Help needed - High school student seeks internship

internship
New answer on Nov 16, 2022
6 Answers
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Julian asked on Nov 14, 2022

Hi everyone, I am currently in my final year of high school and have a strong interest in consulting. Therefore, I would like to work and do internships for a year after my A-levels and before my studies. What do you guys think is a good next internship?

About my situation:
-last year of high school
-18 years old
-founded a start-up in the cosmetics industry 1.5 years ago
-already did an internship in consulting (KPMG)
-average grades

Looking forward to your answers and help

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Florian
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replied on Nov 15, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Love the long-term plan and perspective → you will get far with this attitude! :-)

Consulting firms value internships in the following order:

  • Other consulting firms (tier-2, boutique)
  • Large corporations and industry leaders (strategy role, biz dev, analytics anything that involves problem-solving)
  • Big Four and others
  • Impactful public sector work
  • Smaller corporations
  • Scale-ups
  • Start-ups

Given the fact that you are still in high school, some opportunities might not be available at this point.

I would prioritize it in the following way:

  • Get your grades in order. In some countries, high school grades are important (e.g., McKinsey in Germany) and will be considered even if you already have a master's degree. I know people who got rejected at screening just because of their high school grades
  • Get into a competitive degree program (anything goes as long as its a top school with a reputable program) and again, pay attention to your grades
  • While at uni, try to spend at least one term abroad and engage in some extracurricular (leadership) activities
  • Start networking with target firms early (not just consulting) and escalate the quality of your internships, e.g., in the first year it might be a B4 internship, in the second a large corp or a tier-2 consulting firm
  • Work on the relevant skillset and upon graduation, you will be ready for MBB

Take care and all the best!

Cheers,

Florian

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Francesco
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replied on Nov 15, 2022
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Hi Julian,

First of all, congratulations on having such a long-term perspective at such a young age! In terms of your question:

Q: What do you guys think is a good next internship?

The following should work well. Some options may not be possible due to your country and exact background:

  • Consulting (ideally strategy)
  • Startup (work for one)
  • Startup (make yours grow)
  • Strategy role in big brand
  • Investment banking

What works best also depends on your country. You can easily reverse-engineer the best options by looking at where current consultants in your target companies worked in the past.

Additionally, given you already have work experience, you may want to focus as well on the brand of the university you are going to choose. It is a lot easier to break into consulting from a target university.

Finally, I would also take into account what you like for the choice of an internship – I don’t think it makes much sense to get a job that you don’t like just because it makes it easier to move to consulting later on.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Clara
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replied on Nov 16, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello Julian, you certainly seem as a very enthousiastic person! QQ, how did you intern in KPMG during highschool, could you provide a bit of context there?

Cheers, 

Clara

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Julian on Nov 16, 2022

Hey Clara, thank you for your feedback. Sure, I'd be happy to do it: I have about 6 weeks of summer holidays at high school in Germany. I thought it would make sense to spend them doing an internship and since a family member was currently being advised/ concsulted by KPMG, he was able to do an intro to the people responsible. After that, I went through the application process and was accepted. Was I able to help with that?

Emily
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replied on Nov 15, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

I echo what Florian said - it’s great that you’re thinking this far ahead! 

I think that any internship which presents you with challenging situations which stretch you would be great. It’s wonderful to get big names on your CV, but you also need to have done something that you can speak about in interviews. Look for something which excites you and where you’ll have some level of responsibility.

I would though focus on your uni degree, getting excellent grades and taking on some leadership activities - be they in clubs or in the company you founded or an internship. This is what the Firms are ultimately looking for, not how many internships you’ve done.

Good luck! 

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Maikol
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replied on Nov 15, 2022
BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

I like your way of thinking.

First, focus on having great grades from a top university. 
Then have some interesting extra-curricular activities. 
As a last remark, it's never too early to learn to solve problems and communicate as an MBB consultant.

Here is my list of readings:

  • Good Strategy / Bad Strategy
  • The Crux
  • McKinsey Way
  • The Lords of Strategy
  • Pyramid Principle
  • Strategic Storytelling
  • Bullet Proof problem solving
  • Cracked it

Enjoy!

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Ian
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replied on Nov 14, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Julian,

Network with a ton  of people.

Apply to a ton of jobs.

In interviews, ask them questions to figure out if the role is right for you.

You need to go around and figure this out. Find out what you like and don't like and find roles that match you. We can't tell you what to do here my friend (sorry, such is life…it's your journey + internal search!)

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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