Thursday, September 18, 2014

What to expect in a consulting internship

By Ellen Gartner Phillips, MBA'15

Going through recruiting on campus last year with Deloitte Consulting, I was as proactive as possible about asking Kelley alumni what to expect in a consulting internship.

I was told throughout the process that I would be working on one project for the duration of the summer, and that I should expect to be filling the role of a Senior Consultant on my team.  Occasionally there were those random instances where someone ended up on multiple projects, but that was HIGHLY unlikely.

So, of course, that outlier ended up being my summer. And it was awesome. I had the fortune of experiencing three different projects with the same client, and had the opportunity to dive into multiple parts of a huge company. 

I got to see how Deloitte builds and manages relationships with its clients, as well as learn how to work with multiple managers on very different teams. I filled numerous roles and by week four of my summer I was presenting with our team to senior leadership in the client organization. 

People talked about the Core at Kelley being like drinking from a fire hose, and this experience truly opened the floodgates. 

I went in wanting to try on the ‘consulting lifestyle’, which everyone associates with travel.  I came away understanding that the consulting lifestyle does include a lot of travel, but that it is also about long hours with your team in a (more often than not) different room every day, being comfortable with ambiguity, and learning how to really unplug on the weekends. 

I learned how necessary it is to build a solid network you can trust, and started to understand how to best manage relationships within an organization.

I was continually impressed at the high bar that was set and that the teams I worked with had the client’s best interest in mind at all times. 

My fears that a ‘non-traditional’ background in music performance would hinder me were put to rest as I realized that I had been taught a way of thinking both through my training in music analysis as well as data synthesis.

So, how was my summer? Crazy. And amazing. 

I look at what I learned in 10 weeks: valuable perspective from the others in my intern class, that I could push myself further than I thought, and that I was well-equipped with the first year at Kelley under my belt. I am more excited to be back at Kelley as a second-year than I expected to be.  It’s invigorating to see the confidence that my classmates have come back with after their respective internships. It’s good to be home.


  1. As a future Kelley MBA student (Class of 2017) and an aspiring management consultant, reading your post was both helpful and inspiring so thank you Ellen for describing your internship experience with Deloitte!

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