• Role: Summer Intern
  • Location: London
  • University: Cambridge
  • Degree: Natural Sciences & Management Studies
  • Organisation: Boston Consulting Group

Helen West

My first week at BCG was spent meeting the other interns and familiarising myself with the office. There were three full days of training, including the exciting part of getting your own laptop and iPhone. We had useful introductions to Excel and PowerPoint (including some incredible time-saving macros), information sources and what is expected of a Summer Associate.

Half a day was dedicated to a practice case in small teams, which was great as it showed a compact view of how a case is run from hypotheses, to analysis, to content production and client presentation. We were taken out to lunch by our ‘buddy’ – an Associate who had been at BCG for about six months. It was really handy to have someone who you could ask anything! All interns were allocated a village – you sit in shared office space in groups of 6-8 BCGers of mixed seniority who aren’t based on your case so you can get to know a larger group of people. We then found out about our cases – the highlight of the week! We were placed on a variety of projects, and had two days to get up to speed in the office before going to client sites the following week.

On Monday morning, the first week of my case, I was at the client site by 8:30 and left the office about 19:00 (but typical days vary hugely depending on the project). First I was introduced to the case, spent time reading background material and allocated my ‘own module’. This is a section of work that you are responsible for and drive to complete. I spent the next seven weeks developing and working on my specific module, with daily input from the Consultant and Principal. I was surprised at how much responsibility I was given and how much of my work was shown to clients.

The majority of my work was in PowerPoint – creating impactful slides to get our story across, alongside pieces of analysis in Excel. I learnt a lot very quickly so you need no deep prior experience. I attended weekly ‘Case Team Meetings’ where we would present our modules to other team members including the Partner. This was a great opportunity to get senior input. We had regular, almost daily, meetings with senior members from the client to gather input and expertise, which I regularly attended and participated in.

On Fridays, we returned to our desks in our village, continued case work and caught up with people back in the office. There are office Fridays every month, where you get to hear about other projects and get a free lunch! Fridays usually ended with the option of heading to drinks at a nearby pub. Social events were a major feature of the internship programme (and continue to be as a full-time Associate). There was a welcome dinner in the first week followed by a day trip on Saturday sailing to the Isle of Wight and a dinner and night out. Practice Area breakfasts held throughout the internship gave great insight into the variety of projects BCG offers as well as the opportunity to meet a range of Project Leaders and Partners. There were also dedicated intern dinners or social events every week!

Overall, I had a fantastic eight weeks; the work was really interesting, the people were great and I had a lot of fun – since joining full time, I’m happy to say that this has continued!

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