Inside the Consulting Industry: Interview With Pamela Duncan on Her Role at Capgemeni Consulting

1) Hi Pam, can you tell us a little about yourself? (major at Colgate, what you were involved in while at school, where you are now)

I graduated from Colgate in 2014, where I majored in Political Science and minored in Economics (though I considered myself to be an unofficial Art History major). At Colgate, I was a Link, a Career Services Intern, an Admissions Tour Guide, in Gamma Phi Beta (House Manager), the VP of Panhellenic Recruitment, an SGA Senator, and lover of brown bags.

After graduation, I moved to New York City’s Upper West Side and returned to the Special Programming and Events team at The Museum of Modern Art, where I had interned the summer before. In March 2016, I joined Capgemini Consulting (CC) as a Consultant and am now living in beautiful Brooklyn Heights.

2) How did you go about looking for a career and land the job you’re at today?

Tons of networking. I am certain that I would not have landed this job had it not been for my connections (both Colgate and otherwise). I kept a detailed spreadsheet to track everyone who I was speaking with across several firms, so that I could be sure to send thank yous and to stay clear on the advice that each person gave me.

Speaking of thank you notes… remember to send them. I speak with a lot of Colgate students who are interested in consulting, and I love doing it. There are students who write me a thank you email and stay in touch, and those who do not. I remember (fondly) the people who say thank you. I also remember who has not said thank you. It is so simple, and it goes such a long way.

3) Can you elaborate on your daily operations? What do you think is unique about Capgemini or your position there as a Consultant?

Just like many consultants, I am staffed on a new project every few months – new client, new industry, new city, new team, new hotel… new everything. As a result, there is nothing “daily” about what I do, which is exciting and exhausting. Exciting because there is always the thrill that comes with novelty. Exhausting because I am rarely in my Comfort Zone, since everything is always new. The lovely thing about operating in your Stretch Zone, just outside of your Comfort Zone, is that it is there that learning and growth happens.

Back in May, I was based on a project in Houston. One week, the client needed someone to lead a series of workshops in another city, and my project manager decided that I should be the one to go. As a result, I flew to another city and led the all-day workshop sessions for 20 people at a time. Before that project started, leading a client workshop was definitely in my Stretch Zone as a Consultant in her first year of consulting. But being given this opportunity has expanded my Comfort Zone and has helped me grow. And that is pretty cool.

Because of the rotating, project-based nature of the industry, consulting provides ample opportunities to operate in your Stretch Zone… and therefore ample opportunities to expand your Comfort Zone.

4) Do you have any plugs on Capgemini for our members of Colgate Women in Business? What kind of people do you think would thrive in such an environment? 

I have been with CC for 18 months now, which I cannot believe; the time has absolutely flown. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Here are some of the things that I love most about CC:

  1. We operate as a fairly flat organization. I am a Consultant, which is the most entry-level position. When I offer my thoughts to a VP, I feel like my opinion is valued just as much as anyone else’s. I have found that at CC, ideas matter much more than your title does.
  2. We are integrating with Fahrenheit 212(F212), an innovation firm based in New York and London. CC acquired F212 in early 2016, and we are in the process of bringing together our unique offerings. In fact, we just moved into a hip new office together in Union Square this summer. CC has adopted some of F212’s practices, like giving each consultant a Personal Enrichment Credit every year; the Enrichment Credit is a lump sum that each person can spend on any class that expands her mind (think improve class, woodworking, golf lessons, etc.). I used my credit to take an intermediate Spanish class at Idlewild Books in the West Village; it was really fun to go back into student mode for a few hours each week.
  3. The people are unbelievably kind. I did not appreciate how much this would matter until I messed up… and then I understood. Instead of placing blame or blowing up, my incredibly generous colleagues first comforted me and then worked with me to create an action plan to resolve the issue. The people at CC lead with love. And when you’re traveling with these people Monday– Thursdayand working late nights with them, love is a critical piece of the puzzle.

5) What do you think were the most helpful resources while interviewing for jobs/internships? (either Colgate or non-Colgate is fine)

I was very lucky to have a great mentor, who is a family friend and Colgate alumna. She is essentially who I want to be, and I value her opinion immensely. I leaned on her heavily for her (very frank) advice, insight, and pep talks. It is very special if you find someone you both admire and click with; when that happens, don’t take it for granted.

