My College Career
By Lenya Aronof
After graduation, I am excited to work at Accenture as a Consulting Analyst. No, I did not join CCG or Source. No, I did not have a consulting internship the summer before. So what was it? The key for me was taking time to reflect on each experience to figure out where to go next.
First Year Reflections:
During my first year of college, I was interested in marketing since I enjoyed the client-facing work I had done in high school. That summer, I worked at a toy company as a Marketing Intern. After this internship, I realized that I enjoyed some elements of marketing, like market research and leading focus groups. But I also wanted to be involved in something bigger than myself, something that would positively impact others, rather than just sell toys. I decided that marketing and the toy industry was not right for me.
Second Year Reflections:
During my second year, I co-founded Claremont Women in Business (CWIB). In this role, I got to understand how something can be created from nothing. So when looking for my internship, I wanted an opportunity to develop my entrepreneurial and leadership skills.
That summer, I worked at a nonprofit startup called Envision Lead Grow (ELG). Like any startup, everything was a 24/7, fast-paced environment. On top of honing in my teaching, leadership, and analytical skills, I also learned that I loved working in volatile and uncertain situations because I enjoyed the challenge of rearranging my perfectly laid plans when unexpected issues arise. For instance, when counselors canceled a day or two before camp, it was up to me to rearrange the small groups. I was also good at translating complex entrepreneurial concepts to 5th grade girls. So moving forward, I knew for my next adventure, not only did I want roles where I would teach, lead, and analyze, but also be in constantly changing, complex environments with many moving pieces.
Third Year Reflections:
During my junior year, I was a founder of this publication, First Year Guide (FYG), and Sophomore Leadership Experience Leader (SLEader). Founding this publication was the biggest challenge I had taken on at that point. Instead of creating a club alongside a handful of amazing women, I was leading the change. I had to come up with a vision, assemble a team, and motivate team members to do their part. For someone who likes thinking long-term, I had to learn how to create deadlines and stick to it! But I did draw on past experience to adapt my schedule to unforeseen obstacles, like when important sources ignored staff writers’ emails.
As both a FYG and SLEader, I was responsible for developing leadership in underclassmen. I enjoyed making deep connections with my FYGlets and sophomores and found that I was good at asking questions to get meaningful insights.
Additionally, I took 3 analytical courses: corporate finance, econometrics, and research methods. In each of these courses, I developed different types of analytical thinking. One was future predictions on the value of a company’s assets. Another focused on how to apply statistics to solve economic questions. The last thought me how to think and conduct research like a scientist.
That summer I worked as a First Year Programs Intern with the Dean of Students Office. The role would be perfect for me, especially the task of training FYGs. I taught leadership skills to FYGs, built the program based on feedback from my fellow FYGs, and managed FYGs. Additionally, orientation was all about tackling unexpected challenges, from trainers canceling to orientation sessions not going as planned. Thus this role required leadership, analytical, organizational, and adaptability skills, all of which I had already experienced, but knew I could develop further.
Fourth Year Reflections:
In all of my experiences, I have gained insight into who I am. However, I realized that all of my most relevant experience was about developing student leadership. While this was great, I felt like I needed to explore more ways to develop leadership. With my interest in the business world from my involvement in CWIB, I believed that consulting would be a great place to explore different industries, work with many types of leaders, and possibly become a leader myself.
Throughout the consulting recruitment process, I presented my authentic self: a strategic big thinker who changes how to achieve the goal based on analyses of setbacks, enjoys developing close connections with select people, and is curious about the business world. Serendipitously, these were relevant skills for consulting.
I believe that today’s careers are labyrinths that start with internships. With my 3 internships, I experienced consumer products, nonprofit, and education. Next, I will dive into the consulting world, which explores several industries in and of itself.
While I cannot tell you why exactly Accenture offered me the job out of all their applicants, I can say that through each professional developmental experience, I reflected on what I did well, what I never wanted to do again, and which skills I could transfer to the next internship or job.