First person: how I got hired as an intern at Frontier Economics
Why do you think your internship application was successful?
I was able to show recruiters that I had not only the analytical ability to apply microeconomic theory to real world problems, but also a keen interest in doing so. I also demonstrated that I had the skills to communicate this analysis to others without economics backgrounds.
What was the most challenging aspect of the application process?
The personal statement. I had to put time and effort into demonstrating that I had researched and was suited to Frontier in particular as opposed to another employer.
Did you work on a specific project?
A number of the projects I worked on were sensitive legally and politically. One project involved developing a new pricing structure for an NHS supplier of back office functions, in the context of the likely introduction of competition from private suppliers. The project team was small: just me, a senior consultant and a director. I really enjoyed visiting the client’s office to interview senior NHS staff and seeing my own analysis sent directly to the client.
What sort of support did you receive?
Everyone gets a buddy and a mentor. Buddies are usually recent starters who act as an informal point of contact for day to day questions and help you settle in. Mentors are there for the bigger questions and advice. My mentor gave me a mock interview with feedback, which really helped when it came to my interview for a full time position.
How about feedback?
Members of the various project teams provided me with informal feedback as we went along. It is always worth asking whether you could have done something differently. At the end of the internship my mentor collected feedback from those I had worked with and talked me though it in a more formal way.
What skills did your internship equip you with?
My internship gave me a number of the ‘softer’ consulting skills that my academic training hadn’t focused on. For example, I learnt always to think hard about the receiver in any communication, written or spoken. Who are they? What is the message you are trying to give them? Is your message being received by them in a clear way?
Did you learn anything about consulting that surprised you?
I was surprised by the huge breadth of problems my employer works on. One day you could be looking at the issues around the uptake of messaging services such as WhatsApp for telecommunication regulators in the Middle East, the next looking at the effect electrical infrastructure has on house prices in Cornwall.
What advice would you give to graduates looking for consulting internships?
Put the effort in to research the places you are applying to. Go to careers fairs – a tailored personal statement that references a conversation with a consultant you met at a careers fair will impress.
What advice would you give to interns who hope to receive a job offer at the end of their internship?
See an internship as an opportunity to learn about the industry. Make sure this is the industry and the company you want to work in. Ask for feedback and act on it. You’re not going to come out of your degree the finished article and employers know this. You want to demonstrate that you can continue to learn and improve.