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Starting an Internship with Simon-Kucher and Partners

Harshika asked on Apr 15, 2019

Hi, I am starting an internship in the Life Sciences Division of Simon-Kucher in a month's time. Any tips on how to prepare myself? I am a little weak with excel modelling. I might need to use/develop a number of pricing tools during my time there and would love to begin with my practice well in advance.

Can I please have some tips for the same and any other suggestions on how to prepare for the internship?

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Francesco replied on Apr 16, 2019
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Hi Harshika,

congratulations on your offer! If you want to prepare in advance before you start, I would recommend working on technical, communication and stress management skills.

  • On the technical side, Excel will be the most important technical thing to master at the beginning, in particular for VLOOKUPs and Pivot tables; you could also review PowerPoint, which you will also use quite a lot.
    • At BCG we got learning courses we could use to improve on them, and I guess you will receive the same at SK, but so far that you have already mastered the skills before joining (you can find several courses online for both), even better.
    • Tip for Excel: learn how to use as much as possible the keyword and relegate the touchpad to the minimum – this will skyrocket your productivity in the long term. Some computer programs such as KeyRocket provide tips to improve on this.
  • For what concerns communication, I would recommend the classic book on the topic: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
  • For stress management, I would recommend two books:
    • The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod – great tips to start in the right way your day
    • The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz – a great sum up of some of the best tips be positive, productive and achieve more

Below you can also find a list of things that could be useful to practice during your first weeks:

  1. Take notes when your manager tells you something – this will help you to remember details and will show you care about them to the team.
  2. Always double check. The first impression is very important in consulting: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you create a reputation of a reliable person. Double checks should be done on expectations for your job, your excel analysis, your slides – basically everything.
  3. Define priorities before starting any set of tasks. The majority of the results usually come from a subset of activities – this is true also for your tasks in consulting. You have to identify which they are and prioritize them – the application of the so-called 80-20 rule or Pareto Principle.
  4. Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. Consulting is a people business and you should build a good network both within and outside the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term
  5. Organize your private life activities. You want to organize your calendar to leave some space for personal activities (sport/ friends/ family). This is not easy but can be managed if you organize well, and long-term will be critical to keep a balance between work and private life. Also, it is better to align with your manager/teammates from the beginning on your core needs, so that there are no surprises later on.
  6. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  7. Ask for help when you don't know what to do – better to let know you are in trouble with meeting a deadline then missing the deadline.
  8. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Thanks Francesco, very helpful!! — Harshika on Apr 17, 2019

Serhat replied on Apr 25, 2019
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Agreeing with our experts' suggestions, learning more about previous studies of the company in the Life Sciences field also can help you to understand what kind of studies potentially you will do. (e.g. public reports etc)

Cheers
Serhat

Vlad replied on Apr 15, 2019
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Hi,

1) Excel and Financial modeling - the best course I know is Training The Street. Take Financial Modeling, Valuation, Maybe LBO. They have the amazing templates that you have to repsoduceto be able to do that fast.

The key thing - throw away your mouse and put some tape on your touchpad. Do everything with your keyboard!

2) Power Point

  • First, read "Say it with charts" and "Pyramid Principle".
  • As a next step Google for MBB presentations on SlideShare and try to replicate them in PPT.
  • Finally, take MBAsome cases (HBS or any other) and try to derive the conclusions and put them on slides using MBB styles.

And finally - take a long vacation before starting your job;)

Good Luck!

Thank you Vlad! — Harshika on Apr 17, 2019

AnthonyConstantinouCEOCWMFX replied on Apr 16, 2019

Undoubtedly excel is the most important thing to learn before starting an internship. Anthony Constantinou CEO CWM FX would suggest you to do thorough research online as well as read documents, and participate in general discussion forums to get initial idea about important things.

Great, thanks! — Harshika on Apr 17, 2019

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