On my first day at CRA, I arrived and met with my peer buddy who greeted and showed me around the office. I felt immediately welcomed as I was introduced to junior and senior staff members in the Finance Practice before the Research and Analysis Core (RAC) I training began.
The RAC I training is a four-day orientation for incoming analysts comprising a hands-on approach to orient new junior staff to best practices in research and analysis, develop technical skills, and set expectations for how to build a successful career at CRA. The program offers comprehensive, internally taught “skills labs” designed to teach technical skills to enable participants to immediately join project teams after the initial week.
This training brought together the incoming analysts from across the US offices. Meeting my new colleagues, I was impressed by their intelligence and the collegial feeling throughout the first few days, reminding me of orientation at Wellesley College. Everyone was open to meeting new people and wanted to help others with the tasks throughout the trainings. I have remained close with analysts in other offices and these connections have built my professional network. I am able to put a face with a name when I work on project or participate in extracurricular activities outside of the Boston office.
My favorite technical trainings were in SAS and Excel as these are skills I often use in project work. These skills labs prepared me with a foundation for the types of statistical analysis I would be completing and gave me access to additional resources. The trainings are led by other CRA consultants, providing me with a list of ‘experts’ I can easily reach out to for help. The emphasis on collaboration in the RAC I training helped reinforce why I joined CRA. It was impressive to attend trainings led by associates who have been at the firm for one-to-two years and seeing how much they’ve accomplished.
Although the days are full, the afternoons and evenings include more social time to network with the incoming junior staff, current junior staff in the Boston office, and alumni who have since pursued various graduate degrees. We also had the opportunity to sign-up for the various affinity groups CRA offers. My favorite night was when we all went out bowling. Full disclosure, I am horrible at bowling; however, the evening was less about bowling and more about relaxing and having fun with my peers. It was great to spend time getting to know everyone outside of the office!
Following the formal onboarding process, each office and practice integrates new analysts differently. In Boston’s Finance Practice, we held a practice-wide meeting where senior staff spoke about ongoing project work and new analysts shared our backgrounds and interest areas.
My first day after the RAC I training, I was already staffed on a project. My manager continued the onboarding process in providing on-the-job training. He frequently provided extra readings on the financial models we were working with and took the time to map out the logic behind the work. The combination of a formal orientation and on-the-job training has helped me grow into a better analyst.
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s almost already been a year since I started at CRA. I am excited to welcome my peer buddy to the firm in a couple of weeks!
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