Day in the Life: Operations Excellence Intern Edition

Day in the Life: Operations Excellence Intern Edition

At West Monroe, we approach internships differently. To be the best, we need the best, meaning our interns accepted the challenge to go beyond the typical internship. Our interns took on an array of engaging, transformative challenges, ranging from assisting on client sites/projects, to developing new and innovative software.

Specifically, our Operations Excellence interns had something to say about their summer experience at West Monroe. From due diligence and organizational change management to nCino implementation and robotic process automation, these interns did not end the summer with a pat on the back. Instead, they are prepared for the next phase of their career journey. Here our Operations Excellence interns reflect on their experience at West Monroe.

What is an intern experience like? How has it shaped your future career aspirations?

As an accounting major, I thought I wanted to be an auditor. Now, after my internship at West Monroe, I am so glad I pursued consulting.

Over the past few months of my summer internship, I have changed the way I approach problem solving. It’s safe to say that I have begun to think like a consultant. To be successful, you must immerse yourself in the client’s organization to understand the critical requirements essential to their transformation. I began creating, managing, and reviewing key client deliverables. There was pressure to think and act critically, while absorbing any information that presented itself; it was a uniquely fast-paced environment in the best way possible.

  • James Salafatinos

What was your goal for the summer?

When I started, my ultimate goal was to learn, not necessarily provide immediate value. I expected I would be tasked with learning as much as I could from the people around me. Imagine my surprise when the leader of our practice approached me with a choice between projects: a more “typical” experience on a client project and an internal project implementing robotic process automation (RPA). I chose the RPA project, which gave me the opportunity to contribute to a project immediately. My team encouraged me to ask questions and participate in the discussions during training.

While there is no way to anticipate what a single project will be like, or the challenges that one may face, what should be constant in those situations is a professional culture that is supportive and receptive. So, with that, I would like to thank West Monroe Partners and all of the kind people I had the opportunity and privilege to engage with this summer for investing in me and my goals, both personally and professionally.

  • Catherine Shi

What was one of the most impactful things you learned?

During my West Monroe internship, I had the opportunity to work with my client to help them undergo change. Specifically, I wrote communications for a mid-sized bank that was implementing nCino to eliminate paper-based processes.

According to social neuroscience, you can influence human behavior with or without the charismatic leader at home by focusing on five areas of experience: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness (SCARF, to help you remember)[1]. Rewards and threats to these five domains impact people’s reactions and behaviors in any situation. Getting people to modify their behavior and be more adaptive requires efforts that intentionally reduce the threats and maximize the rewards in each of the areas:

  • S: one’s sense of importance relative to others
  • C: one’s need for clarity and ability to make predictions about the future
  • A: sense of control over events and contributing to events
  • R: one’s sense of connection to or security with another person
  • F: just and non-biased exchange between people

Leveraging the SCARF communication model, we incorporated messages that reduce the sense of risk and heighten the sense of benefit to start influencing the reactions and behaviors of users. As I went through the communications for each audience in this mid-sized bank, I thought: does the nCino implementation pose any threats to the five domains? If so, what can we communicate to minimize those threats and maximize the rewards of the implementation? If not, how can I phrase benefits of nCino in a manner that clearly demonstrates one of the five domains of SCARF?

  • Hillary Darragh

What are you taking with you going back to school? How does this internship apply in your day-to-day?

I am currently a graduate intern in the Operations Excellence practice, specifically with the Organizational Change Management team. I’m earning an MS in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC) at Northwestern University and plan to pursue a career in change management consulting upon graduation.

My assigned project—providing change management support for an organizational design transformation at a contact center—gave me the chance to put into practice the organizational change management tools and methodologies I had been studying in the classroom. For example, my study of change management thought leader John Kotter and his 8-step process for successful organizational transformation provided me a solid foundation for creating and presenting “change network” deliverables to the client.

As I round out my summer graduate internship, one of my main takeaways is that West Monroe Partners provides fertile grounds for accelerated learning and development. The internship encouraged a balance between learning and execution by providing opportunities to engage in both, thus accelerating my learning as a change management practitioner this summer.

  • Elizabeth Gates

Any lessons learned or advice for those considering a consulting internship?

As internships become a necessary stepping stone to a successful career, it is important to find a company that cares about their employees as much as their bottom line. If you want an internship that provides a client-facing experience across industries, pursue consulting. If you are interested in that within a growing organization that allows you to lead your own career path, West Monroe Partners is the place to be.

  • Kristian Jennes

[1] Rock, D. & Cox, C. (2012). SCARF in 2012: updating the social neuroscience of collaborating with others. NeuroLeadership Journal 4: 129 – 142.

Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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