Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to do for a career, I always had the same answer.
Solve a variety of problems, in a variety of ways, using a variety of methods.
Sounds good, right? But finding out what career path would allow me to do that was the hard part. When I arrived at Carnegie Mellon, I knew that consulting and investment banking were the two tracks that students typically aligned themselves into. Because of that, I started doing some more research on each of those career paths. I figured out what kinds of problems I would be solving, what environment I’d be working in, and some of the top firms I would be targeting coming out of undergrad.
Starting with Finance
During my sophomore year, I settled on a concentration in Finance. It was the most interesting path for me, and I knew it would open lots of doors down the road. I began to do some research on internships for sophomore Finance students, and I was fortunate to secure an internship at Verizon in their Finance Leadership Development Program. During that summer, I learned how to ask the right questions, what a consulting process could look like, and how to craft a final presentation to influence stakeholders. It was a valuable stepping stone to my next year at CMU, when I joined the Undergraduate Consulting Club.
Consulting Becomes a Reality
The UCC threw me head-first into real consulting work. I learned the methodologies and frameworks that real consultants use and heard from alumni on how to best navigate the recruitment process. I worked on pro-bono consulting projects to gain experience and present to more stakeholders. At the end of the year, I was elected Executive Vice President of the club and knew that consulting was the trail I wanted to blaze.
My course load in my junior year also helped solidify the path I wanted to take. I enjoyed the Finance courses I took, but not as much as those centered around corporate strategy or business presentations. My consulting-based courses possessed the problem-solving aspect I wanted, while having a highly collaborative nature that made working on projects fun.
I spent the summer after my junior year at Verizon for a second rotation in their FLDP, learning more about the company and the telecommunications industry. I was promoted to team leader for that summer, and learned the most effective techniques to guide others along in the internship process. At the end of the summer, I felt I had been equipped with the skills I needed to make an impact on the other members of the UCC, and to finally secure a job in the consulting field.
Recruitment and the Next Chapter
After a long recruitment season, I was happy to accept an offer at Accenture as an incoming Strategy Analyst. I know my time at CMU was well-spent, and I hope to help underclassmen as much as I can. My advice to younger students is to keep trying and persevering, no matter what. You’ll inevitably experience some setbacks along the way, but as long as you have clear goals and a strong mindset, you’ll accomplish anything you want, regardless of the industry. Good luck!