Internship Spotlight: McKinsey & Company

Tufts senior David Tan shared the following information about his internship with McKinsey & Company…

What was your role as an intern?

My role at McKinsey was a Business Analyst Intern.

How did you find this internship?

I found the internship opportunity through a cold call with a Tufts alumnus who currently works as an engagement manager McKinsey. Through our conversation, I was able to gain a new and relatively candid perspective of working at McKinsey. As the associate highlighted some of the ups and downs of his experience, I knew that working at McKinsey would be a rigorous but fulfilling opportunity.

What did you enjoy most about your internship? 

 My internship at McKinsey allowed me to gain unparalleled learning opportunities through solving complex and nuanced business problems and create a genuine impact on businesses through solving questions to which our clients don’t have the answers. From the very first week I was on the project team, I was held to the same expectations as a full-time consultant. This trust I received from my manager and senior leaders is really what defined my internship and allowed me to gain a realistic experience of what working at the firm was like. As a result, I was able to take on additional responsibilities that translated into unparalleled learning opportunities and chances to create additional impact for our client.

What did you find challenging?

The most challenging part about working in such a high-paced environment like this summer is learning to communicate efficiently. Since members of the team’s leadership were often busy with their own responsibilities, I had to maximize my time with them to receive the most comprehensive guidance on questions. Thus, for every meeting, I needed to learn the balance of conveying just enough information while not overwhelming them with unnecessary context.  This proved difficult for me at first, as I was preferred overcommunicating. However, throughout my internship, I became more proficient at identifying what is and what isn’t important.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?

My greatest advice for anyone who wants to make the most of any internship, not just one like mine, is to never think of yourself as just “the intern.” While it is easy to tell yourself that you’re not a full-time employee but only a student who is working temporarily, I believe that holding yourself to a higher expectation will enable maximization of learning and the impact you get to contribute to whatever your role is. Throughout my summer at McKinsey, I often told my manager to treat me like a full-time employee to enable a realistic experience of working as a consultant at the firm. As a result, I was able to gain additional opportunities, such as working independently on a workstream, typically not given to interns.

About the Organization

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey is a global management consulting firm committed to helping organizations accelerate sustainable and inclusive growth. McKinsey offers professional services to corporations, governments, and other organizations. Founded in 1926, McKinsey is the oldest and largest of the “Big 3” management consultancies (MBB). The firm mainly focuses on the finances and operations of their clients.

By Karen Dankers
Karen Dankers Associate Director, Director of Tufts Finance Initiative