An EY-Parthenon internship: my experience
1. What do you think made your internship application a success?
I have varied types of experiences in my CV – not just career-related experiences such as internships and spring weeks, but also things such as non-career-oriented societies and hobbies – which I think helped to show that I wasn't one-dimensional and that I had interests outside of consulting. In addition, I think that writing a well-researched cover letter, which demonstrated that I was actually interested in the firm and had put in effort to learn about what made it unique, helped me to stand out from the other candidates.
2. What was the most challenging aspect of the application process?
My first round of case interviews, definitely. My Parthenon interviews were my first consulting internship set of interviews, and having to solve cases in a proper interview situation was quite intimidating. Thankfully, they went well, and there were fewer nerves by the time I got to the second round of interviews!
3. What did you work on during your internship?
Over the course of my internship I was involved in three projects, all in the education space. The first was a research project; the others were a strategy project in the online education space, as well as a due diligence for an educational materials company. In all three projects, I participated in expert interviews, collated secondary research and data, analysed the data, and produced slides that were used as output for clients. I primarily took a supporting role to the associates I worked with as opposed to having my own individual work stream.
4. What sort of training did you receive?
Over the course of my first week I was given a combination of training in the 'associate toolkit’ – which included skills such as Excel usage, slide design, survey making and conducting other primary research – as well as briefings on the different sectors Parthenon operated in. This training also involved a lot of socialising and getting to know people on the team, via various social events.
5. What sort of support did EY-Parthenon provide?
I was assigned an official mentor to guide me throughout the internship; however, I also received a large amount of unofficial mentorship from various members of the firm, ranging from associates to partners. This included coffee chats and lunches, when we discussed how I was finding the internship and when I had a chance to ask any questions I had, as well as lots of support when I encountered issues or needed guidance in my work. Everyone was consistently willing to give me advice or lend me a hand if I needed it.
6. Were you given regular feedback?
I was given two official pieces of feedback – one halfway through the internship and one at the end of the internship. I did, however, also receive frequent feedback on my work throughout my cases.
7. What skills did your internship equip you with?
My internship equipped me with the skills related to the associate toolkit, as well as skills involving conducting research and producing client output. It also equipped me with a greater understanding of how strategy consulting works and how consultants interact with clients (particularly through getting the chance to attend a final client meeting), and gave me the chance to improve my presentation skills, through both regular casework and an end of summer presentation we gave to the directors and partners.
8. Did you learn anything about consulting that surprised you during the internship?
The most surprising thing, for me, was the variety, not only in terms of the areas the projects were in, but also in the types of work involved in the projects. This ranged from straightforward data collection via calls and interviews, to activities such as going out into Covent Garden and trying to get mothers to do on-the-ground surveys! This really showed me that the most important thing in consulting is getting to the answer, rather than following a standard case-solving method that isn’t necessarily applicable to all cases.
9. What advice would you give to graduates looking for consulting internships?
I would recommend that they do a good amount of case practice (of course), but also that they don't forget the other components that would make a company want to give them an internship. In addition to people who can do the job, I feel that consulting firms want someone who is both curious and interesting – definitely make sure to demonstrate both of these traits throughout the application process.
10. What advice would you give to interns who hope to receive a job offer at the end of their internship?
Again, in addition to performing well on whatever work you're given, make an effort to find out more about the company and the people in it. Make sure you don’t just participate in the many social events that will have been organised for you, but also go for coffee chats, lunches and anything else that will help you to get to know the people in the company better. In the end, it isn't just about you getting an offer from the consultancy, but also about you making sure the place you're interning at is somewhere you want to be at long-term, so use the internship as an opportunity to figure that out. Timothy was offered and accepted a full-time position at the end of his internship.