:30
I think the main thing that we found that was helpful is that when looking at publicly available, and well regarded standards of hearing loss, I mentioned WHO the CDC, Centers for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, they all published standards on what hearing loss would look like based at certain decibel levels and your ability to hear at certain frequency levels. And what we found in the data was that a vast majority of the people in our data didn’t appear to have significant hearing loss, that they didn’t appear to have something that would be considered impairment that would need to be corrected by a hearing aid or a cochlear implant, for example. Now, it was really fascinating.
It then became a decision of, or not a decision, but a strategy point of okay, what are other ways in which plaintiffs might be characterizing impairment, if it’s not this type of impairment. We have 230,000 people who have filed the claim saying that they were impaired, using these publicly available standards, we’re not finding high rates of impairment that would correlate with that or make sense with that allegation.
So then it became an understanding between the two parties, and this was part of the litigation, how do you define hearing loss? Is it using these publicly available standards? Is it looking at what are called temporary threshold shifts, which was another fun turn up term I learned. A temporary threshold shift is, you can picture in the movies when someone is standing next to an explosion, and then they have the ringing in their ear, and they can’t hear for a few hours. That’s hearing loss, you have a temporary threshold shift. But maybe your hearing loss goes back to normal. And maybe in the data, we’re seeing the go back to normal results rather than that temporary shift.
So that opened up a whole new world of analyses of once we figured out we’re looking at these data, and these people don’t seem to have impairment based on these publicly available standards. What are other arguments that both sides might make based on that result? And how does that position where we are in the case.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 19:43
One thing that I am really struck by as you’re talking through this, is just how much definitional analysis there is. This was a big shock to me. I just expected that everybody had these very polite kind rules. And certainly in litigation, I think that’s the clearest place where you see, your job is to actually identify what the role should be. And you’ve talked about that as a huge part of the case, so I’m glad you brought that to light.
So we talked a little bit about how many people were on the team. Can you talk about the levels and the functions? Was everyone working on the same dataset? Are you splitting up the data set? Is somebody looking at the public data? And somebody looking at the data from discovery? What’s the breakdown of levels of different roles on that team?
Bates White: Katie Luker 20:36
You’ll find that a lot of people at Bates White use the royal ‘we’ all the time when talking about our work, because it is a team effort, and each part is critical to the case. So you’ve got some people that are analyzing the publicly available data, some people that are analyzing the data that was produced in discovery, some people doing research on hearing loss standards.
There’s a lot of elements that go into the work we do and getting it from point A to point B, the team also had a lot of different levels. It was really fun, because the case, I’m not sure I mentioned this, but the case lasted over a year. So we also had people grow up and get promoted during the case, which was really cool and fun to see and a testament to the type of work we were able to do and the opportunities that came out of that.
At the top we had partners working on the case, we supported Charlie Mullen, who was a partner in our mass torts practice, he authored an expert report in the court, which we supported. We had other partners on the case too, who provided consulting expertise as well bounce ideas off of. People who have more years of experience than me in this arena, and were able to provide invaluable insights on key strategy, how this has played out before, where they think we’re going.
Then we had managers and principals. I’m a principal. And those provide the day to day oversight of a case, help think of case strategy, talking to clients, etc. We also had economist on our team. So this case was really cool, because we got to think of some fun predictive modeling to understand and control for different factors. How that manifests in the hearing loss. So that was interesting to think of, and a fun element to the case, as well.
And then we had a range of consultants. A lot of people from our research team helped us as well, and the size of the team and the scope of whether we needed it all those people I just described, or a subset of them really depended on where we were at in the case, whether we had just gotten a lot of discovery produced, whether we were in trial, preparing for trial. So lots of ebbs and flows throughout the case. But there was a core team of us throughout, of consultants, managers, principals who are running the things day to day.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 22:53
I want to highlight just one final piece of this before we move on. But what findings or recommendations did you actually present? Or did you say here’s our recommendation, this is what you should pursue, and this is how you should think about it. So just walk us through what that portion of the process is like.