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Day in the Life: Megan Semeraro’s Summer Internship Experience at Citi

Megan Semeraro, a senior member of Colgate Women in Business, interned as a Markets Summer Analyst at Citi. Check out her blog to learn more about her summer experience!

My Experience as a Markets Summer Analyst at Citi

Last summer, I was a Markets Summer Analyst at Citi. The program is ten weeks long and consists of a week of training followed by three different rotations. The rotations are on three different desks across different asset classes, which allows each intern to gain unique insight into the various aspects of sales and trading. Furthermore, most interns rotate throughout sales and trading desks to gain exposure into both types of desks and their roles. My rotations included Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO) Secondary Trading, Global Cash Equity Sales Trading, and Interest Rate Swaps Trading. Through these rotations, I learned a ton about a variety of different products and the markets for them. On an average day, I would spend a few hours sitting with people on my desk to learn more about the product they worked with and their specific role or type of client. I also spent time sitting with people on other desks to learn about products that I did not formally rotate through. The program is organized in a way that encourages interns to spend time on desks in every asset class, which is really helpful for seeing what could be a good fit if you want to have a full time career in markets. Each rotation also has a presentation that typically consists of different trade pitches to senior floor members. The presentation was usually with a group, and was a great way to learn how to work with other interns. The presentations were also a great way to meet people on different desks, as their expertise could be very helpful before presenting. The program has a good variety of individual work and learning from your desk.
The program at Citi also included a ton of opportunities to meet both other interns and full-time employees throughout the summer. The interns would have a “lunch and learn” at least once a week, which consisted of a presentation from a specific desk and time to ask questions afterwards. This more or less ensured that all the interns were introduced to desks in every asset class across sales and trading, and also was a great opportunity to network with desks that you want to learn more about. There were also various networking opportunities with more senior people in markets at Citi. These networking opportunities allowed interns to make strong connections during the summer. Additionally, each intern has a Junior Mentor and a Senior Mentor who can help you to navigate any challenges you may face. There are so many people who want you to succeed, which makes the process feel welcoming even as an intern. Citi also has incredibly strong women’s networks, and all female interns had multiple chances to meet senior women in markets. This women’s network allowed female interns to learn invaluable advice from women who have spent their careers in sales and trading.
Overall, I had an awesome experience as a Markets Summer Analyst at Citi. The program encourages interns to learn as much as they can while also giving plenty of opportunities to network and meet people across the firm. I am looking forward to joining Citi Markets full time this year. If you have any questions about sales and trading at Citi, feel free to email me at msemeraro@colgate.edu.

 

A Day in the Life at EY with CWiB President Siobhan Deacy

Last summer, Siobhan Deacy interned at Ernst & Young’s Business Advisory Program. As students decide what they’re looking for in a summer internship program, Siobhan provided a ‘day in the life’ at EY to tell us more about her summer experience. Siobhan will be starting a full time position at EY this fall! 

This previous summer I interned in Ernst & Young’s Business Advisory Program in New York City.  It was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain more insight and experience in the Consulting industry and better prepare me for knowing what I would want to do after graduation.  I was in a large group of interns in the NYC program and we were all assigned to different projects.  My project was focused on Regulatory Reporting for a large bank in NYC.  Below is an example of a day in the life of the internship program!

8:30-10:30:  I would typically arrive at the office around 8:30 am, along with the rest of my team (which varied from 5-7 people).  During this time, I would typically catch up on any emails  and then get ready for the daily phone call at 9:30.  This call consisted of members of my EY team coordinating with the members of the bank to discuss progress on our project and what needed to be done today.  I would listen in on these calls, take notes, and ask questions to my team after if I did not understand anything.  As these meetings continued I found myself understanding more and more of the calls and how it pertained to my project and team.

10:30-12:30: After the morning calls finished up, I would begin to work on any other tasks that my team had given me.  For one of these tasks, I was compiling the many deadlines for these reports to be filed for the Federal Reserve.  I made different powerpoint slides to display the timelines, which would be used in meeting with our EY teams.

