How I got hired as an intern at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Why do you think your internship application was successful?
I got on well with the people interviewing me, which was important as consultancy is team based and requires a lot of client interaction. Your interviewers have to be confident that you are someone who will present themselves well in front of clients and with whom they would like to work.
Tell us about the work you did.
I worked on three projects in total during the internship: two commercial due diligences in the aerospace and packaging industries, and then a cost reduction programme for a leading utilities provider. My role was essentially that of a junior consultant, although my tasks varied greatly by project. On my first project I primarily carried out secondary market and competitor research and analysis.
On my second, I carried out a lot of primary research to support market and competitor analysis. Here I had more responsibility and had primary ownership of all research carried out for two of the global markets we were assessing. On my third project I was based on the client site and helped to organise client workshops and support the team across a wide variety of tasks.
What sort of training and support did you receive?
I received Excel training, which all junior consultants go through, plus additional training sessions, covering a range of topics including finance training and business plan assessment training.
I had a ‘buddy’, a junior consultant, who was my go-to for informal questions. My mentor, a principal, was formally in charge of my career progression. In addition to these formal channels I received a lot of support from project managers and other colleagues. I had a formal review with my mentor at the end of my internship to discuss my performance. Additionally, I had informal reviews at the end of each project with my project manager.
What skills did your internship equip you with?
The ability to think on my feet, as well as have the confidence to voice my own opinions. Getting thrown onto a project on your first day can be scary and it is easy to feel out of your depth and that your opinions are not worthwhile. It took me a while to learn that I knew more about the sections I’d covered (as I had carried out all the research) than other people on my team and that my opinions were therefore valid.
Did you learn anything about consulting that surprised you?
I was surprised by how much I liked the people I was working with, and how much fun I had with them. I was pleasantly surprised about how relaxed the office environment was – the majority of the time, anyway!
What advice would you give to graduates looking for consulting internships?
Take time over your application (CV, cover letter etc.). This is the point at which the majority of candidates get rejected. Once you have got an interview you are over the greatest hurdle. Coming across as personable in your applications is just as important as having the right credentials and experience.
Any advice for those hoping to turn an internship into a full-time job?
Ensure that you ask frequently for feedback. People should always be willing to give feedback and receiving it gives you a chance to improve on any areas of weakness during your time as an intern, increasing your chances of receiving a job offer at the end of it.