Friday, July 11, 2008

Management Consulting Summer Internship in Sydney – Week 1-2

We started our internship with 3-day training in resort in cape-cod. We were all provided lavish rooms in villas on the resort and most of the training took place in the conference rooms in the villa. The event as much for socializing with other interns form all over world as familiarizing us with tools used by the firm. Also included were case practice and sessions to help us understand what to expect in the consulting world. I particularly enjoyed the social events in the evening; casino night was easily my favorite.

After a long flight we reached Sydney on Monday and were glad that we didn’t have to go to work today. I joined another intern to explore the surroundings and get a first look at Sydney. At first impressions I compared Sydney to New York, lot smaller with little more culture and lot more flair, ah and of course lot better weather too.

View of Sydney harbour bridge from down the street

Our office was on the 22nd floor right in downtown with a great view of the opera house, Sydney harbor and the bridge. You feel truly blessed to have such a view at work. We figured that concentrating on work would be a challenge to which our manger joked about putting us on the opposite side of the building but thankfully didn’t. We were setup with laptops and familiarized with the processes and policies. The rest of the week was slow as we got onboard and up to speed on the project. We did get opportunities to meet with partners and they briefed on some of the work they were doing. I was amazed at both the quality of the work and opportunities to make such a huge impact. It all sounded very interesting. Some of the B-school myths about consulting were getting cleared.
View from our office

There were 4 interns from US B-schools HBS, Tuck, Hass and Darden (me) and one from Melbourne Business school. The US school interns were all based in Sydney, by choice. I was assigned to a project for one of the big banks in Australia. However, the client suddenly decided to cut back on costs as it approached end of financial year (End of July in Australia) as a result the project was delayed. As an intern, it was not possible for me to wait so they reassigned me very quickly to a project for a telecom client. This work pertained more to organizational change and turnaround, which I had no previous experience in and hence very excited to pursue. I always thought I would be pretty good in organizational issues through my years of experience in service industry but I guess I’ll find out soon. IN spite of quick reassignment I had free time on Thursday and I was offered an opportunity to leave early and explore Sydney. I took the opportunity and headed to check out Bondi Beach which though not crowded was a good sight. I still firmly believe that nothing can beat the beaches back home in Goa.

Bondi Beach
The weekend the office headed for a Ski-trip offsite to Thredbo. The winter here has just about started and we landed their on the first weekend the Ski slopes opened. Rumour has it the entire event was moved up so that Summer Associates could participate. That would make us an unpopular group but if the office folks felt such emotions they did a good job of hiding it! With only one ski slope open most people chose to skip skiing in favor of hike to Mt. Kosciusko. There was plenty of snow around and it was just slightly above freezing. The 3 hour hike and back was delightful. A small group of us had some extra fun slipping and sliding on the slopes rather than sticking to the trail. The scenery around was beautiful and especially so while sitting on the lift up and down as it allowed us time to view and absorb it. Later that night we had bit party at the local bars and club. It started just before the France-Australia rugby test and went late into the night. The dinner and drink expenses were all borne by our firm which I thought was exceptional generosity. My HBS-buddy and me ordered a Kangaroo and we had the pleasure of cooking it as well. It’s very common to find “cook it yourself” places in Australia apparently and I enjoyed both the Kangaroo and the experience of cooking it.

On our way up to Mt kosciusko

Next morning we tried a run on the bob-sled which was lot of fun. On our way back our colleagues were generous enough to divert to Canberra to give us a glimpse of the city. We also stopped by parliament building for a few minutes. We were back in Sydney late evening. I reflected on the exciting and eventful first 2 weeks on my internship.

Parliment building in Canberra
To be continued…

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