Jane Kennedy is an MBA2, specializing in strategy, entrepreneurship, and data analytics. Prior to Stern, Jane worked at REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform non-profit. This summer, Jane interned at McKinsey in Washington, DC and will be returning there after graduation. Additionally, Jane is involved in the Management Consulting Association, SGOV, and the NYU Catholic Graduate community.
The leaves are changing, the sun is shining, and I’m back at Stern to kick off my second year! It’s wild to think about how much has happened since last fall. I remember so vividly being on campus for LAUNCH Orientation, sitting nervously in the first Management Consulting Association (MCA) bootcamp session, and attending as many events as possible to meet new friends. Now, it’s the MBA1’s turn to experience the flurry of excitement, anxiety, and activity that is the first semester of business school – and I’m thrilled for them.
It was in that first semester that so much of my internship process happened. Coming into Stern, I was set on pivoting into consulting after a couple of years in tech and a couple of years at a criminal justice reform nonprofit. I knew that the road ahead of me was going to be challenging – learning to case is not for the faint of heart! Still, I saw how dedicated the MBA2s were to our success, and their encouragement and coaching carried me through the fall and through recruiting season, all the way to receiving my dream internship offer: a summer at McKinsey’s DC office!
I had lived in DC before school, and so I knew what to expect when it came to living in the District. But a summer of consulting? I had no idea what it was all about.
During our first week, we traveled to a training where we got to meet other interns from a few offices. It was a crash course in all things McKinsey. I learned about their problem-solving method, worked with a small group to “crack” some fascinating cases, and spent time with managers at the firm, soaking up all their wisdom and advice. Then, it was back to DC where I would meet my team and get to work.
Consulting is a nebulous field, and no two days are the “same,” however, I saw that there was a pattern to the work we did. At the top of the week, we would jump into working on a specific question or area of the overall problem to solve. I would do research, conduct interviews, build analyses, and lay out the findings on pages (what McKinsey calls slides). We had frequent meetings with our clients, where we would share our progress and receive continued guidance as we worked towards our final deliverables. The work was fascinating and engaging. My brain was “on” all day, and there were many days that left me stunned by how much output we had created in just 8 hours.
I loved my summer at McKinsey, and (because I’m a consultant now!) I’ll break it down into three reasons why.
First, my team was deeply invested in my development.
They spent copious amounts of time helping me figure out what I was doing, offering feedback and coaching on my work, and giving me opportunities to shine in front of partners and clients. My team was hands down the best part of the experience.
Second, I was able to do “real work.”
Many times, interns are relegated to the back row and given “play work,” but that was not the case for me this summer. I was able to lead my own workstream and offer solutions and suggestions that helped the team shape our approach.
Third, I had tons of exposure to experts and firm leaders.
Not a week went by that I didn’t present some aspect of my work to a partner or senior partner. I was encouraged to build relationships with not only our project’s leadership, but with partners across the firm. This “flat structure” allowed me to see so much more of the firm and it helped me feel even more excited to accept McKinsey’s full time offer and return as an Associate after graduation!
I’m so happy to be back on campus and in the classroom this year, and I’m especially excited to help the MBA1s as they embark on their own internship journeys. I hope that every Sternie can find a role this summer that challenges them to be their best and leaves them more confident and encouraged than when they started out. We’re all in it together!