What are the benefits?
If you want to bag a graduate role, the chances are that you will need to have completed some kind of professional work experience. As a graduate recruiter for a consulting firm, I read 1,000s of applications and this is something I look for when screening CVs. If a candidate doesn’t have work experience, it would be rare for them to make the shortlist for a graduate role. Not having work experience will really limit how effective your answers will be in a graduate interview; involvement in societies and paid work in bars/restaurants etc. can only take you so far. If you don’t know what career you’re interested in, work experience will help you to figure this out, even if it means you’re just discounting what you don’t want to do. It also means you’ll have been through an assessment process and will have learned valuable lessons which you can put to good use in your interviews for a graduate role.
What typical duties do interns carry out?
As a consultant, the tasks, team size, project length and location all vary considerably from one project to another, so it’s always difficult to give specific details about what you’ll be doing – it will depend on what projects are going on at the time of your internship. You might find yourself working on an internal project, or you might get involved in client work with responsibilities such as analysing data, doing research or making presentations.
Whatever task you’re asked to turn your hand to, whether admin based or an exciting client-facing task which really tests you, make sure you approach everything with equal enthusiasm. Proving you can you do simple tasks will often lead to greater responsibility.
Make the most of the internship
We use our internships to find our future talent and if an intern impresses us we fast track them through our graduate recruitment process. Switching from student mode to a professional environment can be hard but it’s an important adjustment to try to make if you want to turn the internship into a graduate role. Professionalism involves meeting deadlines, showing enthusiasm, using your initiative, asking for feedback (and taking it on board) and networking with your colleagues. You might find it challenging at first but don’t give up; even if it isn’t the right role for you there might be another part of the organisation that you’re better suited to. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people to find out about their background and about the role they do.
If this article has inspired you to do a consultancy internship, find out where to start here.