Key Ways Spring Semester Prepared me for my Consulting Internship

by Mark Geskermann, MBA ’16

Mark Geskermann, MBA '16
Deciding on an immersion is what I imagine choosing a favorite child is like for parents. Alright, I admit that’s a bit exaggerated, but it was still a tough choice. Second semester proved to be critical in preparing me for my summer internship at the Boston Consulting Group.

As I was focusing in on how I should use the spring semester to prepare for my internship, I received some excellent advice from a Johnson alumnus during a networking session in the fall, “focus on filling in your professional gaps.” I identified potential gaps and went about identifying classes that would fulfill those areas. The Customized Immersion provided the ability to hand-select applicable classes across a wide-range of subject areas during the spring semester. The primary gaps identified were day-to-day technical consulting skills and the healthcare industry.

Gap #1: Day-to-day technical consulting skills
For me, this included PowerPoint and presenting complex information.

Solution: Management Cases. A lot of people will tell you that this is their favorite class at Johnson, and for good reason. This forces immersion in an industry you likely know nothing about, decipher key issues, formulate practical solutions, and articulate results in 10-15 slides.

Outcome: I can reflect on multiple instances during my internship where lessons learned in Management Cases allowed me to work more effectively on my module within the case and deliver client-ready materials.

Gap #2: The healthcare industry
By no means was this a prerequisite to my internship, but it was something that I have a strong interest in with it ranking highest in my industry preferences. Additionally, it is likely a major share of almost any consulting firm’s client portfolio. That being said, I had no recent professional healthcare experience.

Solution: Complete two classes in the Masters of Health Administration program at Cornell (Key Management Issues in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical Industries, and Big Data in Healthcare.)

Outcome: While nothing truly replaces first-hand industry experience, learning the lingo, major players, and key dynamics in a structured setting prepared me well as I was staffed to a healthcare insurance client.

The Customized Immersion was the right choice for me. It provided the ability to fill in two key gaps with challenging classes that prepared me well for my summer internship and contributed to converting a full-time job offer. At Johnson, this is the trend, not the exception. Many classmates with far different professional and educational experiences than I identified the right immersion learning program for them, enabling them to shine at various consulting firms.

The spring semester of your first year at Johnson is a chance to try something new, challenge a weakness, and leave your academic comfort zone – all with the intention of preparing you to ace your summer internship. And, it works!