Give the Hard Project to the Boothies

This summer, I gained my first exposure to strategy consulting and had the chance to see the educational grounding from Y1 at Booth come to life. Which was especially useful when tackling what my bosses described as “the most challenging project of the summer.”

I am interning in New York City with IBM’s Digital Strategy team. Together with the IBM iX team, we offer digital and strategic solutions and insights to our clients’ most complicated questions. I was excited to join the team for the summer to get my feet wet in strategy consulting and to collaborate with the design experts on the iX team.

Also, as of last year, I was the only remaining member of my direct family to have not lived in NYC, something I can finally check off the bucket list.

The start of the summer was fantastic as our small class of 11 interns went around hearing from different Partners within the practice, taking part in team bonding activities, like escape rooms, happy hours, etc, and sharpening our PowerPoint and Excel skills.

The sudden plot twist for me came on the last day of that first week. Two of the internship program leaders sat us all down individually to present a manila envelope with background information on our respective client and project. When it was my turn, they glanced at each other and cautiously began describing what my role would be on “the most challenging project of the summer.”

Was it the hours? Too much data? Too little data? Maybe a demanding client environment? Turns out it was all the above. The saving grace, however, came when the leaders informed me that I would be traveling every week with my good friend and fellow Boothie, Surbi Luhadia!

We also would have the pleasure of working with Booth ’17 alum, Ricardo Cucalon, on the same project. It was fun to swap stories and discover commonalities between the three of us, such as our love for Professor Goolsbee’s Platform Competition class.

Together, our team of 15+ consultants and data scientists were working towards a common goal of discovering margin opportunity through changes to the client’s base pricing / promotion / discount initiatives in a short time frame. In simpler terms, how could the company make more money and keep more of it?

As the summer progressed, our responsibilities grew to include research into the impacts of the new tariffs on the client and its suppliers, as well as other various topics such as inventory management and in store product placement.

The first major takeaway… LaGuardia Airport certainly can throw some curveballs. I need to take a bus to a bus to a shuttle to reach my rental car? I can hear my peers in operations cringing.

On a more serious note, the strength and breadth of the Booth community was truly amazing to witness throughout the summer. Not only was I able to interact with Boothies at my job, but during the summer I attended a fun dinner in Manhattan hosted by Dean Stacey Kole and Associate Dean Julie Morton as well as various student events (a lot of rooftops) hosted by our City Captains.

It was also amazing to see the educational grounding I received in year one at Booth come to life. I loved being able to share new terminology and insights from Platform Competition, discuss unique examples of historical tariffs I learned in Managing the Firm in the Global Economy, and even flex some derivative skills from Micro.

I have 1.5 more weeks of my internship left, and a few more here in New York. It has been an amazing summer but I cannot wait to get back on campus to be reunited with all my classmates and kick off Year 2!

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