I will be honest with you — consulting companies intentionally try to make the internships as fun as possible so that you will want to come back. So burning out during an internship may be less of an issue than burning out as a full-time associate. I’ll address both.
Top firms want to give their summer internships a fun, successful summer, but they also want to expose them to the kind of work they will be doing as a full time employee. Expect to be staffed on a challenging project like any other new associate. You will be given a lot of guidance and training up front, and your engagement manager, as well as a peer mentor, will be checking in with you to make sure you are comfortable and confident in your work.
You will also be spoiled a little bit — enjoy it! There will be fine dinners, happy hours, perhaps concerts or other activities. All of these activities are great networking opportunities for you to meet managers and other decision makers in a relaxed, informal setting. These are the people who will be making staffing decisions later on, so getting to know them now will help you later.
So how do you prepare for the inevitable stress as a consultant?
The first step is to be cognizant of the pros and cons of a career in consulting and honest with yourself about whether it is the right fit for you. There will be times with long hours. Your supervisors will have high expectations of you and expect you to assimilate new knowledge quickly. Travelling is tiring.
Once you understand the requirements of the job, you can make plans to adjust to them. For example, you need to make sure you are eating well and exercising when you are on the road. If you know you’ll have a few late nights in a given week, you need to prepare for the physical toll that can take. You also need to be upfront with your loved ones about the rigors and requirements of the job.
However, I also suggest that you think about your mindset about stress. Think of competitive athletes. Some stress can get your adrenaline going and fuel performance. Where is that line between the positive benefits of being keyed up and the negative feeling of being overwhelmed, and what can you do to stay on the right side of the line?
Consulting Career Academy would love to have a conversation with you to answer any questions and propose the best approach for your management consulting career plans. For more information, Contact Us today.