Clara and Johan have been interning at Ascend for a couple of months while simultaneously pursuing their master’s degrees. Here are some of their insights.
What were your expectations before joining Ascend?
Clara: As many students, I had been exposed to the term “management consultant” more times than I could count, but I still did not feel like that I knew what they actually did. My decision to intern at Ascend was based on a curiosity of management consultancy as an industry, and a wish to get to know Ascend better.
Johan: The usual perception of interning at a management consultancy is spending hours creating numerous PowerPoint slides. However, we have been involved in every part of the whole process – from the research and analysis stage to actual delivery and implementation.
What was your first impression of Ascend?
Clara: I remember that I walked out from my interviews realizing that I actually had fun during them. My interviewers were passionate about their projects, and I felt like I could answer their questions being fully honest at all times. Already at that point I felt welcomed, and I hadn’t even been offered the job yet.
Johan: As soon as I stepped into the office on my first day of work, it became obvious that this was a place where people have a lot to do and are passionate about their work. After having been introduced to the basics, I was immediately asked if I could help one of the project teams with a few things. As a result, I instantly felt welcomed and that my help was really needed.
What have you been doing during the internship?
Johan: I have been working on a few projects over a longer period of time, which has been great as I have gained a lot of insight into what it is like to work on a long-term project basis – from beginning to end. My work has included everything from putting together presentation material, planning and implementing workshops and client meetings, and being involved in different internal projects aimed at building and growing Ascend as a company.
Clara: My work tasks were different each week. Sometimes I compiled material from workshops and other days I did research on things I knew absolutely nothing about from the beginning. I always felt supported by my colleagues and questions were encouraged and welcomed. In addition to working on a few different projects, I participated in the internal work of building Ascend.
What have you learned?
Johan: Reflecting on our internships here at Ascend, we can conclude that it has given us a great insight into the whole idea of management consulting and what it takes to be successful. My time at Ascend has been fun, challenging, and truly rewarding as a learning experience for the future.
Clara: One of the most important things that I learned was how complex a project can be when it changes along the way and more stakeholders get involved. It is important to listen and adjust to your client’s opinions, but at the same time deliver the results that were promised from the beginning.
To conclude, do you have any other remarks concerning your internship?
Johan: Ascend and the people here are definitely practicing what they preach in terms of their values; being fun, inclusive, and exceptional. Especially the first two; everyone is of course exceptional at Ascend, but so are people at other management consultancy firms. But in addition to this, everyone has been very humble and welcoming, and there is a very strong sense of team spirit. There seems to be a genuine desire to see your co-workers succeed, and this creates a positive and exciting atmosphere to work in. This feeling is perhaps the main thing we will take away with us when we finish our internship at Ascend.
Clara: At Ascend, input and new ideas are always encouraged, no matter your consultancy level. You never feel forgotten or small, and I learned to value my own opinions when I realized that others did. The goal was always to deliver the best possible results to our clients and to do this together, as one team. Being part of that team was exciting and fun, and definitely taught me a lot.