The guide to the CRA Chicago office:
The Commute: Most recent college grads live in Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville. There are plenty of first-rate neighborhoods in Chicago, and I personally chose to live downtown in Streeterville. Commuting is simple wherever you live thanks to the L (our local subway), the buses, and the Metra trains (trains that go to the Chicago suburbs). There’s an ongoing argument between the junior staff “bus people” and “train people”. We have yet to see a real crack in either argument, which shows off the top-notch accessibility given by these forms of transportation. CRA offers an RTA pass program as a pre-tax benefit for use on the buses or trains, so be sure to sign up for that your first week with CRA!
Lunch Spots: The Chicago office is located in The Loop, which offers something for everyone and new spots open often. My personal favorite lunch spot is the French Market. It’s an open space built beneath a series of trains, where you can grab the best Indian food, colorful macaroons, build-your-own crepes, savory pastrami, and much more. Chicago has a reputation for cold (okay really cold) winters, so Lloyd’s Express, the restaurant located in the lobby of our building, becomes a go-to during the winter months. Many of the junior staff also participate in “Food Truck Fridays” during the summer months and are forced to choose between trucks like Aztec Dave’s (flavor packed burritos), Tamale Spaceship, The Cajun Connoisseur, and Da Pizza Dude. Regardless of whether you pack your lunch or walk out to grab lunch with a group, the junior staff typically gathers in the training room for a social lunch hour.
Dress Code: Oh the joys of explaining business casual. The men wear button-down, long-sleeve shirts with slacks or chinos and many layer sweaters in the winter. Women wear skirts, dresses, blouses, sweaters, jackets, slacks, crops—just keep it clean and professional. Jeans are worn on Fridays and we have the occasional spirit day. For example, during this year’s March Madness tournament we all supported our schools with jeans and school apparel (go Hoosiers!). My advice: err on the side of professional your first day and then you can ease into business casual.
Social Outings: The Chicago office does a “summer series” of three social events each summer, with impromptu happy hours in-between the scheduled events. This summer, we are kicking off with WhirlyBall, a mix between lacrosse and bumper cars, and if it tells you anything about this “sport”, the website of the venue has a tagline: “Agility. Speed. Strength. None of these qualities will be of any use in the highly-competitive world of WhirlyBall”. We played our first game of summer beach volleyball last week, and we are off to a good start! CRA keeps a box at the United Center, so tickets are offered to junior staff for Bulls and Blackhawks games. The volunteer committee planned a wonderful “around the world” feast to kick off summer a few weeks ago at the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, a 5k run/walk where the money raised benefits local charities. I am already looking forward to my personal favorite social event of the year, the Chicago holiday party.
“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...