Bates White: Katie Luker 23:22
Yeah, I could talk about this case forever, because I feel like we haven’t even gotten to the mic drop moment of the case. We could talk about it or we can get there in stages. So as I mentioned earlier, Areo had filed for bankruptcy because of the magnitude of the litigation that it faced. One of the parts of this case was that bankruptcy filing was challenged by certain plaintiff law firms that represented claimants who were bringing the case, they filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy and to send the all the litigation resulting litigation back to the MDL.
There’s been a lot of cases recently in the bankruptcy arena that have gotten challenged and dismissed. And so it’s a somewhat tumultuous time in the bankruptcy world in terms of cases and getting dismissed. But one thing that we did as a result of that is we supported Charlie Mullen, as I said before, who put forth expert reports that were used in that motion to dismiss trial that was about this case. So we got to talk about the findings that we had and the rate of claims that there weren’t put numbers and what we were arguing were facts, concrete facts behind some of the allegations, and trying to explain to the judge why we thought this case really should stay in the bankruptcy arena, rather than go back to the MDL.
That was a result of the analyses that we had done to understand rates of impairment among claimants. There was a lot of additional work we did to compare and contrast this bankruptcy to other historical bankruptcies, which, again relied on the available data we had in terms of number of filings, just showing how vastly different that was in any other historic bankruptcy. So that was one key part, or culmination of a lot of our work with some of those expert reports that we authored. And Charlie testified to at trial in this motion to dismiss hearing for the bankruptcy.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 25:25
I feel like we’re almost ready for the mic drop moment. So what was the impact of your work in the case?
Bates White: Katie Luker 25:33
So the impact of our work was that we got to testify at trial, we helped our clients a lot in that regard, we helped educate the judge a lot in the matter in terms of why we should be there, the bankruptcy did get dismissed, which was not necessarily the position we would have wanted, we were all a bit surprised by that. But I don’t think that detracts in any way from the work and quality of work that we provided. I think the client was much more educated, the judge was much more educated with regards to the benefits of being within the bankruptcy realm.
The judge, I like to think affectionately referred to Charlie Mullen as a bankruptcy, Stan, you know, the fun word for fan these days, but a bankruptcy Stan, a supporter of bankruptcy, so that was fun to hear. And even though the bankruptcy got dismissed, which sent it back to the MDL, because once Aero had filed for bankruptcy, it put that litigation against Aero on hold, it went back to the MDL. But the MDL actually recently settled, in August, there was a settlement that was released. And I like to think that our work also really helped inform the client as to the scope of that settlement and how it should look and the strategy behind it.
So that was still really interesting, maybe not as much of a mic drop as I teed it up to be, but I like to think the case, we provided a ton of value. It was an extremely rewarding thing to be a part of. I was there with Charlie, as he testified, to come back, and then to continue to provide support to our client as they were looking at what their other options were. Working in the litigation, setting the case outcomes, are not always going to go the way that you would hope. I would say that the bankruptcy being dismissed was not what we were hoping for. But, our work was still really valuable in the sense that we got to educate the judge, and then even once we went back to the MDL, still provide value in helping the client think through, you know, now that we’re not in the bankruptcy anymore. What do we do now? What are our options? How do we still achieve a degree of resolution with this lawsuit, given that we’re not in the bankruptcy anymore.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 27:47
Now, just as a zooming out, take away, what do you feel your learning process would foretell for what other businesses or industries would take away from a situation like this? How to do it well, how to pursue the right data in the right way. I also would like for you to speak specifically to the fact that you mentioned you went to trial. So I think maybe people wouldn’t know that doesn’t always happen and whether or not it’s the goal. So can you just speak to that a little bit about how do you measure what success looks like? And how should industries that are thinking about protecting themselves from litigation or defending themselves in litigation? How should they think about the insights that you gathered in the situation?
