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Management ConsultingWhat's being done in case interviews, is essentially being done on a daily basis, structuring and breaking down big problems into smaller problems until it becomes trivial. For instance, an institutional client wants to invest in Spain, what should they do ? How would you start ? Full review »Jason Chan Jin An , Quantitative Finance, Year 3, Expected 2016, The University of Hong Kong (HKU)Ratings
Enjoyment Support & Guidance Environment & Location How Rewarding Was It? Average 5How many weeks was it for?4 weeksDate of completion01/2015Monthly payRM 1300What did you do?
I was in charge for a project alongside my mentor. The project was about an institutional client who wants to invest in Spain alongside revitalising their economy via Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). After brainstorming with my mentor and getting past the groundwork, that was when the research and report writing started. For first half of my internship, I was in charge of performing Spanish FDI industry analysis on the following industries: automotive, airlines, tourism, transport, banking, telecom, real estate, pharma, healthcare, and agriculture. For the research, I used Thomson Reuters and other sources whereas for the analysis, I used various consulting frameworks such as 5 Forces, PESTLE, SWOT. The second half of my internship was writing up the remaining sub sections of the report, which was on Spain as a Global Airline Hub and Spain as a 100% Renewable Energy. As usual, there was a lot of structuring and breakdown of those problems until it was trivial for estimations.A bit about your intenrship interview
There were two parts of the interview. The first part was the usual fit questions interview (strengths, weaknesses) & CV rundown. Know yourself well and also why you are applying for consulting. The second part of the interview was a lengthy and challenging case interview, similar to those of MBB (McKinsey,Bain,Boston). Therefore, do familiarise yourself with the breaking down and problem solving element, and also the out-of-the-box solution to come up with estimates.What did you learn?
My biggest take away from this internship was the ability to breakdown really big problems into smaller problems until it is trivial. This is a very tough skill to acquire or train but now I see why it is actually very important in consulting and it comes with experience. Breaking down the case until it is trivial and answering all the whys before the hows will eventually lead you to make a more informed decision.
Besides, breaking it down lets you see the necessary macroeconomic data needed for your report and analysis to exclude the irrelevant data. Keep in mind, there is always more than one approach/structure to a big problem. I have also learnt to use various helpful consulting frameworks for cases and when to use them best. A framework is important to help stimulate the structure and get things going but to delve further into developing your structure will ultimately depend on you. Lastly, I've learnt to effectively skim through market reports and quickly learn about the case.Was your supervisor supportive?
My mentor is a French Chinese gentleman. His mentoring was very effective as he often give feedbacks on my report. His feedbacks are very constructive and gives me enough opportunities to speak up. He also allows me to give feedbacks on his structures and work. For him to teach me something he would actually ask me questions and make me think instead of just telling me blatantly.
However, he was always there for me when I needed him and he gave me just the right amount of guidance to try on my own and to improve continuously. He always involved me throughout the project and there was an optimum amount of interaction. Aside from the job, he also has a great personality and has a lot to share. Whenever he checks my work, he will always ask me why and how I conclude this and that, just to make sure the numbers and sense adds up. He's so far the coolest mentor I had throughout my internships.What could be improved? What could you have done better?
As I was the only intern during the winter, the office was underpopulated. Although the full time consultants and partners were great to hang out with, there is still that lack of social activity at the intern level. Therefore, it would be better in the social sense if there was perhaps another intern besides me as it could get lonely in the office when the full timers are on leave.
Regarding the structure, it was definitely structured as intern training is provided at the start (frameworks and cases ) and each intern will be assigned to a mentor and there will be feedback sessions at the end of the internship.Advice for future interns?
Make sure you are well prepared to be a consulting intern as the workload and scope of the cases are never easy. My project was mainly very finance and economic driven, therefore, the scope was really broad and the solutions were very demanding.
Be familiar with the problem solving aspect of breaking down and structuring the problem until it becomes trivial. This is possibly the hardest part of handling a project, as you need to be confident about your structure when presenting it to your mentor. Furthermore, do have a good business sense as some of the case's feasibility and estimates will really be tested. Also be prepared to face the steep learning curve at the start. Do make sure every estimate you come up with have a solid sense or reason.