12:30-1:30: Break for lunch.

1:30-2:30: Meeting with other EY teams at the bank.  There were several other teams from EY that were working on different projects at the same bank. Every couple of weeks there would be a meeting to coordinate between the different groups and see what everyone else was working on.  These meetings were interesting because I was able to talk to the other interns and hear about the projects they were on.  It also allowed me to network with other members of EY and hear about the different types of work that exist.

2:30-3:30: Web based learning tutorials from EY. These are usually online training modules for anything from using programs on your computer to onboarding for the company.

3:30-4:00: Meet with my Women’s Intern Mentor.  Each female intern was assigned a mentor who worked at EY.  Luckily, mine worked right near me, so we were able to connect a few times.  This allowed me to gain more perspective into her experience at the company and different projects.  Something that was really great about the EY program, was the amount of support you receive as an intern.

4:00-6:30: Travel to the EY office for an Intern networking event.  Throughout the summer there were many different Intern events that you could sign up to attend and network with members of the firm and other interns.  These events were great because I did not normally see the other interns, it also gave you more exposure to the firm as a whole.

The internship program at EY was overall a great experience that I would recommend to CWiB members!  Please feel free to email me if you have questions about anything: sdeacy@colgate.edu

 

Interview With CWiB Alum Elaina Atallah-Yunes

What is your current position and what does that entail?

I am a Staff in EY’s Operational Transaction Services group. OTS guides companies through mergers and divestitures from a variety of standpoints (Project Management, Finance & Accounting, Supply Chain, IT, Legal etc.) to ensure that the process not only goes smoothly, but that it is performed in a way that maximizes the value of the deal.

How did you find out about consulting and EY specifically?

I found out about consulting through the Consulting Panel at Sophomore Connections. There were alumnae from EY on the panel who I then followed up with one-on-one to learn about the firm itself.

What steps did you take while still at Colgate to land your job?

I made sure that I took on roles both on and off-campus that flexed my ability to work both quantitatively and qualitatively. I held finance and project management related roles in both CWiB and my greek organization. During my summer internships I expressed a desire to take on responsibilities and projects that would require me to work heavily with data to reach key business conclusions.

What are your responsibilities?

As a staff, I am supporting my teams in a variety of ways. I am responsible for tasks ranging from creating project plans and presentations to creating models to reach key business decisions. I have had the opportunity to even present and run meetings for C-Suite executives.

What does a career path look like in consulting?

There is no typical career path in consulting. People enter and exit (and re-enter) the industry at all phases of their careers. If you were to stay at a large firm your trajectory would typically look as follows:

Staff/Business Analyst

Senior/Associate

Manager

Senior Manager

Partner/Principal/Executive Director

How quickly you advance through these roles all depends on your performance and skill set.

What advice do you have for sophomores as they begin to narrow their career interests? What about for juniors as they enter their internships? For seniors entering their first year of employment?

Sophomores:

Talk to as many alumni as possible. Attend events such as Sophomore Connections, networking events, and/or recruiting events on campus. Reach out to alums via LinkedIn and iCan that work at companies/industries you are interested in.

Juniors:

As you enter your internships try to take on responsibilities that give you skills that translate into the industry you are interested in. For example, in consulting, try to find experiences that will build your quantitative analysis skills, ability to work in teams, and comfort presenting findings to clients/superiors. Most people do not have consulting internships going into full-time recruiting. Take advantage of the city of your internship and try to talk to as many alumni as possible and keep in contact with them throughout your senior year.

Seniors:

Enjoy your senior year!

Graduate School 101: Interview with Colgate Alum Sarah Haas

Many students are starting to think about the GRE and graduate school applications. Unfortunately, many are in the dark about how and when to begin preparing for the exam, where to apply, and how to decide whether graduate school is the best fit. Sarah Haas, a Colgate Class of 2016 Graduate, attends the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is currently earning her master’s degree in journalism. As a student at one of the top journalism schools in the country, there is no one better suited to answer the commonly asked questions about graduate school.

 

When did you make the decision to go to grad school, and how did you start preparing for the exam?

I made the decision to start looking into grad school after completing my junior year (2015). Getting my masters was not something I ever really considered, but my mother had mentioned it.. and I am so happy and thankful she did. I took the GRE that fall and started applying to grad schools that winter.

