Senior Consultant Hannah Kay began her career at Simon-Kucher as an intern just over two years ago. We spoke to Hannah about the recruitment process, the projects she worked on, and how the lessons she learnt during her internship help her in her career today.
Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for talking to us about your internship experience at Simon-Kucher. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Of course! My name is Hannah, I’m a Senior Consultant at Simon-Kucher and have been with the company for just over two years, based in London.
I joined the company as an intern after having graduated in 2019 with a degree in Management from the London School of Economics. I had already completed two internships at different companies during my studies, so had an idea of what to expect, but was excited to see what Simon-Kucher had to offer.
How did you hear about the Simon-Kucher internship program?
Once I decided I wanted to pursue management consulting, I started to look into the top firms in London. I found myself on the Simon-Kucher website searching for opportunities when I saw that they were running a Women in Consulting event the next day, which I decided to attend.
At the event I heard lots of valuable information about Simon-Kucher and had the opportunity to speak to various consultants. The experience helped me decide to apply for two main reasons. Firstly, I liked that Simon-Kucher has a strong global presence but still a relatively flat structure. Secondly, I liked how the company specializes on the ‘sunny side of consulting’, meaning we only focus on top-line and growing revenue rather than cost-cutting, for example.
What was the recruitment process like for you to do an internship in the London office, and did you have to meet any specific requirements?
There are many routes you can take to get an internship at Simon-Kucher but mine was the classic route. I applied in January 2019 during my final year at university. It started with an online application where I submitted basic details like my grades, CV, and cover letter. I was then invited to an assessment day, which included case studies, personal fit interviews, group tasks, and networking opportunities.
I remember a few weeks later I was at the cinema when I got a call from the Managing Partner. I had to run out to take the call, but it was definitely worth it since I got the offer there and then!
The great thing is that there are no hard and fast requirements, but there is a preference for candidates with a strong academic record and desire to learn. Having no prior consulting experience, as I did, wasn’t a disadvantage – the whole point of the internship is to learn about the world of consulting!
How long was your internship, what was your work schedule like, and what responsibilities did you have?
My internship was eight weeks in total. During the internship, I was working on a project with a data provider based in the US. I had a friendly project team and was treated as an equal from day one.
As an intern my main responsibilities included attending client meetings, taking notes, excel analysis, and contributing to team discussions. Although there were certainly long days at the office, the workload and schedule were manageable.
What was your favorite project that you worked on during your internship?
The project I was on lasted over three months, as most projects do, so I only focused on one during the internship. The goal of the project was to redesign the packaging and pricing for a legal data provider.
My favorite part was having the opportunity to join interviews with C-level executives and hear their opinions on business strategy. I like that we delved into topics that I otherwise would never have come across and, consequently, I learned something entirely new every single day (and still do!).
Could you tell me about something you learned during the internship that still helps you in your career today?
Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to fail. My philosophy is that by being open, vulnerable, and willing to learn, you attract many opportunities you otherwise might not have. I have found I learn and progress faster this way. It’s especially important as a woman, you have every right to have your voice heard so it’s always worth using it and speaking up.
Is there anything that you are particularly proud of that you achieved during your internship?
One thing that initially drew me to consulting was the breadth of companies and industries that you get to work with and become an expert in. At the start of the internship, it seemed like an impossible task to understand the legal data provision market, but by the end of the eight weeks I’m proud that I felt comfortable discussing the product and pricing needs of the market in-depth.
Were you able to take part in any social events with the office in that time? If so, which was your favorite?
Absolutely – social events are not hard to come by in the London office, we generally have a lot to celebrate! I enjoyed playing table tennis at the end of internship party at Bounce Farringdon, but if I had to pick my one favorite event it would have to be the London office summer party at Nobu in Shoreditch. An event that started off with business presentations, and awards ceremonies, and ended with interpretive painting, and plenty of sake bombs!
Were there many other interns in the office with you? Was it easy to get to know colleagues and partners?
There were roughly eight other interns in my cohort, all of whom I got to know very well by the end of the internship. It’s easy to get to know everyone in the London office – there is an open plan office space and communal lunch benches where you’re bound to end up chatting to someone! I’d sum up the culture in the London office as friendly, and openminded.
In terms of interacting with the partners, I was assigned a ‘development partner’ who offered me feedback, encouragement, and advice throughout the internship. Even to this day, although that particular partner is no longer my development partner, I still go to him for advice when I need it.
What advice would you have for future interns?
Good question. I’d highly recommend attending a recruitment event in-person (or virtually) and talk to Simon-Kucher colleagues. Meeting someone, asking interesting questions, and establishing a personal relationship is a lot more powerful than even the most impressive cover letter. That was how my journey started and I’m glad it did.
Thanks so much, Hannah for taking the time to share your story with us today.
If you are interested in applying for an internship in our London office click here to see what opportunities are available.