Our CRA summer intern experience

Our CRA summer intern experience

Meet our 2019 summer interns! For many years, CRA has offered a consulting internship program for undergraduate and graduate-level students. This year, CRA welcomed a class of over 40 interns who were spread across our offices from San Francisco to Brussels. During their time with us interns are fully absorbed into life at CRA, and their experiences mirror that of full-time staff members. Interns have an opportunity to work on several projects alongside their teams, attend all-staff meetings, complete trainings, and enjoy fun office events. Take a peek into our program, and hear what several analyst interns had to share about their summer at CRA. 

Molly Walsh 
School: University of Notre Dame
Office and practice: Chicago; Financial Accounting & Valuation and Intellectual Property
Fun fact: I am a double major in Finance and Film and spent the past semester studying abroad in Ireland.
 
Will Meyer
School: Middlebury College
Office and practice: Boston; Antitrust & Competition Economics
Fun fact: During the school year I host a college radio show.
 
Interns jump into projects on day one at CRA. They help with ongoing cases, contribute to final client reports, and learn a multitude of hard and soft skills while working with their project teams. Here, our interns give brief overviews of their project experiences. 
 

Molly: This summer I worked in two different practices at CRA. In addition to a valuation case study during my first week, I spent the first half of my summer in the Financial Accounting & Valuation practice. I worked primarily on one case in which we were tasked with determining whether a company was solvent at a particular point in time. Since transitioning to the Intellectual Property practice, I have worked on two different cases. One deals with alleged patent infringement, and the other is a valuation case. Even in my short time here, I have seen the range of cases CRA takes on. 

Will: I have had the opportunity to work on projects in a diverse set of industries including health care, broadcasting, and consumer products. Because of antitrust law’s focus on market power, working in the competition practice means learning about market structure for various industries. What defines a company’s market? Is it regional or national? Are two companies’ products substitutes or are they too different? Further, because the competition practice works in diverse industries, you gain exposure to deals between major companies as well as firms in niche industries you never considered.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Molly: There is no set routine, so what I do on a given day is determined by whatever tasks take the most priority. Sometimes that is spending the day doing research, making schedules and putting together analyses, attending meetings for updates about a case, or quality checking a report.

Will: Every day is different depending on the stage your projects are in. Generally, I use STATA and Excel to prepare a dataset and run some analyses to either support our experts or fulfill a Federal Trade Commission request. I coordinate with fellow analysts to make sure we are treating fields the same, or to ask a coding question. Some days there are meetings with clients to answer questions about data. Also, the Competition analysts get lunch together every day.

Describe either your favorite moment or the biggest surprise while interning at CRA:

Molly: I was surprised by how often people at CRA like to spend time together outside of work. Our team eats lunch together every day and often meets up after work for happy hour or to play soccer, which made it much easier to meet everyone. I really appreciated the culture that CRA cultivates.

Will: My favorite time at CRA was the Intern Red Sox game. I follow baseball (I’m a Mets fan) and had never been to Fenway. We had great seats, the weather was perfect, and it was a fun way to get to know my co-workers. 

What is a piece of advice you’d give to future CRA interns?

Molly: One of the most important skills to hone while at CRA is communication. As I often had more than one project to divide my time between, it was essential to be in communication about what I had going on, what tasks took priority, and what expected deadlines were. Flexibility is another important aspect of the job. I would advise future CRA interns to be comfortable with going with the flow and helping where needed.

Will: A piece of advice for future CRA interns is the importance of communicating and organization compared to college. In school, almost all the work is independent, and only the final product is reviewed. At CRA, work is more collaborative, and in litigation, work is replicated by your peers.

During their time with us, interns had the opportunity to attend company-wide events, training sessions, and intern-specific programs. Here they discuss the moments that most resonated with them.

Molly: I attended a discussion focused on the topics of diversity, mentorship, and intersectionality. We watched videos relating to these topics and held a group discussion afterward. Aside from the content of the event – which included very relevant information that prompted thoughtful discussions – I appreciated that people from different practices and at various levels in their career were encouraged to participate and give their unique perspectives. 

Will: CRA has many intern-specific programs and events. Beyond the Red Sox game, these included meeting CEO Paul Maleh and workshops. One such workshop was “Ten Tips for Clear and Direct Writing”, in which we learned to he discussed write clearly and concisely. Prior to this talk, I thought “legalese” was the pinnacle of professional writing, but I learned that such writing can be indirect and redundant. For example, phrases like “In the event that” and “null and void” are better expressed as “if” and “void”. The talk was engaging and gave a fresh, pragmatic view of writing.

Lastly, why is an internship at CRA a good experience for current college students and/or those interested in a career in consulting? 

Molly: CRA is a great internship experience because you get the chance to dive into cases and do hands-on work. I never felt I was doing busy work. Rather, I was treated as an analyst and given responsibility. For one of the projects I worked on, I got experience in report writing, and some of my work ended up in the final deliverable, which was a great process to see from start to finish. I never felt overwhelmed by the workload; CRA provided just the right combination of guidance and independence. 

Will: An internship at CRA is an opportunity to surround yourself with bright, amiable people while learning a lot. You gain knowledge relevant to your practice area, but also develop skills important for CRA and elsewhere in life.

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