9:00 AM — Arrive at the office right on time. Sometimes I’m a little early depending on the train schedules, but never late. Getting to work on time is key to my performance.
9:05 AM — Make breakfast in the kitchen. On Mondays, we bring in fresh fruit and on Wednesdays, we have bagels. Being the resourceful person that I am, I eat the leftover bagels on Thursday and Friday mornings, too.
9:15 AM — Check-in with my project manager regarding my tasks for the day. Pro tip: It’s good to have a firm grasp on what managers expect from you, so don’t be afraid to ask frequently! I like to check-in daily to make sure that my work is on track. The culture at CRA is one that promotes teamwork, and managers appreciate frequent check-ins.
9:20 AM — Commence work for the day, which can vary drastically depending on the projects at hand. The work may revolve around online research, writing programs for analysis, or helping to edit a report. One of the great aspects of working at CRA is that the work is by no means repetitive. Not only do the individual tasks vary, but the industries we work in cast a wide net as well. As I write this, I am staffed on a collusion case in the metals industry as well as an acquisition in the telecommunications industry. It’s nice to keep things spiced up.
11:00 AM — Short, but essential basketball break on our makeshift hoop (with our makeshift basketball).
1:00 PM — Lunch time. This is usually when I’ll take a break from work to eat and browse the web. Throughout the day, other members of the junior staff like to send around news articles or YouTube videos. I will usually take the time to peruse what’s been sent during my lunch break.
1:30 PM — Oftentimes, I will check-in with my manager again in the afternoon. This allows me to ask any questions and/or alter my methods before it gets too close to the end of the day. This is also the time of day where I begin to get tired, so I will usually indulge in a cup of coffee from the kitchen.
3:30 PM – The nature of the work at CRA often requires short breaks throughout the day. After all, one can only work with data or conduct research for so long without resting the mind. I find conversations with my cubicle neighbors to be a great way to get away from my work for a few minutes and regain focus. Sam is most often the person I will engage. As he’s seated right next to me, he can’t escape.
6:00 PM — While the work at CRA, deadline driven as it is, can be sporadic, I would say I usually leave between 6 and 6:30 PM. If necessary, I will send a summary of my day’s work to those on my project team. I will also take this time to clean up my desk, log my hours, and tie together any other loose ends. Most of the time, a work/life balance is achievable, which is great as I recently moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast. Additionally, I’m involved in a co-ed, recreational softball league with games on Monday nights, so it’s essential I’m able to leave with enough time to make my games.
I hope that this schedule helps to elucidate what an average day is like at CRA, however, most days are different from the day before. What stays constant is the way we do business. While the cases I work on may vary, the environment does not. Your colleagues at CRA will be smart, friendly, and driven people, and the culture is fun-loving. I hope this brief post helped to make that clear, and if you’re interested in getting another perspective, I encourage you to check out one of the other posts on The Current!
“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...