The summer 2014 Gustav Säfwenberg, a graduate from Lund university, participated in the Swedish Summer Internship Program. Here you can read and learn about Gustav’s experience as a Summer Intern this summer.
Why did you choose to apply for Summer Internship?
I applied to BearingPoint because I wanted to do something challenging and something related to my education during the summer. The consulting industry has always interested me and this was a perfect opportunity for me to try the professional role as a consultant.
What did the interview process at BearingPoint look like?
After I sent in my application in the beginning of January I got a call a couple of weeks later where I was told that my profile looked interesting and got invited to an Assessment Day at their office in Stockholm.
During the Assessment Day, I had two different case interviews with experienced BearingPoint consultants. The case interviews lasted for one hour each and in addition to the case interviews there were also an IQ-test and a regular interview where we talked about my earlier experiences, my expectations and so forth. The whole Assessment Day took approximately four hours.
A couple of days after the Assessment Day, BearingPoint called and gave me the great news; they wanted to see me again but this time for a CV interview and another case. Luckily, I did well during this second round and after a few days BearingPoint called me again. This time they offered me the position as a Summer Intern!
How did you prepare for the interview?
First of all, I read a lot about BearingPoint, I read through their whole website, read about them on different forums and even asked friends if they had any information or impression about the firm. I did this because it was so much easier to stay calm and focused during the Assessment Day if you know as much as possible about the firm. The time spent reading about BearingPoint; who they are, what they do, their vision, what their areas of expertise are and so forth, was time well invested in my opinion.
In addition to reading a lot about the firm, I also spend A LOT of time practicing case interviews. I thought I came well prepared to the case interviews but in hindsight, I wish I practiced even more. The cases were tough and when you are nervous and have an experienced consultant in front of you that is analysing every word you say, you do not feel that confident anymore. If you have not practiced enough you are going to fail because of inexperience and nervousness. Practice makes perfect!
How would you describe the culture at BearingPoint?
The culture is one of the things I really like the most about BearingPoint! I would describe it in two words: friendly and professional. They are all very friendly and helpful. If you had a question or needed help, you never had to hesitate to ask someone. With this said, they also put high expectations on your work, so if you didn’t ask when unsure about something, there was a risk you didn’t do your task right and had to redo it.
Explain your first week at BearingPoint?
My first week was very intense. The first two days was spent at the office. I got my cell phone, my laptop and a lot of practical information.
The two different teams I was going to work with during the summer came by and presented the client and the project I was going to get involved with. After these two days it was straight to the first client with the Supply Chain Management team and start contribute to the project!
How did your mentor support you during the summer internship?
My mentor was like a predetermined buddy at BearingPoint. Even before the internship had started she invited me out to dinner were she answered all my questions I had prior to my start at BearingPoint. I could ask her anything (even the questions I thought were too dumb to ask). She really cared about me and always made sure that everything was all right, she even helped me extend the internship by one week.
What kind of tasks did you engage in during the Summer Internship?
I had two primary tasks during the internship. At one client, I investigated what KPIs the client was using. I got the information I needed by interviewing people from different departments and then listed them all in Excel.
During my second part of the internship I was implementing BearingPoint software at a client and tried to make sure everything worked as it was supposed to. I also helped other consultants when they needed a student’s point of perspective and helped creating PowerPoint presentations.
You have now worked as a summer intern for 7 weeks, and you have had the opportunity to work on two separate client engagement; how would you describe the work as a consultant?
I must say, the work is very varied! No day is like the other, which is very fun. You never get bored in what you do. Considering the two different projects I was involved in, they were so different; it was hard to realize that both these projects were from the same employer.
Working as a consultant also puts pressure on you, you always have to deliver and people count on you to do so. The work also include a lot of education; prior my internship I participated in three different core consultancy skills trainings preparing me for the coming weeks.
What has been the biggest challenge as a Summer Intern?
The biggest challenge was the fact that the client put very high expectations on my performance. Even though I had no experience in their field of work they expected that I could give them advise on what to do and what not. You had to act confident and try to understand what they were asking for and if you could not solve it by yourself you had to ask someone else.
Reflecting back on your summer at BearingPoint, what are your most valuable learnings?
The uttermost valuable learning from the Internship is how the mind-set in the consultancy industry works.
Now I understand why they have such demanding interview processes when hiring. The consultancy industry is not for everyone, you have to like to be under pressure, to get constant feedback on what you do and you have to be ready to walk the extra mile -every day.
In addition to gaining this insight about the industry and how it works I’ve also had the opportunity to work with very inspiring colleagues who have taught me a lot. When you work as a consultant you quickly realize that the real world isn’t exactly what they teach you in the University. The world is much more complex and there are often not one right answer on how to do things.
I would like to thank BearingPoint for the opportunity I got being a Summer Intern!