This summer I embarked upon an internship journey at L.E.K. Consulting. As one of the many Northwestern students who lives and breathes consulting, I couldn’t wait to finally get a first-hand taste of this industry I had so aggressively been pursuing. The journey started off with a bang as L.E.K. took all the new summer associates and consultants from across the country to Cape Cod for a week of beautiful views and learning L.E.K. standards. Although I know many firms treat their interns to similar training weeks in cool destinations, the one thing that stuck out to me that week was the tight knit feel of the smaller firm. I became close friends with the other 15 summer associates and had a great time getting to know the MBA consultants also, as we spent evenings on the beach relaxing and enjoying some good New England cuisine.

The next week the real work started as I came back to the Chicago office to start my next eight weeks of the internship. Over the course of my time here I got to work on four different case teams, once again something that not a lot of other consulting internships offer. Although I didn’t see my cases from start to finish, I did get to see all parts of a case with one team or another. I had three Medtech-related cases and one food and beverage case, and four different groups of people to work with. The summer wasn’t all work and no play, though. L.E.K. let us interns do some pretty fun things outside of office as well, all of which added to the tight-knit atmosphere that I felt at L.E.K. We had a few happy hours and nice dinners, watched a show at Second City, and went to a rooftop Cubs game.

I’ll admit to having many emotions over the course of the summer. Some weeks the hours were long and I felt like what I was doing was maybe unimportant or boring. Other weeks I interacted directly with partners and couldn’t wait to do the tasks I had been given. With this said, the thing I appreciated the most about my summer internship with L.E.K. was the honesty of the experience. No one tried to sugar coat things, people told me the truth about the pros and cons of the job, and I got to experience the true life of a first year associate. Through the ups and downs though, it was the mentorship and camaraderie I found both inside and outside of the office that made the late nights a little better and the good days great. Outside of the built-in mentors I found within my case teams, L.E.K. gave me two formal mentors for interns. I had my “buddy” Lily, a first year associate who taught me the foodie ways of a true Chicagoan and always made me feel welcomed and included. Then I had my career development coach Riley, who was always looking out for me and with whom I could discuss anything L.E.K.-related and not.

I learned so much over the course of my short nine weeks at L.E.K. Whether it had to do with Excel, or researching, or just how to approach a problem and think strategically, I gained a wealth of new knowledge and great new group of mentors and colleagues. Thank you L.E.K.!