Bates White: Katie Luker 28:37
You’re right, that we don’t always go to trial. It’s really interesting when we do, but sometimes a company will file for bankruptcy, that’s in a similar situation that our client was facing a huge volume of litigation. Whether that’s in terms of the magnitude of the claims that are being brought forth, or the number of claims being brought forth.
The fact that we went to trial, and had our case dismissed, there are a lot of lessons learned that come from that and that impacts how different companies who are considering chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization as an option to resolve mass tort litigation, will approach cases moving forward.
When the judge ruled to dismiss the bankruptcy, he filed an order that explains his logic and his reasoning. Part of that was based on the work that we had done and how that impacted his opinion, just as much as part of his opinion was based on the work the other side had done and how that impacted his opinion. So one thing that can come out of this, or that other consulting shops, supporting those companies who are thinking about chapter 11, bankruptcy filing, they’re all looking to the current cases and how they’re being handled and whether they’re being dismissed whether they’re being let go through.
I think a lot of it then goes to inform their strategy about how they file that when they think about this option, and what plan B and Plan C and Plan D, they should be prepared for in the event that they aren’t successful in their re-filing. Just seeing that process play out and the type of analyses and arguments we did to support the bankruptcy, and then having it dismissed, I think all of those things are invaluable insights for companies that are considering this process moving forward.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 30:32
Well, zooming back to you again, what makes this work rewarding for you? You have a big smile on your face. Just listening to this, you can’t see it. But for those that are watching you, you’ve been able to see it the whole time. It’s clear that it’s engaging, interesting, fascinating for you. But I don’t want to put words in your mouth, what is it that you like about it? What wakes you up in the morning and gets you excited to work on this work?
Bates White: Katie Luker 30:54
The cases we work on are usually fairly high profile and I find that to be very exciting, fun to be a part of. Even on the cases that aren’t as high profile as the one I’ve been talking about, I take a lot of value in diving into the data and helping our clients understand what the data is showing, and helping them build a narrative around the data based on the data that they maybe wouldn’t otherwise be able to develop without us.
They hire us because we provide very specific expertise and our ability to analyze data and to help think of strategy through data and present results. Being a part of that process of thinking through what the data shows, figuring out the puzzle, developing the storyline, both within people internally, as we’re thinking about our case, and externally, as we’re working with clients. That’s something that’s very rewarding to be a part of, to kind of be in the weeds beyond ground zero with those people and developing that storyline that we’re seeing in the data. I have always really enjoyed that. And I think that’s a fun part of our work.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 32:01
Well, second to last question about career stuff. One piece of advice that you have for somebody who’s thinking about doing the work that you’re doing. Whether it is insight advice, know this about yourself, or do this to prep for it, whatever you feel like the best piece of advice would be for somebody who’s thinking about this type of work?
Bates White: Katie Luker 32:24
Yeah, I would say, to be curious and not afraid to ask questions. I think there’s a lot of value that someone can bring to the table with fresh perspective. Oftentimes, when you’re working with the data, or even if you’re working in a particular industry time and time again you can become entrenched in the details and you lose the forest for the trees.
Bringing in fresh perspectives and asking questions, can really help point out new things that other people wouldn’t have considered because you have that fresh perspective. Being curious and asking questions is just going to help you get up to speed and be a more contributing member of your team anyway. It’s a win-win all around. I would say that’s my biggest advice, to be curious and ask questions, because it’s going to help you learn, it’s going to help you come up to speed. And oftentimes, it’s going to shine a light on something that someone who has been doing this for years may not have considered.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 33:23
Last and final question. You mentioned a little bit about the work that you do, litigation, etc. One thing that I’ve discovered in my years of doing this is that litigation never sleeps. In fact, sometimes it increases in times of economic uncertainty. People push different buttons. I hear Bates White is hiring. Talk a little bit about the kind of prospects of your industry. We’re going to put into the show notes a link to learn more about the roles. What is the quick state of the industry? And then what are the qualities or attributes of books that thrive in the role, like the case that you just discovered today?
