When applying to jobs as a senior in college, one major piece of criteria I looked for was the kind of training opportunities the company offered. Most companies I applied to had some form of onboarding training when you start work, but what set CRA apart was that the training opportunities extended well-beyond onboarding. CRA offers a comprehensive (and fun!!) new analyst and associate training as well as numerous small trainings throughout the year that range from gaining new software skills to learning how to work in teams. I find that the abundant training opportunities available to all CRA employees allow me to further develop my skills post-college and are also applicable beyond the work I do in CRA.
Research and Analysis Core I (RAC I) is the training all new analysts and associates undergo when they start at CRA. It is usually held in the Boston office every August, which means new junior staff members gather in Boston and spend a week with other new junior consulting staff. The trainings during RAC I cover many non-technical topics from learning about CRA as a company to how to check-in with your managers to building effective communication skills. They also put us through rigorous technical trainings with the option to choose which ones we would like to learn more about. I chose to do the Excel and SAS trainings, but there were also options for Stata and R. What I enjoyed most about RAC I training, though, was the time we had to get to know other new analysts and associates from across different practices and offices. RAC I was an amazing way to start my CRA experience and I still use many of the things I learned during that week in my work and keep in touch with friends I met across different offices.
After RAC I, CRA’s Learning and Professional Development Team also plans smaller trainings throughout the year around specific skills. These trainings are called Tech Labs and usually revolve around teaching new and innovative software skills that can help us in our day-to-day work. These trainings are streamed to the various CRA offices across the world giving all employees the opportunity to attend and are available online if you missed a session. Another great thing about Flash Labs is that most of them are taught by current CRA employees, which means they tailor the functionality and application of the software towards the kinds of work we do at CRA. I have attended numerous Flash Labs on topics ranging from web scraping using Python to helpful tips when using SAS to an introduction to R. The introduction to R training was even taught by three new junior staff members from my year, which just shows that you can learn something new from anyone at CRA, whether they are a seasoned vice president or a newly hired analyst.
Aside from technical trainings, the firm also offers sessions that help develop soft skills such as how to effectively work in teams and how to identify and develop your management style. Past trainings such as these were taught by a professional management coach and I found them very applicable to both my day-to-day work at CRA and beyond to my overall professional development.
Continually learning new things is something I value a lot, and the training opportunities plus the work I do day-to-day at CRA definitely allows me to do so. From formal training and development sessions to smaller technical trainings, I always feel like I am able to learn new things and further develop my skills through this job. CRA is definitely a great option for anyone looking to continually learn new skills and ideas in a professional setting that encourages such development.
“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...