Career News, Updates & Insights

My time as a CRA Intern

My name is Erin Bell, and I am an intern in CRA’s Washington, DC office in the Life Sciences Practice. I am a rising senior at Georgetown University where I study Finance and Operations and Information Management.
I first became interested in consulting when I joined Georgetown’s Innovo Consulting Club as a sophomore. Innovo works with social enterprises and non-profits to help tell their stories, think bigger, experiment and move beyond traditional boundaries, and then adapt to scale. While Innovo works on much smaller assignments than CRA, the club exposed me to the basics of consulting and the personal satisfaction that comes with being part of a multi-layered team working towards the same goal.
At CRA, I’ve had an opportunity to work with incredibly intelligent, insightful, and generous people. I worked closely with individuals ranging from other interns to VPs. I was respected, treated as an equal, and always felt comfortable expressing my thoughts and suggestions. I found each consultant with whom I worked to be personally invested in my growth and development. They took time from their busy schedules to review and explain tasks – from the drafting of minor memos to data management (DM) of a report, a form of proof-reading where members of the project team review the report to determine if all the numbers, facts, and claims align with the cited sources. They went the extra mile to not only answer my many questions, but to make sure that I understood the reasons behind their answers. I feel CRA’s culture of investing in each individual’s development is directly correlated to the number of talented employees who work here.
As a CRA intern, I was part of project teams, attended specialized training sessions, and participated in practice-wide meetings. My time on projects allowed me to observe the many essential steps that go into producing a final report. I learned how to conduct efficient and meaningful research; how to style both citations and entire reports; how to use secondary research materials; and how to answer and contribute comments. My intern trainings included workshops such as “Excel Shortcuts”, which enabled me to practice and improve my Excel skills and “Practice Insiders”, which gave me a glimpse into the various practices at CRA. I even had the opportunity to meet the CEO and ask him questions. (I was impressed when he gave out his email and encouraged all interns to email him later with any additional questions!) For me, the training sessions reinforced CRA’s commitment to properly preparing its interns for a future career, whether at CRA or elsewhere.
While the internship program was only 10 weeks, I felt I learned something new each day. Consulting is a challenging profession, but I’ll leave my CRA internship feeling better prepared and excited for my future. When I think back on the person I was when I started in June, I smile. I thought then that I knew exactly what consulting entailed. I couldn’t have been more naïve. My internship has not only been an incredible learning opportunity, but a humbling one as well. I witnessed first-hand how some of the brightest minds come together to solve problems; I saw employees in different practices give up their lunch breaks to help with projects to which they were not assigned; and I saw a company whose success stems from growth, teamwork, and selflessness. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of the CRA team this summer, and I am grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned.