Q&A: 5 Things you can do to help convert your internship to an offer in Consulting

Senior Consultant in Consulting

It's summer time and many of you out there are likely in your first internship with a consulting firm. Here are 5 things I found to be helpful in converting my internship into a full-time offer:

Demonstrating core attributes / skills:

  1. Coachability: you don't have to know everything day one, it's definitely not the expectation. However, I think it is important to show that you're coachable and are willing to receive feedback and learn / grow from it. Consulting is generally an apprenticeship model where you learn from coaching and guidance you receive from your teammates and team leadership. So, this core skill of being able to take feedback and act on it in a constructive way is very important.
  2. Proactiveness: Don't just bring me a problem, spend some time and think through some potential solutions. Even if the solutions you come up with aren't ultimately the ones that are the path forward, it's important in my opinion to demonstrate this willingness to problem solve and ability to think of potential solutions. At the end of the day, Consultants are there to solve client problems, not simply communicate what the problems are to teams and team leadership.
  3. Ownership: This goes hand in hand with the first two, but this is about taking responsibility and full ownership of a task that's handed to you. There is an expectation that if you're asked to help with a part of a project, you own that piece of the project. That means it's up to you to push that piece of the project forward. Now you may not be able to solve the problem alone (and that's certainly not the expectation), and likely you'll need help from experts or others in your firm or the client organization. But, it's about making sure you're pulling in the right people, asking the questions and finding a way to push toward an answer / solution.
  4. Energy and excitement for the work: Whether it's your day-to-day attitude or the excitement you convey, this can go a long way. Consulting is hard work and I think firms ultimately want to know whether you really want to be there. The Summer internship is a great time to convey this and show your excitement for the role.

One other thing to do:

  1. Getting to know the consulting firm and the people.
    Outside of the core attributes and skills mentioned above, the summer is also a great time to really get to know the people at the consulting firm and in your specific office or region. Friday's are great days for this. Even now with mostly remote work, I imagine people are willing to do quick 15 minute video calls to connect and talk about their experience in the office. This is a great way to not only ensure that this is the right fit for you, but also build a strong community in your office, something you're excited to return to full-time.

Happy to answer any specific questions as you navigate your summer.

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Comments (4)

Jun 27, 2020

Thanks for doing this! Way back when you were still an intern, what were the tough challenges you encountered? Were you treated differently? If yes, how did you cope up with it as you worked your way up getting an FT?

Most Helpful
Jun 28, 2020

Hi there,

Great question! There were a few things that were challenging in the beginning.

Consulting speak:
Consulting almost has it's own language, and more specifically each firm has their own specific phrases as well. It can feel a little intimidating at first, but it's quick to get used to it. Most important thing here is to not let it make you feel like an outsider while you're still learning it.

The Toolkit:
First of all, learning what the Toolkit even meant. Each firm may refer to it as something different whether it's skills or base competencies etc. At the end of the day, the Consulting Toolkit is the basic set of skills that are useful in day-to-day consulting. Examples are, MECE framework, identifying analyses and data required, connecting with clients, organizing thoughts in a top-down structured manner etc.
No one really hands you a list day one and says 'here is a checklist for the toolkit.' So this is the hard part. But, within a few weeks, you'll know what's important and will have time to build on these skills.

Knowing when and how to ask for help:
Asking for help, especially during an internship where you feel you're being somewhat evaluated can be daunting. But, the key is, be solution oriented. It goes a long way to at least have thought through an answer or solution ahead of time and then get an opinion or input on that. Two reasons why this works well: 1. It shows that you're thinking ahead and solution oriented. 2. It gives something for people to react to rather than a blank page or open ended problem. After a few weeks, you develop some fine tuning as to what things you can figure out using firm resources available to you, and where you can get additional input from your teammates or leadership and how best to engage.

Let me know if this is helpful and if you have any other questions.

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Jun 30, 2020

I've seen others recommend getting your hands on internal 'sample decks' from previous similar situations when you have to build one (ex; you have to build a deck about X for the client so you ask a colleague for their deck since they built a similar one in the past). I imagine this is super helpful to see exactly what you need to produce/what good looks like, but how do you get your hands on these decks or any other examples/samples?

Array

Jun 30, 2020
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