Internship Diaries of 2021 is a series about the various categories of roles offered by companies for summer internships. We bring to you the experiences of interns from Consulting, Finance, Marketing, General Management, Product Management and E-commerce roles to understand a bit more about their work life. The articles are meant to give the reader a glimpse into the life of an intern and help the reader understand their fit in that particular role.
Contributed by: Kunal Das
Kunal Das has completed his BTech and MTech from IITMadras for the department of Electrical engineering in 2018. Post that he worked at ABInBev as an Associate Data Scientist for 1.5 years and then at Bain and Company as an Associate for a year
Edited by: Lakshmi R V
“Well, this seems like a potential entry into this sector, we should try this out. We would like to partner with Accenture to implement this idea in the next 12 months”- These words seemed like music to my ears, when the client finally approved my idea, after many brainstorming sessions with the team. This is how my two-month stint as an Intern at Accenture Strategy ended.
I worked on two major problems during my stint at Accenture. One was to build a market expansion strategy for the automobile division of an Indonesian conglomerate leveraging digital capabilities built by Accenture’s Tech function. The second project was to devise market entry strategies for the Infra division of the same conglomerate group. The project involved me leveraging my learnings from my first-year MBA courses and previous work experiences to form a coherent strategy. I was involved in market research activities which involved scouting for relevant areas of entry, especially in a well penetrated Infra sector, build business use cases of different analytical interventions showcasing value being delivered at every step of the customer journey and build a roadmap for the extended 12-month collaboration.
Given the client was from Indonesia and the project involved multiple discipline involvement, I was fortunate to be working with 4 cross-demographic teams across SE Asia. All my co-workers were super focussed and diligent in terms of the deliverables, and yet always found the time to help me with any additional requirement that I posed or with possible options when I was stuck at any stage of my project. From the onboarding process to team allotment, client interactions, team discussions, and all other activities, I always felt I was part of the main team and not just an “intern”. All the teams were very collaborative and supported me throughout the period.
During the first interaction with my manager, I was told that in an offline scenario, I would be flying down to Jakarta and working with the clients on-site. This did come as a bummer initially, as the pandemic had rendered the internship being virtual (yet again), but the team did not let me miss out on any activity that I would have done if it were offline. Though brainstorming sessions for client project deliverables did miss the element of personal interactions, the team provided a well-developed platform for us to share our ideas and collaborate in a very efficient manner. From the opportunity to interact with clients to presenting my work to them, team meetings and gathering sessions, interaction with leadership teams and social bonding between the interns, the virtual experience had it all. What I did not miss during the virtual internship is my mom’s cooked food. Cannot complain!
I remember making a slide to showcase to the panel during my final review. Back then, I was looking at fancy words to make the ppt “consult like”. However, if I were, to sum up, my learnings now, I would say they were threefold- Firstly, I was able to leverage the consulting flavor in a different setting. Given my previous experience in the consulting domain, the internship provided me with a flavor completely different from anything I ever worked on or read in cases. Secondly, I was able to drive suggestions and probable solutions based on certain analytical interventions. This was a major chunk of my learning too, as it helped me explore the different sectors that Accenture is currently looking to penetrate, especially in the data science field. Thirdly, and most importantly, I was able to build a strong network with key stakeholders from different fields, not just within Accenture, but from the client’s as well.
There have been times, during the project, when I seemed lost and was not sure how to move ahead. While working on different market entry options in the Infra sector, I was faced with major challenges as any potential option, I would suggest was either already too mature to enter, or completely infeasible. In such moments, my manager and other teams also helped with brainstorming ideas based on their past project experiences in this sector. I was also redirected to the right set of people, which helped me find a strategy that could be taken to the client.
Given, my experience in this domain, I was expecting the work and the projects to be on similar lines. I was pleasantly surprised when I was assigned my project. It involved me applying all my learnings to different domains and come up with a coherent and feasible solution that could be taken to the client. My manager never felt the need to micromanage but would have cadence calls to discuss the progress and given constructive feedback on what areas I could work on. All in all, it was a great learning experience.
For all the future aspiring consultants, I have three tips that I like to call the “Trifecta of Consulting”- Learn to identify the problem first, bring structure to any problem you tackle, and network as much as you can, because that will help you get solutions you never even thought of. These would be essential to your success in the consulting domain!
Kunal and Lakshmi are students of the PGP 2020-22 batch at IIM Bangalore.