As the summer internship season kicks off, the College media team has gathered reflections from a few students in each UChicago Careers In... (UCI) program who held Jeff Metcalf internships this past summer. Here is what they had to say about their experiences.
Cindy Wang, Class of 2014Economics major, Statistics minorPrimary UCI program: BusinessName of internship: Accenture Management ConsultingInternship location: New York, NY
Q: What attracted you to the Metcalf internship that you have been doing this summer?
A: I participated in Accenture's Innovation Challenge with three other UChicago students last fall, and we won nationals in D.C. Through the competition, I built strong relationships with the people at Accenture, and I was already confident that I wanted to do consulting after graduation. That coupled with the fact that I would be able to spend my summer in New York sealed the deal for me.
Q: How does your major or other coursework at UChicago relate to the kind of work that you are doing for your Metcalf?
A: The exact content of my Economics and Statistics coursework did not really translate to the things I did on a day-to-day basis, but it was the skills that I learned through taking challenging coursework in general that carried over. On a daily basis I had to be able to learn quickly about a subject matter that I knew very little about.
Q: What was going through your mind as you prepared and showed up for your first day on the job?
A: I wanted to be overly prepared, so I read up about my client with the documents they gave me and any supplementary information I found online so that I could leave a good impression on my first day.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your Metcalf, and how have you dealt with or overcome that challenge?
A: Learning at a fast pace all the time. The work rarely ever slows down, and if it does, you're probably not doing enough. It was also difficult adjusting to a working lifestyle at first and to a schedule that was set for me, whereas in college you plan your day out and when you want the work to get done. In the real world, it's very different because you have to work on everyone else's schedule.
Photo courtesy of Cindy Wang, Class of 2014
Q: What is the most interesting, memorable, or unique experience/assignment you have had while working in the capacity of your Metcalf?
A: The first day at the client side left an indelible impression on me. My manager gave me my task and told me it had to be done by 2 p.m. The assignment was also something I had never done before, and it was definitely daunting at first. Nonetheless, I completed it, and a week later it was presented to the clients as a final deliverable. It's hard to imagine that something I could accomplish as an intern could really be incorporated as part of the final recommendation.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned or the most rewarding experience you have had?
A: Don't be afraid to reach out to people. I asked a lot of managers and consultants to coffee and/or sat down with them for lunch to talk about their work. I always picked people who I found engaging and interesting and who possessed attributes I wanted to emulate. By reaching out, I met a great friend and mentor now. We even played softball for Accenture together.
Q: Is there anything else that you think would be particularly interesting or instructive to share?
A: Accenture's summer internship program also flies out all of its interns to St. Charles, IL, for a weekend, as part of the Student Leadership Conference. I met interns from across the U.S. who worked for different departments within Accenture. The four-day weekend was a great way to learn about our social styles while providing insight on Accenture's work culture.
UChicago Careers in Business (UCIB), a program of Career Advancement, is a selective, three-year program "designed in collaboration with the top-ranked University of Chicago Booth School of Business exclusively for undergraduates in the College." UCIB offers Jeff Metcalf internships, which are paid, substantive internships exclusively for UChicago undergraduates. For more information, visit the Metcalf Internship Program website.
Metcalf Internships are available to College students throughout the academic year, and especially during the summer internship season. To learn more about currently posted Metcalf Internships, log into your Chicago Career Connection account to search for opportunities, and to make an appointment with a Career Advancement adviser.