Fresh from graduating Wesleyan University and newly settled in Boston, I was both excited and nervous to start working at CRA as an analyst in the Finance Practice. A lot was running through my head as the start date approached—what should I wear on my first day, what should I bring, what’s the most convenient way to get to work, should I bring lunch, and the list goes on. Just as I thought I was heading into this new chapter of my life alone, my onboarding buddy emailed me.
My onboarding buddy, a fellow junior staff member in the Finance Practice, sent me an email a week before I started introducing herself and making herself available for any questions I had—and I did have a lot of questions. It was great that CRA’s onboarding process began even before I started my first day. Having an onboarding buddy as a resource was very helpful in getting me both more excited and less nervous about starting at CRA.
On my first day of work, I went through several meetings with Human Capital, ITS, and Payroll, but the highlight was getting to finally meet my onboarding buddy and the rest of Boston’s Finance Practice, including my supervisor, a senior staff member who acts as another mentor and resource for me throughout my time in the company. My supervisor even took me out to lunch on the first day and offered advice on how to succeed and do well at CRA.
Both my onboarding buddy and supervisor have been invaluable resources during my first few months of working and navigating CRA. Especially since I joined in June, two months earlier than when most other analysts started, I turned to my onboarding buddy and supervisor for advice on almost everything from how to get staffed on projects to the most useful Stata and Excel shortcuts to where to get the best lunch around the office (there are just too many options…).
Even beyond my assigned mentors, the rest of the Finance Practice was very enthusiastic in making sure I acclimatized to working in CRA right away. I was staffed on projects almost immediately, and being new, my managers were very helpful in making sure I felt comfortable with the work and made themselves available for any question or concerns. The Finance Practice Leader even helped me put together SAS code that would parse through text fields when I was casually telling him what I was working on.
Within the first week, I was also already being invited to informal post-work gatherings with the rest of the junior staff across the entire office. I always look forward to these get-togethers because they are great ways to meet colleagues outside my own practice and are also opportunities to form friendships within the office that make going to work more enjoyable.
The support and camaraderie I felt from my onboarding buddy, my supervisor, the Finance Practice, and the rest of CRA, helped make my transition from college to full-time very smooth. The CRA onboarding process helps foster the collegial environment CRA exudes, which I felt even before I stepped foot into the office and still feel four months into this job.
“Try & Hire” internship experience at CRA Zurich amid the COVID-19 pandemic
José Bila is an associate in the Life Sciences Practice based in Zurich. He joined CRA in June 2020 as part of the Swiss “Try & Hire” program, where...