My name is Aziza Salako, and I am currently a Credera 2018 summer intern with the Analytics and Business Intelligence Practice at Credera. When applying to Credera, the blog posts written by interns in 2016 were extremely helpful to me as they provided a very high-level perspective on what my summer would be like. My goal with this blog post is to achieve the same purpose, except that I would also like to provide specific tips for incoming interns in the following years.
More about me: I am a rising senior at Rice University hailing from the mighty village of Burr Ridge, Illinois. I am majoring in statistics and pursuing a certificate in civic leadership. Before coming to Credera, I had some basic programming experience in Python and R but had mainly studied the theoretical side of statistics including normalization, probability theories, and the theory of estimation. However, my time at Credera has been focused more on the real-life application as my project so far has focused on data warehousing and data visualization within the retail space.
As I reflect on my time at Credera, I would love to share my top 10 tips on preparing for your internship and how to make the most of it once you’re here.
before your internship
1. Do Your Research
The Credera website is teeming with information on past Credera projects and their client success stories. If you already know which practice you’re joining, this is a great time to read even more about what they do as well as the blog posts they’ve published. For example, one of my favorite blog posts explores the applications of machine learning. These days, machine learning is such a buzzword, but it was refreshing to see content published by Credera exploring the tangibility and usefulness of this buzzword on real business strategies and client use cases.
You’ve probably already accessed Glassdoor during the interview process and know how amazing it is. Don’t forget to give back to the Glassdoor community and write a review on your Credera interview experience. It doesn’t take much time, but your feedback will give many people in the future insight into applying at Credera.
2. Connect with Alumni from Your School Who Work at Credera
I was recruited to Credera by a Rice alumnus, but I also sought out other alumni who interned here in previous years to hear their experiences. This was extremely helpful, allowing me to ask questions frankly and get honest answers directly. You can easily find these resources via LinkedIn.
3. Reach out to Your Practice Leader
You’ll probably have some time between taking final exams and starting your internship. Once hired, it’s a good idea to reach out to your practice leader about the specific project or client they think you’ll be working on, and what kind of research you can do beforehand to be a little more prepared for the industry you’ll be working in. Make sure you save some time to relax before joining the “real world” too!
during your internship:
4. Network & Make New Friends
Go to happy hour events and team lunches! It’s important to bond with others on your team and get to know them better. It’s fun to have a close relationship with people in the office (and occasionally challenge some of them in Ping-Pong).
Reach out to Credera team members beyond your assigned buddy and mentor. There are group intern events scheduled almost every week, but it’s nice to spend time getting to know other consultants one-on-one. For example, I had lunch with a user experience (UX) art director on my client team recently. I learned that they do a lot of analytics work (my major of study at Rice) in UX, which was surprising to me. Branch outside of your practice and have some fun learning about what people in other groups do.
5. Ask for Feedback Often
Ask for feedback. Ask for feedback. Ask for feedback. From everyone you’ve worked with, on everything you’ve worked on. It’s always good to know what you’re doing well on and what you can improve on. Plus, it shows that you’re not only here for the experience, but to leave as a more well-rounded person who has experienced significant growth—the first mark of a good consultant!
6. Set Clear Expectations
Always ask for a deadline for your work. When your project manager (PM) gives you a new assignment, they might not know about your experience with that specific task. Make sure that you and your PM are aligned on what is expected of you out of the assignment and that you communicate how long you think it will take you to complete. This way you have a clear idea of the goals you need to set for yourself to get the work done on time.
7. Keep up With the News
Keeping up with the news is very important as a consultant. A lot of legislation and political decisions could impact our clients and how we serve them. For example, while interning here, California passed a new data privacy law, which essentially requires companies to offer their consumers the option to decline sharing personal information. This affects many aspects of business as we know it, including customer loyalty programs. Being aware of news in the business world is one of the most basic qualities a consultant should have. Two resources I love for business and technology news are Morning Brew and The Wall Street Journal.
8. Take Notes
Keep a notebook. This is a tried and true tactic when it comes to staying organized in the workplace. I didn’t use a notebook much before starting at Credera, but based on other consultants’ advice, I started keeping one. It helps me to stay organized with meeting notes, to-do lists, questions I want to ask, and reflections on my experience. Another side benefit is that it offers me a nice break from the very digital workplace we operate in nowadays.
9. Show Gratitude
Send thank you emails to those who have invested in you throughout the summer. Whether they’ve taken you for coffee, lunch, or have even just forwarded interesting research links your way, this shows you care that they took time for you, and you are committed to maintaining a relationship with them even past your summer at Credera.
10. Learn from Your Peers
Talk to your fellow interns about new things they’ve learned and the skills they’ve picked up. You are all learning together, so share all your experiences with each other. Don’t be afraid to hang out with your new coworkers outside the office either—going on lunches, weekend trips, or breaks for Boba Tea is a good way to make new friendships that can last long after your internship is over.
The Credera summer internship has been an incredible experience for me, from the recruiting process until the very end. It’s nice to know how you can make the most of your experience and I hope this blog post has offered a little more insight into how to make your summer here even more meaningful.
Many thanks to Jenna Swinney and Bobby Pennington for their assistance in editing and publishing this blog post.
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