Summer Internship: Consulting with BCG

Monday, September 11, 2017

For MBA candidates pursuing an internship in consulting, a lot of (read: every waking second of every single day from the time you show up on campus in August through mid-January) focus is placed on preparing for interviews. I was definitely no exception to this rule, especially going into recruiting as a candidate that passed straight to grad school without taking time to build what is commonly referred to as “experience,” but looks a lot more like two years at a job you sort-of hate. I digress. After countless coffee chats, information sessions, practice cases, rude outbursts toward loved ones, and frantic coaching appointments with the GBCC (thanks, ABJ) I found myself in the incredibly fortunate position of accepting an internship with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

airport photo

Packed and ready for training!

This was it. I hit the big time, and I could not have been more grateful for all of the resources and support Carlson had to offer throughout recruiting. However, sitting in Chicago on the first day of training, surrounded by some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met, a terrifying thought occurred to me: “Holy s#!t. Do I actually know how to do any of this?!”. Suddenly, all of my mental math practice felt pretty silly. To make matters worse, I missed the Microsoft Excel training held the next day after some questionable fish at an unquestionably overpriced restaurant. Down but not out, I packed my bag and my shaken confidence and headed to Colorado with my fellow interns for an Outward Bound bonding experience. 

Ropes course group picture

BCG Chicago and Minneapolis interns after the high ropes course

White water rafting group picture

I wasn’t in his boat, but that surely didn’t keep my classmate Chris Grantham(fellow Carlson BCG Intern) from having a good time

Fast forward ten weeks and a ton of frequent flyer miles, and I’m happy to report that business school, particularly the curriculum at Carlson, did, in fact, prepare me to perform as a consultant in a top-tier firm. The most obvious example of this preparation comes from the Carlson Consulting Enterprise (CCE) where I had the opportunity to practice systematically addressing a problem in a team-based setting, and to strengthen my deck writing and presentation skills. (CCE director Severin St. Martin also inadvertently prepared me for Outward Bound, leading a canoe trip in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters as a Carlson4Community charity auction prize.) Completing a project for Carlson Volunteer Consultants also gave me a structured and well-facilitated taste of real-life consulting while also giving back to the community. Additionally, competing in case-competitions throughout the semester – both with my Core Team and students across Carlson gave me the chance to learn how to quickly form consensus around an analysis and solution in a high-pressure situation.

BWCA Trip group picture

BWCA Trip ’17 from left to right: Anne Jensen, Charlie Massopust, Tom Walz, Severin St. Martin, Mitch Doering, Nichole Norby

In terms of coursework, I found lessons learned in Leading Others incredibly useful from a client management perspective. Although my project this summer was not heavily quantitative, knowing all of the Excel shortcuts from Financial Modeling saved me quite a few hours. I’m still waiting to test my financial and operational acumen.

I am very grateful to have been extended an offer to join BCG full-time upon graduation and look forward to a much less stressful second year of business school. 

happy hour group picture

Happy hour on our last day at BCG (Rebekah Shaffer (center) and Chris Grantham (right) are also Carlson students)