Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week 2 in review

Everything is still ramping up at work, but I was still able to get some firsthand experience with this crazy little thing called consulting.  I've been working closely with the members of my team on a daily basis, and I've been able to interact with everyone on the team to some extent.  I've gotten familiar with the main resources that are available within the firm, first by reading about them during orientation, and then by actively using them the past week.  When I was asking my classmates for advice on the internship, one of their recommendations was to use the resources as much as possible because they can make your life a lot easier, and I can definitely see why that's the case.  I'm hoping that will help me become a net value add sooner than later....something that we discussed in Power in Org based on the First 90 Days. The basic idea was to get some "wins" in as early as possible because that can shape the rest of your experience via The Matthew Effect (success breeds success).

All of the interns I've spoken to are entering their projects at different stages, so the experiences have varied in terms of workload, type of work, travel etc.  Things have been on the slow end of the spectrum for me, but I fully expect that to change in the coming weeks when we begin traveling.  From what I understand, the team will be spending a lot of time together when we travel, so I'm glad that I've been placed with a very nice set of folks; I'm pretty sure this is where the "fit" part (working with people you like) will be most critical.

My favorite experience so far was a brainstorming session that I was able to participate in with the team.  It pretty much encapsulated everything that I expected strategy consulting to be like in its purest form.  We started with some high level questions, and then started open discussion to put together an initial framework to determine how to proceed. At first, I wasn't expecting us (the interns) to be a part of it, but sure enough, we were invited, and we definitely contributed to the discussion.  The whole thing was like going through the first part of a case interview (problem, clarifying questions, setting up a framework) with a team, and once we begin, it didn't really matter who was a Partner...or an intern.  It was fun to watch it all play out as things were drawn up on the whiteboard, erased, improved, etc.

In the first two weeks, I've also been reminded of why I don't pay much attention when someone says that something in class is "completely useless" or that you'll "never use it outside of that class again."   During the end of the quarter, I was telling a classmate about the crazy hours that we pulled to wrap up the project for Research Methods in Marketing when a 2nd-year student volunteered that I'd never use that stuff again.  Then I get to BCG, and sure enough, one of the projects that just wrapped up made heavy use of exactly the things we learned in that class, and it was a pretty big deal what they found with it.  I think the takeaway is to keep an open mind even in classes that you think are useless, because it is impossible to predict the future.  (that's why I love Steve Jobs' story about how a calligraphy class he took in college helped shape the first Macs)

The end of the week wrapped up with the office going out to a baseball game (Texas Rangers v Houston Astros). 

Rangers ballpark

It was the second office-wide event in so many weeks, and I had a great time.  At the end of the game, they put on what must have been a 10-minute fireworks spectacle...it was seriously ridiculous how long the show kept going.  I think the ballpark must have gotten an amazing deal on their fireworks.

At this point, I have a very favorable impression of the environment and people at BCG Texas, but I know that's not enough for me to truly enjoy the career. It will be interesting to dive into the work in the next few weeks and see what that is like.

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