What are you doing this summer? We asked rising second-year MBA students to check in from their summer internships, where they are applying the lessons of their first year at Yale SOM.
Divya Srinivasan ’16
Internship: Summer Associate, McKinsey & Company – Stamford, Connecticut
Home country/state: Great Falls, Virginia
Favorite Yale SOM class: (1) Competitor, (2) Health Policy, Finance, and Economics, (3) Customer (you can’t just choose one!)
Clubs & Affiliations: Managing Editor for Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, CDO Chair for Student Government
When I was younger, car rides would consist of benign casing experiments: How many cars pass through a toll booth every hour? How would you help Walmart design a better floor plan? I wasn’t a precocious child or an innate consultant—I just happened to be the daughter of one. I spent years listening to my dad’s newest stories on the job, being the happy beneficiary of free business-class upgrades on trips to India, jumping on beds in fancy hotels, traveling to really cool places, and getting free casing practice in preparation for consulting interviews I didn’t think I would do.
Fast forward a decade or so, and I’ve gotten to see what consulting looks like through my summer internship at McKinsey. The experience has been phenomenal for a number of reasons; I’ll list three (yes, I’m using the “Rule of 3”):
- The People: I can’t stress this enough—the best part of the recruiting process and the summer for me has been the people. Consulting draws incredible talent from all industries and functions, resulting in a rich learning environment. More than that, people at the firm have been incredibly invested in my growth.
An example that comes to mind is a conversation one of my mentors and I had mid-way through my internship. At that point, I had done two projects in pharmaceuticals and was looking to get exposure to payor/provider studies. I casually mentioned that I’d love to meet more people in the firm who could give me exposure to those sectors. Within 10 minutes of that conversation, this person connected me to a friend of theirs. That friend has since taken it upon herself to give me projects in both the payor and provider realms. Tomorrow, I’ll be flying to Mexico City to help improve patient care for some of the highest unmet-need patients. This was all made possible by people who believed in me and wanted to support my passions.
- The Skillset You Develop: Looking at the list of Fortune 500 CEOs, you are likely to find that a large percentage of them have done their time at consulting firms. Through client work, you get exposure to the world’s biggest business leaders and have the opportunity to learn from them. Moreover, consulting firms offer rigorous training and feedback both on and off the job, giving you the foundation you need to run a large organization one day. On the job, I’ve polished my communication skills, developed tactical PowerPoint/Excel skills, built a strong analytical foundation, and learned the importance of structure.
- The Work: Friends of mine from different walks of life who had done consulting raved about the cool projects they’d been able to do. Stories like “I helped arrest the Ebola crisis” or “I worked with a client to restructure their business and lift them out of bankruptcy” seemed to come up on a regular basis. Consulting enables you to have access to high-impact work and solve some of business’ biggest challenges. In just a short 10 weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to:
- Develop a training strategy for a patient services role that could have tremendous impact on the quality of life for about 5,000 patients who suffer from a rare disease
- Analyze the competitive landscape for a large pharmaceutical compound and inform recommendations on how the client should price its drugs going forward
- Work on a confidential project within the payor sector
- Build a set of initiatives to improve patient care in Mexico that will transform access to basic healthcare services
Coming upon the end of my internship experience, I am amazed by how much I’ve learned and experienced in such a short time. More importantly, I feel energized and excited to take my learnings and apply them in the classroom in a few short weeks.