Five Surprises from My Consulting Internship

By Priya Desai


At a Glance:

During my consulting internship at Accel Management Group this summer, I had a great learning experience, and I found a number of surprises that I didn’t necessarily anticipate:

  • Significant exposure and chance to work with Partners
  • A focus on client experience
  • An opportunity to join internal firm projects
  • A requirement for digital expertise across all practices
  • A quick virtual adaptation by firms after COVID-19

As an undergraduate student majoring in Industrial and Operations Engineering and minoring in Business at the University of Michigan, I found a natural career path leading towards consulting. After looking for opportunities to fill my summer during COVID-19, I found a fit at Accel Management Group and accepted an offer to join the firm. Many of my peers have gone into consulting, so I thought I understood the ins and outs of the field, but after my consulting internship this summer, I realized that not everything was so clear.

Exposure to Partners

Accel Management Group placed a large emphasis on partner/consultant collaboration. Each project I worked on throughout the summer (both internal and external) contained at least one partner advisor. For internal work, the partner advisor set weekly checkpoints for updates on results. For external work, partner advisors frequently met one on one with me to make sure I understood the client situation and to check my progress on deliverables. I was also assigned a partner to be my professional development mentor, who I met weekly to discuss my goals, projects, and workload. The accessibility and exposure to partners as a consultant was a welcome surprise and helped me to integrate successfully into the firm.

Focus on the Client Experience

During my time at Accel Management Group, I noticed the importance of a positive client experience. I was placed on a wide variety of client projects over the course of the summer, so I was able to learn about client experience in a hands-on way. When sitting in on a client meeting, I noticed how the consultants and clients reviewed deliverables in an open discussion. The consultants were always eager to hear what the client had to say about the week’s deliverables. Overall, I learned that the client is always at the center of discussion and that their input is valuable to consultants.

Internal Firm Projects

Internal involvement was highly emphasized at Accel Management Group. Internal involvement consisted of different teams for the firm’s finances, marketing, recruiting, etc. Part of my role was to join the firm’s marketing team. As an engineering major, I did not have a lot of experience in marketing, but it was an area where I had specific interest. As a part of the team, I learned about search engine optimization by assigning keywords, URLs, and meta descriptions to articles and monitored search engine optimization results through organic search traffic. I also worked on LinkedIn Analytics and Campaign Manager where I analyzed what post content is most effective and ran two LinkedIn campaigns. Being a part of the marketing team helped me to expand my range of knowledge and allowed me to experience a different side of the business, especially considering that digital marketing is becoming an increasingly important field. In addition to expanding my range of knowledge, I learned that internal teams help strengthen the firm community and provide the opportunity to diversify an individual’s work experience.

Digital Expertise in All Practices

Accel Management Group values digital expertise across both of their specialized industries (life-sciences and high-tech). Every consultant at Accel Management Group has an undergraduate major in engineering with an MBA and applies engineering concepts to firm projects.  Understanding the software and systems that client companies use to run their businesses is critical to a successful engagement, and the ability to quickly learn those systems is key to a consultant’s success.  Mastery of the Office suite and Project Management tools are the minimum requirement, with specialties in ERP and other software systems needed in specific instances.   My experience indicates that consulting is becoming an increasingly more digital field, and every consultant must adjust to the changing technological needs.

Virtual Adaptation

With COVID-19 causing consultants to work from home, my internship with Accel Management Group was completed remotely. I was sent a laptop in the mail with instructions about how to set up the computer, and throughout the summer, all meetings were conducted over video-call. Because consulting is such a client-oriented field and communication with the client is often in-person at the client site, I was surprised to see the ease of conversation over video-call. The firm was able to adapt to the changing times and successfully complete onboarding, training, and projects in a virtual environment.

Through my summer internship at Accel Management Group, I have learned more about what it means to be a consultant and have found my time at the firm to be valuable to my personal and professional growth. Because of my experiences at Accel Management Group, I will be pursuing a full-time career in consulting and will be taking the GMAT this year with the intention of pursuing my MBA. In the future, I know that I will be able to draw from what I learned this summer and I look forward to continuing to learn new concepts throughout my career in consulting.


About the Author

Priya Desai is a Senior at the University of Michigan majoring in Industrial & Operations Engineering and minoring in Business.  She will be earning her BSE in May 2021 from the College of Engineering Honors Program.  Before interning at Accel Management Group, Priya worked as a Supply Network Operations Intern at Procter & Gamble and has experience working at Strategy&, part of the PwC network.