What has your experience been like so far at grad school? What skills are you learning to move you towards your career path?

My experience at grad school thus far has been absolutely incredible. I have acquired so many skills since starting the program this summer. Medill has really taught me how to be an excellent reporter, storyteller and communicator. Additionally, it has given me the confidence to network and really put myself out there, which will be a vital asset in establishing my career post-grad.

What real-life career experience have you gained so far?

Grad school has also provided me with real-life experiences I never would have imagined to have in my lifetime. I have met amazing individuals including politicians, activists, celebrities, authors you name it. All of these individuals have been more than friendly and more than willing to help me in terms of my career (think resume review, general advice and referrals) I’ve gone to new, unique and exciting places. I even just got back from a 9-day reporting assignment in Johannesburg where I met some amazing people and expanded my portfolio!

What advice would you give to students thinking about attending grad school or preparing for the GRE?

Research all of the programs you’re considering throughly, and reach out to the admissions counselors at these schools and current students! They’re generally really helpful and friendly, and can provide you with insight on the admissions process. In terms of the GRE, take as MANY full-length practice tests on the computer as you possibly can… including the essays! I know it’s annoying, but it will really put you in a test-day environment, and prepare you to take the long exam on the computer.

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Interview by: Sarah Kurland

More Tips for Navigating the Internship Search Abroad

tabytha

Hi! My name is Tabytha Ruben, I am a junior, and I study Political Science. This past semester I studied in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh. I had such an incredible semester – from spending time exploring Edinburgh itself to visiting other parts of the country and beyond. While I was focused on making the most of my experience, I also knew it was important to begin thinking ahead after my semester in Edinburgh. While summer seemed so far away, I began the recruitment process for various Summer Analyst Programs prior to my arrival. I’m not going to lie, this was incredibly difficult. The time difference alone, in terms of application deadlines and scheduling interviews, often left me frustrated and discouraged. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent either studying for interviews or getting in contact with alumni who could help me learn more about specific programs. I had to make a lot of sacrifices, but my hard work ultimately paid off. I was able to make the process manageable by budgeting my time efficiently; it was definitely helpful to try to set up interviews as far in advance as possible to plan my schedule accordingly. I think some of the most important takeaways for juggling a semester abroad and navigating the internship search is to maintain a good attitude (if you are starting this far in advance, you are bound to get something!), stay organized, and remember to have fun!

 

 

Navigating the Internship Search Abroad

Check out some tips for the abroad internship search from CWiB’s Spring Chief Communications Officer, Ellen Brunker ’18.

This fall I spent studying abroad in South Africa.  Studying abroad in the fall is sometimes not recommended because of all the on campus recruiting that goes on, but if you are proactive, very doable.  Below are a couple of tips I have for navigating the process!

  1. Start early – a lot of times companies have meet and greet networking events during the summer.  Try to make it to a couple of these, if possible, to meet people at the firm and help them get to know you as a candidate.  Further, it helps you decide if it is a career and position you want to pursue.

  2. Use the Colgate Connection – It can never be said enough.  The Colgate connection is amazing – while abroad, I was in contact with a Colgate Alum who knew of a different Alum in Cape Town, South Africa for the weekend.  We met up for coffee and I gained insights into various careers I was considering, as well as perspective on the application process. Colgate alumni, from my experience, are happy to and want to help you navigate the process – so be sure to utilize them!

  3. Network with the firm you are applying to.  At nearly every firm I had contacted or talked to an employee at, I got invited for a first round interview.  Those I had not, I never heard from. Reaching out and showing interest to the firm is so important for securing the first round interview.  It helps them pick you out from the pool of original applicants they receive.

  4. Research – make sure you know the company and the position you are applying for.  Read about them online through various resources such as Vault, the company website, and current news articles.  Being up to date on the company and its industry is important!
  5. Preparation – I reached out to Career Services for mock interview practice which I found very helpful.  It gives you the opportunity to practice rehearsing interview questions aloud and help you get comfortable with the interview format. In addition, many of my first round interviews were via Skype or phone call, so I googled interview tips and etiquette for that kind of interview as well.