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Undergraduate Summer Schemes

 
#1 Undergraduate Summer Schemes
02/01/2013 10:22

liverpoologic

I'm a first year undergraduate studying Linguistics at Cambridge,

I want to be a management or strategy consultant, preferably working in industry rather than the financial sector.

I have a 3 month summer, and think it will look like a big blank space on my CV if I don't get an internship / job. However, all the consulting summer schemes I can find seem to only take students in their penultimate year.

Is there anywhere that might take me this summer? Or anything else I could be doing that would help my application for the internship schemes next year?

Thanks

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#2 RE: Undergraduate Summer Schemes
02/01/2013 10:38

marsday to liverpoologic (#1)

summer off in your 1st year wont look like a gap on your CV at all. Any working experience at all will look good - whether an internship at McKinsey or stacking shelves in your local supermarket. What you need to remember is that when you graduate and are hired into MC you will know nothing - you are a resource to be shaped and moulded so dont worry too much about internships - they are far less prevalent in consulting than in the banking sector, where a successful internship is almost essential to get a grad offer these days.

A good place to start for next summer is - networking. As a Cambs undergrad you already have access to one of the best alumnus networks in the world, so use it; you will be pleasantly suprised how willing senior people are to make time for a coffee with an enthusiastic potential applicant, especially if they also attended the same university or business school. Just remember to focus on them - what attracted them to consulting, to their firm, to their industry/vertical focus? Also try and get some time talking with analysts and consultants to see what consulting is really like and help determine whether you will enjoy it.

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#3 RE: Undergraduate Summer Schemes
02/01/2013 12:50

Anon66 to marsday (#2)

I would concur that a gap in your CV in first year will not look weak. Work will be a plus, but I wont go as far as Mars to say that shelf stacking would be seen as productive (I did this for financial reasons - but it didn't even make my CV!).

When we look to hire undergrads, we generally look at:

- Extracurriculars. Ideally try to lead one substantial society (Varsity, Union, CUSU, Boat Club, JCR, etc...) or several smaller ones. The aim is to show (i) leadership and (ii) transformation/change

- Grades. Do not let yourself slip into 2:2 territory.

- Work. I had no internships whatsoever and got interviews at MBB based on above. However, particularly for a linguist, being able to demonstrate some business sense is important, whether through internships or volunteering or clubs/societies. Remember the experience is key - we prefer high impact roles even at small firms (e.g. running your own start up) than irrelevant big brand experience (e.g. trading at GS). A second year internship is fine.

- Interest. Unfortunately lots of amazing people from Cambridge apply each year. Make your CV stand out

- Languages.

I would focus on these things in your first year, but not worry if your Summer looks empty.

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#4 RE: Undergraduate Summer Schemes
02/01/2013 13:41

marsday to Anon66 (#3)

Anon66 I think it unlikely that the OP would actually wind up stacking shelves in the summer - I was intending to just highlight that most work experience will be useful at the very least to demonstrate simple soft skills such as punctuality, work ethic, able to work with colleagues etc.

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