Careers Blog

What I learned as a CRA Analyst Intern

August 31, 2016

My internship at CRA was 10 weeks long and went by much faster than I expected. Looking back, I’m startled by how much I’ve managed to learn in such a short time. I’ve become confident in my ability to write code in Stata and produce immaculate charts and tables in Excel. I even had the opportunity to learn about mapping in ArcGIS, which has been one of my goals for a few years. The fast-paced project work, thorough training, and Tech Lab allowed me to hone various skills in a very short time.
This internship also gave me an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned at Macalester College in the past three years. In my first few weeks as an intern, I found out that a theorem I’d agonized over all of last semester was regularly used by my practice and in the consumer finance industry. After working on a related project, I felt that I had a greater understanding of how this theorem worked. The project had given it concrete context and this wasn’t an isolated incident. My work at CRA frequently employed concepts and techniques I had learned about in college, but in a completely different way. Through project work, I had the opportunity to take these abstract ideas and apply them to real client data. Seeing how parts of my coursework were put to use in analyses for financial institutions helped me engage in a practical, hands-on aspect of my education. 
I’ve learned a lot these past weeks and in a manner that’s completely different from that of a college classroom. Instead of taking notes and passing tests, I conducted analysis for client work and practiced rigor and exactness that it demands. This was a challenging process, and there were many instances when I felt confused or unsure. But as the summer comes to an end, I feel much more capable, and confident in my work as an analyst intern. As I prepare to return to Macalester, I know that everything I learned this summer will help me be a better student.