Bates White: Katie Luker 34:07
The state of the industry is that we are still very busy. Litigation does not stop oftentimes, despite what’s going on in the economy, if anything, if things are tumultuous in the economy, that tends to result in more litigation and more work for us whether that’s a good or a bad thing. Good for us internally, but litigation is a contentious topic.
So I think when it comes to someone who’s thinking about working at Bates White are the types of skills that we value. So I mentioned before that I think someone who is curious does really well. That drive, that hunger to learn is only going to serve you well. We work on a lot of different projects, which someone might not have any prior experience with. I would not say that I knew a lot about hearing loss and earplugs in audiograms before working on Aero and I think you have to have a drive to learn new things in order to enjoy this type of work. So that’s a huge part of it- having that strong work ethic and being intellectually curious. I think another huge part of what we do, which perhaps isn’t surprising is being a clear communicator, we’re working with very complex data. And a lot of our work is explaining that data to people who are not as may be interested and or have that same background that we have to understand all the nitty gritty things.
So, a huge part of our work is taking the very in-depth analyses that we do and making them much more approachable for a layman and audience to understand, that happens externally with clients, with judges with juries. That happens internally when you are a junior consultant, and you’re explaining an analysis to a senior partner who is not as in the weeds as you are. That clear communication is something that is vital at all levels at the firm. It just changes in terms of who you’re communicating to. So I would say that hunger to learn, intellectual curiosity and clear communication, good communicator, those are all great skills to have.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 36:04
Thank you so much for sharing about Bates White work in this particular situation, and also about your specific enthusiasm for the role in the company. Before we finish, though, we’ve got to have a little bit of fun. So quick questions. These are rapid fire not related to the topics that we talked about before. The first one maybe has a little bit more seriousness. But these three questions will just wrap up our getting to know you session. All right, one piece of advice that you’d give to your 21 year old self? That’s question number one.
Bates White: Katie Luker 36:39
I would say, take more chances, try more new things. I feel pretty lucky that I’ve always kind of known what I wanted to do. I’ve always been into data. So I didn’t try a lot of different industries, different classes outside of that. And I very much enjoyed that. I love the work we do. But do I wish sometimes maybe that I wouldn’t have taken a completely different class outside of my comfort zone. I think there’s a lot of fresh perspective in that. And maybe I didn’t need to take every single class only be related to economics.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 37:09
I love it. Well, the second question is the most unusual food you’ve ever tried.
Bates White: Katie Luker 37:17
Maybe five years ago, I went on a hiking trip to Patagonia in South America. I tried guanaco, which is essentially an Argentinian or Chilean llama or alpaca related. So that was very unusual. I don’t think many people have tried that. I couldn’t tell you really what it tasted like, I don’t really remember. But that was definitely different.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 37:46
Must have not been like chicken though.
Bates White: Katie Luker 37:48
You know, it could have been, but I remember liking it. It was well prepared.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 37:55
That’s amazing. Nobody has ever answered that question that way.
Bates White: Katie Luker 38:00
I tried to think of something that was truly unusual.
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 38:03
I feel like you nailed it. You got it right there. But last question, what is the next item on your bucket list?
Bates White: Katie Luker 38:11
So the next item on my bucket list, I’m very fortunate that I’m going to be able to cross it off soon. I’ve always wanted to go to India, and I’m planning to go to India next year with my mom. So I’m really looking forward to that,
MC: Jenny Rae Le Roux 38:22
I love it. Well, it’s such an honor to have you on today. Thanks so much, Katie. Really appreciate your time, your insight, your perspective, and your thoughtfulness. So thanks again for joining us on Strategy Simplified.
Bates White: Katie Luker 38:33
Thanks for having me.
Sponsor Break 38:35
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