Interview of Marius Declerck, CEMS LSM Alumni (class of 2016)
- Why did I apply for an internship at BCG?
For quite some time now I’ve known that I want to do management consulting upon graduating from CEMS. This is so because I see management consulting as the ideal platform and stepping stone for a successful career in entrepreneurship – my ultimate goal.
Within consulting, BCG has always been first on my list because of the extremely enriching and fun experience I had during the BCG strategy cup (which I recommend to all CEMSies by the way!)
- Could you describe your role as a visiting associate (VA)?
The most incredible and fascinating part of doing an internship in consulting, I think, is that as a VA you are given the same responsibilities and are expected to perform at a level similar to that of full-time associates.
This entails performing analyses and meeting with clients independently. In consulting jargon, I would say that you are given a very high degree of control and ownership over your module.
- What did your typical day during your internship look like?
Start work at 8.30am, spend the first hour going over what you did the previous day and planning the coming day.
08.30 – 15.00: work on your module, run your analyses in Excel or other data analysis software, create the necessary slides, …
15.00 – 16.00: meet with your project leader to discuss progress, analysis outcome, data interpretation (& slide production) and critical review before delineating the next steps
16.00 – 21.00 : work further on your module
- What did you learn while working there?
So much! Truly, this is the most difficult question to answer because you are exposed to such a steep learning curve during your internship.
That said, the most important things I learned are:
1. Always start by clearly understanding and defining the problem.
2. Know what you want to show/tell the client before actually getting down to producing the slides that show this. That is, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.
3. Lastly, you learn to work a whole lot more efficiently with PPT and Excel. I can honestly say that I am 3x faster now than I was before.
- What did you find the most challenging?
Three things here:
1. The intense and demanding life style. Consulting demands that you work long hours, sometimes under serious pressure.
2. “Catching up” to the level of others in the firm. One key piece of advice: don’t panic if you are much slower during the first couple of weeks! BCG boasts some of the most intelligent students from various disciplines. Be humble and accept that you will be the most stupid person there for a while, but also proudly remember that you will catch up with them very quickly.
3. There is no room for inefficiency. The best way to embrace this is to practice the art of “planning before doing”. My advice to you: start practicing this at university. When you work in groups, or on individual assignments, always start your analysis by asking yourself the question: “what do I want to show here? what do I need to show this? how will I show it?” Once you’ve answered those questions, start executing your plan.
- Any advice for CEMSies planning to apply for an internship or a job in consultancy?
Just do it & don’t overthink it! Worst case scenario: you don’t like the consultant lifestyle and you change to something else after having learnt as much as possible.
Plus, if you’re hired, the BCG stamp will open up doors everywhere for you! So again, don’t think about it too much. If you’re not 100% sure about what you want to do after graduating, just give consulting a shot.
Regarding the interview rounds:
1. Practice, practice, practice. No need to read books forever. Just understand the basics, and then switch over to practicing with friends.
2. Figure out your list of company preferences. Apply to all possible consulting firms, and make sure your last interview is with your favorite firm. There is no better training than doing it real life!
3. Reach out to CEMS alumni working at the various firms (BCG alone has over 5 of them)
- On 8 March 2017
- 0 Comments