Why do consultants spend so many hours traveling to client sites, running complex analyses, building lengthy presentations, and working for (sometimes) demanding clients? The expensed dinners and travel perks are nice, but arguably, the most important aspect of the job is the learning. That’s where a Deloitte Internship experience can prove very valuable.
In very few other fields can an individual straight out of an undergraduate (or even MBA) program immediately find themselves working on high-stakes projects with senior management the first day on the job. This senior-level impact at a fairly junior level is one of the things that makes consulting so attractive. In addition, since the industry is project-oriented, consultants work on a diverse set of complex business problems across various industries. Get bored easily? Intellectually curious? Consulting has you covered.
So what exactly do you learn from a consulting internship? The answer to that differs from each experience, but see below for the 3 biggest takeaways from my summer internship at Deloitte Consulting.
You’re Always Being Watched
Don’t be too scared by this, but being aware that an internship is similar to one big, lengthy interview is an important reality to accept. Consulting firms want to be sure that their full-time employees are versatile, capable, and professional – otherwise, they might lose clients!
Below are potential areas that can determine whether or not you receive a positive or negative review at the end of your internship, based on my summer internship at Deloitte Consulting.
- Your Attitude – I’m going to start with this one since it’s arguably the most important! Regardless of anything else, if you have a negative or poor attitude towards your work, clients, or colleagues, you likely won’t receive a return offer. On the other hand, if you exhibit a positive persona, you really can make up for other areas you may lack in.
- Client interaction – Your team will be checking to see if you can be professional and hold your own during interactions with clients. This doesn’t mean you have to lead a meeting, but you do have to be both personable and professional.
- Deliverables – Of course, the work you produce will be a huge determining factor in whether or not you’ll be receiving a return offer. During an internship, you want to prioritize accuracy over speed. Your team won’t expect you to build amazing PowerPoint decks or Excel models right away, but they will expect your work to be on the right track when given proper instruction.
- Emails – Even the seemingly mundane is noticed at consulting firms like Deloitte Consulting. The nature and frequency of your emails to colleagues and clients will be noticed. Be sure to double-check for spelling or grammatical errors, and make sure your messages are concise and action oriented!
Ask (for Work) and You Shall Receive
There is a correlation between the amount of work an intern accomplishes during a summer and the degree of high marks received during a review. As you might have guessed, generally speaking, the more work that is done, the better the review. More work = greater trust with larger tasks. Below are a few of the key steps to receiving more work.
Step 1 – Establish Your Reputation: Depending on your team and firm, the cadence at which you will receive work will vary, but in many cases, you will get eased into a project by being given smaller assignments. Whether that assignment is taking notes during a meeting or data entry, be sure to knock it out of the park. At top firms like Deloitte Consulting, you can be sure that first impressions are very important. Doing the little things well will provide you with more leverage to ask for more important, and ultimately interesting work.
Step 2 – Keep Asking: Once you have established yourself as a dependable intern, your team will be excited (trust me) to give you more work. Whenever there is an opportunity for you to step up and contribute to a project, verbalize your willingness to help. Most of the time, consultants are so busy that they’ll gladly provide you with things to take off their plates. A few weeks into my internship at Deloitte Consulting, I can’t remember a single time my team refused to give me work that I asked for.
Step 3 – Think Outside of the Project: A great summer intern is one who goes above and beyond the consulting duty. For instance, most consulting firms will have committees that are akin to extra-curricular activities; these are great opportunities for you to show that you’re not just interested in consulting but also in becoming an integral part of the firm. During my time at Deloitte Consulting, I helped create a feedback system using Microsoft OneNote that helped me earn some bonus points when it came to review time. Be on the lookout for such opportunities!
Drinking out of a Firehose can be Fun
“Drinking out of a firehose” was a commonly used term during my time at Deloitte Consulting, and the term refers to the large amount of information you need to process immediately on the job. When you first start your internship, you will likely be inserted into a project that is already in progress. Your team will already have work streams that are underway and relationships with clients built. Regarding the latter, don’t be surprised if your team knows your client’s employees so well that you come across office politics and gossip about who the good and bad employees are!
Though it is definitely challenging to come across so much information at once, I found that viewing the internship as a privilege and opportunity helped me enjoy the experience. There are always thousands of other candidates who would love to have the consulting internship that you have, and though I put in a lot of work to get there, I always felt like I benefited from a lot of luck as well.
Therefore, one of my most important takeaways during my time at Deloitte Consulting was that the vast amount of learning I had to do in such a short period of time was a truly enjoyable experience. From learning how to use tools in PowerPoint to listening to clients during meetings and everything in between, my internship provided me with valuable lessons that I’ll carry with me throughout my career.
- Consulting summer internship: 6 secrets to guaranteeing a return offer
- 10 reasons to work for Deloitte Consulting and 6 reasons not to
- Interview with a Deloitte S&O consultant
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