After my summer experience, which in many ways seems to have been written in the stars, I’m looking forward to returning full-time next fall. In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to enjoying my second year of business school. Something tells me it’s going to be a lot less stressful than the first. Hopefully I’ll have the wisdom to appreciate it.
As the weeks rolled on, I began to feel like I was making forward progress (even if it was only a slow crawl) along the learning curve. By the end of the summer, with the help of my case team leader, I got the hang of the way the firm approaches cases, created slides that our partner presented to our client’s Board of Directors, learned some shortcut keys on our custom software, and even learned some of the firm lingo.
My case team provided endless opportunities to push toward an answer, learn from one another, think through the outcomes of different approaches, challenge one another’s hypotheses, pitch a hand when someone was being slammed, laugh at each others’ quirks, and most importantly, to purchase swag (to celebrate team members’ weddings, babies, and birthdays). Luckily, too, my case presented only limited opportunity -- just 2 overnights in ten weeks -- to travel.
Overall I had an incredible summer. The program was structured such that we got a view for the different industry specializations of the firm, interacted with people at different levels (from associate consultant intern to partner), and had the opportunity to share and learn from the experiences of our fellow summer classmates. There were formal feedback, review, and mentoring processes each of which was logical, meaningful, actionable, and taken very seriously.
Then there was the relationship piece: a case team dynamic to understand, folks from different levels of the firm who were reaching out to welcome the summer class, and of course, opportunities to bond with the other summer associates.
Our summer class was comprised of MBAs from a sprinkling of top-10 MBA programs. We met with mutual respect for the hard work and preparation that had gone into landing our internship spots. We bonded over lunches, dinners, drinks, a white-water rafting trip to Maine, a softball win against the partners (sorry Graham, I had to do it!), and our similar tendencies toward extremes: work hard, play hard. We shared tips, shortcuts, and insights we gathered from our case teams. We asked one another the silly things we didn’t want to admit to not knowing. And, we leaned on each other for support and suggestion as we navigated through our casework, the firm, and the summer.
Given the learning curve, fortunately, there were plenty of people throughout the firm who were dedicated to helping us summers learn the ropes. Luckily, too, everyone I encountered was incredibly smart, curious, thoughtful, deliberate, down-to earth, and had a willingness (okay, oftentimes, a tendency) to poke fun at themselves.