by Michael Ditter, MBA ’14
SGE immersion helps prepare student for the ambiguity of a consulting project.
Accenture estimates that by 2017 public exchanges will expand in order to provide access to standardize healthcare coverage for an estimated 30 million Americans. Over the summer I had the privilege of working to help make this a reality. I worked as an intern for Accenture Management Consulting in their Industry Strategy – Health and Public Service Practice, working on a health insurance project for a large payer looking to sell their products on the new health insurance exchanges.
I was based out of Accenture’s New York City office and worked with about 20 other interns from top business schools like Wharton, Stern, and Duke. The large size of the group made for a fun summer, and we formed a close cohort, similar to what you might find at Johnson and in the SGE immersion. Between a boat cruise, cooking lessons and various intern trips, there were many opportunities to bond, collaborate across projects, and build relationships that will last far beyond the internship.
I suppose the relationships I built are one of the aspects I find so appealing about Accenture. The people are great! (With a strong Johnson alumni network within the firm, why won’t they?) Whether I was working on my project on-site or in the office, I knew that I always had the support of the incredible Johnson network and the confidence to excel with the first year of my MBA under my belt.
Thinking back on experiences that helped prepare me for my internship, I would highlight my SGE project experience in the second semester. No matter where you go, you will always face ambiguity and difficult client partners. Having a “real world” experience in the spring before my internship reinforced a set of tools I could apply, like how to manage a difficult relationship, how to ask the right questions and how to focus on the key issues. Whether you are trying to evaluate a model to bring insulin to diabetics in India, as I did on my immersion project, or to evaluate the readiness of a company to sell new health insurance products to millions of Americans, the same tool kit can be adapted.
Finally, on a lighter note, I had an interesting summer of travel spending time in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Atlanta and New York. And while the delays were bad with over 33 hours total this summer, including two cancelled flights and 4.5 hours on the tarmac one evening I turned lemons into lemonade as best I could. If a flight was delayed it always turned into an opportunity to bond with teammates on the project and fellow travelers.