August 23, 2016

Intern Report: Discovering a commitment to a consulting career

Anthony Manna is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

This summer I worked for a company called EDGE (Economic Development through Growing Enterprises). It is a nonprofit organization with the explicit goal of helping companies in Northeast Ohio grow so that they can help improve the local economy. Every summer, they pair up a few students from area universities with some of EDGE’s member companies that have a new business idea or market segment that they’d like to pursue. I was one of these students, and I got to work as an independent consultant for a materials science company called Terves. Terves specializes in nano-engineering (engineering at the molecular level), so I got to feed my interest in science along with my passion for entrepreneurship. Prior to beginning this internship, I was on the fence about whether consulting was really the career path I wanted to pursue, but now I am convinced that is what I’d like to do.

I absolutely loved my internship with EDGE. Being an independent consultant meant that, although I was hired through EDGE and was paid by EDGE, I acted as my own company and essentially, my own boss (albeit within the structures set by EDGE). Outside of meetings with other people, I got to choose when and where I worked, as long as I made sure I was getting my work done. I loved the autonomy and independence that came with this role, but my favorite part about it was the intellectual challenge that comes with being a consultant. I have absolutely no background in engineering, nor did I have any prior experience in the oil and gas industry. My project this summer was centered around a nano-engineered “proppant” technology that will be used in hydraulic fracturing, so it was definitely a challenge for me to get up to speed and understand what I was working on.

Along with my partner, I spent the first few weeks getting up to speed on the oil and gas industry, and understanding all the ins and outs of hydraulic fracturing. We did most of our initial research online, utilizing the wide variety of resources available to us as students at Case Western Reserve (it really is unbelievable how many databases you didn’t know we have access to). Then, we began calling professionals in the industry and interviewing them to learn from firsthand experience about the industry. In the last few weeks of the summer, we tied together everything we had learned and built an NPV model (Professor J.B. Silvers would be proud) that helped them calculate the value of their new product. We also conducted a number of strategic analyses on their company (Professor Simon Peck would be proud) to help make recommendations for how Terves should go about launching their new product. In the end, Terves was very pleased with the results of our work, and I am committed to starting my career in consulting going forward.

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