The majority of HBS students choose to do an internship in between their first and second years. Some students choose to continue down paths they pursued prior to business school, while others use the summer to try out new function areas or industries. Nneka Ezeigwe (MBA 2015) is a former engineer who spent her summer working in consulting.
Where did you do your summer internship and what was your job function?
I did my summer internship at McKinsey and Company in the Lagos, Nigeria office. I worked as an Associate Consultant for an intensely rewarding 10 weeks. I had real responsibility engaging with clients and directing the trajectory of two very cool projects in the consumer goods space.
How did your RC year shape what you wanted to do last summer?
My RC year exposed me to a world outside of engineering. I really loved using data and limited information to decide the strategic direction of companies facing critical issues in the case method. This motivated me to aim for a consulting internship. I chose to work in a frontier market, as the stage of development of businesses there gave me a good chance of being involved in game changing decisions that could deeply impact companies and societies. I was not disappointed!
How did your summer internship change what you wanted to do in the long term?
My time at McKinsey motivated me to strive to apply the vast knowledge I would gain there towards a practical application in the long term. The phrase ‘knowledge is power’ really came alive to me at the end of the summer. I learned a lot and have begun thinking of how I can use this knowledge to create or improve on an existing business with potential for far-reaching societal impact.
How did you go about securing your summer internship? Did you make use of CPD or the alumni network?
HBS career resources made the summer internship search relatively painless. I applied for the position during the January recruiting week and the whole process took two weeks from first interview to receiving an offer.
What surprised you the most about your internship?
I was surprised by how applicable the knowledge I gained at HBS was. I previously thought of myself as a so-so student in Finance classes, but in McKinsey, I was really able to draw on finance skills I didn’t realize I had picked up from classes!
How did you use what you learned in your RC year in your summer internship?
The most applicable lessons I learned from my RC year were softer skills on leadership especially around aligning incentives. I was able to communicate to all the stakeholders on my project in the language they wanted to hear. Having this at the back of my mind helped me have very frictionless teams, which is really important in a collaborative environment like consulting.