In my cover letter I showed an active interest in both the firm (mentioning clients, hierarchical structure and charitable work) and consultancy.
Why do you think your internship application was successful?
I studied a highly logical and quantitative subject, and in my cover letter I showed an active interest in both the firm (mentioning clients, hierarchical structure and charitable work) and consultancy. I participated in ‘The Student Consultancy’; a voluntary student-run business consultancy organisation working with local clients. I also think my extracurricular activities such as being rowing captain, studying mandarin in China and doing university access work, etc – showed I was well rounded.
What was the toughest aspect of the application process?
There was a quantitative test and four interviews: two with consultants and two with partners. The latter were the most challenging, involving roughly 20 minutes of competency questions and a 40-minute case study.
What sort of training did you receive?
Within a day, I was working with a team on a project pitch, which meant getting consulting experience right away. Over the next two weeks I had various training sessions including graphics, research skills and how to structure reports here. I mainly learnt ‘on the job’ though, which I think is the best way.
What sort of work did you do?
Over eight weeks I worked on three pitches, one full project and additional research for other teams. For the project I researched the industry and created competitor profiles. Subsequently, I researched data for one of our market sizing models and collected and collated financial information. For the pitches I drafted primary report pages and independent research, and debated market trends, from online research, with my colleagues. My work included looking into markets such as pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, advisory services and retail.
Tell us about the support you received.
I received a great amount of support from all members of the team, with project managers never being too busy to help with any problems or queries I might have. Often I worked more closely with the junior consultants in very similar roles. Each intern was also given a ‘buddy’, a junior consultant whom you could go to for advice or help.
Were you given regular feedback?
I was given continuous feedback on my work, and at the end of my internship I met with one of the principles who reviewed my time there.
What skills did your internship equip you with?
- Productivity – being efficient yet thorough.
- Adaptability – being able to look into a completely new market every few weeks and produce the same quality of work.
Did you learn anything about consulting that surprised you?
I was treated as a junior consultant, not as an intern, and was impressed by the great atmosphere of collaboration. Everyone is always willing to help, even if they are on different projects, unlike many of the banking stories I have heard from friends!
What advice would you give to graduates looking for consulting internships?
Talk to careers fair reps to understand the company ethos – it does vary! Research the firms, do what you can to show an active interest and practise case studies!
What advice would you give to interns hoping to receive a full-time job offer?
Work hard by producing work to the best of your ability and adapting to responsibility (not by being the last in the office every night). Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice and feedback – it’s the quickest way to learn.
Charles was offered and accepted a full-time position at the end of his internship.