Posted in Internship Experience Stories, Total Reads: 90
Name: Shubham Chakraborty
College: XLRI, Jamshedpur
MBA Batch: 2015-17
Summer Internship Industry: Consulting
Profile: Strategy Intern
Brief Project Description & Responsibilities:
It was an operations project for a resources major. Responsibilities included conducting interviews with the client & making sense of the unstructured data thus obtained.
What was the overview of the project? Elaborate with some details
My internship kicked off on 4th April, one day after our exams had ended. The best part (more on this later) was that I was sent directly to the client location, which was a really remote project site. There was an initial trepidation in my mind regarding the location but since I’ve had experience of working in remote project locations, I took it in a stride. It was a four-member team working on the ground, including two interns. Taking a bird’s eye view of the project, the team had to design commercial processes for a natural resources major. It was an Operations project. My responsibilities included structuring the data gathered through extensive interviews and existing process manuals for identification of opportunities for improvement in the processes.
Share your daily routine & overall summer internship experience.
The daily routine was quite action packed. On weekdays, we woke up at 7AM and reached the client site by 9AM. We worked through the entire day with various departments and got a chance to interact with a lot of people. There were constant deadlines that the team had to meet. In the evening, we left the client site at around 9 PM, came back to the hotel, worked some more on some deliverable that was due the next day. On some occasions, it became necessary to work late into the night as well.
I had heard stories of the arduous travel, steep learning curve & long working hours prevalent in the industry. But being in on the action was a totally different experience altogether. In my opinion, a consulting internship is a lot like joining a B-School. One has to hit the ground running & pick-up skills along the way at a fairly high pace. The team was supportive along the way & provided excellent resources & guidance whenever I hit a roadblock. While it is true that it took me some time to come up to speed, the sheer level of interaction with the client means that there was no time to waste. An excellent opportunity that I got with Accenture was that I got a chance to interact with the client in an individual capacity, which was more than I had hoped for at the beginning. My time with the firm was extremely comfortable, to say the least. Where else do you get a chance to stay in the best of hotels & try out the best food possible, day in & day out?
How was the selection process conducted?
It was a gruelling 14-hour process with 4 rounds of interviews. The first round was a thorough case interview. The second dealt with my work experience and discussion on a sector of my interest. A knowledge of current affairs helped a lot in this round. The third was a short HR round, which was non-eliminating in nature. The final & the most important was the Partner round. I was sitting opposite the Partner for the final round. All those days of preparation & background research had been for this moment. In this case, conventional wisdom had nothing to do with how the interview went. We talked on so many topics, like books, tourism, architecture, history, etc. that by the end of it, I couldn’t believe that this was the round I was so afraid of. Two hours later, I was welcomed to Accenture Strategy as an Intern.
What were your key learnings from the summer internship?
1. Time Management: At the risk of sounding clichéd, this is the most cardinal learning out of my internship. A business school is indeed challenging when it comes to managing time, but the sheer number of deliverables expected out of you in a consulting internship requires meticulous time management as wells as prioritizing the work to a great extent.
2. Deck Preparation: Ensuring maximum content in minimum number of slides, while ensuring that the deck is presentable & clutter-free, is one of the key learnings I have.
3. MS-Excel: The sheer amount of qualitative as well as quantitative data that needs to be handled requires a decent command over spreadsheets. The two months were immensely helpful in this regard.
Three tips would you give to your juniors
1. Brush up on your current affairs and overall awareness about any industry of your choice. In case of prior work experience, one must be familiar with the major developments in that industry.
2. MS-Excel and PowerPoint skills help a lot when the going gets tough. Often, you have to make a presentation within an hour or so, such preparation really comes in handy in those situations.
3. For the case interviews, rather than trying to find out the exact numerical answer to the question asked, the approach you take to solve the problem matters more. Ask a lot of questions to clarify and explain your line of thinking to the interviewer. This is of prime importance in a case interview.