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My CRA application process

Application process at Charles River Associates

Looking for a job as a college senior is a daunting task. Scrolling through job boards, editing resumes and cover letters, having endless networking sessions—reflecting back, it seems like I spent most of my free time during the first few months of my senior year applying to open positions. Since I’ve been through this process, I want to share my recruiting journey to give others a glimpse into how I ended up at CRA.

During the early weeks of my final fall semester, CRA visited Wesleyan University for an on-campus information session. They described the different practices and the kinds of work they do throughout the firm. After the session, we spoke to employees one-on-one and gained a deeper understanding of the work they do on a daily basis. I made sure to come prepared to the session and to chat with the people whose practices most interested me. I found the information session insightful in two ways: I was able to get more details about the firm to help tailor my resume and cover letter, and I was able to gauge if CRA was a good fit for what I wanted to do after graduation.

After submitting my cover letter and resume, I was asked for a first-round interview. This was a 30-minute interview with an Associate from the Energy Practice and a Senior Associate from the Finance Practice. They asked questions that assessed my skillsets and interest in economic consulting. It was through this interview that they determined which practice I would be a good fit for and if they wanted to invite me to Boston for a second-round interview with a specific practice.

A few days after, I received an email from CRA requesting a second-round meeting in their Boston office with the Finance Practice. The second round interview started with a tour of CRA’s headquarters in Boston, then went straight to four back-to-back interviews with various members of the Finance Practice. These interviews consisted of a mix of behavioral questions and some case studies. Both types of interviews tested if I had a good understanding of the type of work I would be doing as an analyst in the Finance Practice and if I had the capability to work with the commonly used financial data and statistical software. Three of the four interviews were conducted by members of the Finance Practice’s senior staff, while the last one was with a member of the junior staff. I enjoyed this method as it allowed me to get different viewpoints on their work and the company as a whole.

After these interviews, a few other junior staff from the Finance Practice took two other candidates and me to lunch for a more casual conversation. This was a good way for me to ask any lingering questions I had:

  • What work were they doing?
  • What was the culture of the firm?
  • What has been their overall experience with the company so far?
  • How are people staffed on projects?
  • What is the interaction between junior staff and senior staff on projects like?
  • What activities does CRA have for their employees outside of work?
  • What is the work-life balance?

Questions like these helped me get a better understanding of what my day-to-day life at CRA would be like, eventually shaping my decision to join the firm.

On my way back to school, I got a phone call from one of my interviewers offering me the position! After the call, I received the formal offer letter that gave me a few weeks to think and weigh my other options, but I gladly accepted CRA’s offer shortly after. I had a job by the time Thanksgiving came around, and I was able to enjoy the rest of my senior year knowing what I would be doing after graduation.

CRA’s recruiting and application process for first-year analysts was one of the most efficient I went through. I definitely appreciated how flexible and accommodating they were with my schedule and how friendly everyone was.

Every phase of the process had a deliberate purpose which kept the process transparent. Part of the reason why I ended up accepting CRA’s offer was because of how smooth the recruiting process was, which I thought was a positive reflection of the firm as a whole. Now, after more than a year into my time here, I have no regrets.

To see all available careers opportunities at CRA, and to apply, click here.