I had always planned to pursue an MBA. After obtaining my undergraduate degree in Singapore and gaining experience in the public and private sectors, I wanted time to reflect, to reassess my strengths and to understand the full spectrum of opportunities available to me.
As a trained engineer, I did not have grounding in business fundamentals such as finance and management. To address that skill gap and further strengthen the soft skills necessary to be a global business leader, I chose to attend one of the world’s premier business schools, London Business School (LBS).
Taking calculated risks is something I’ve always believed in. For example, I switched from a well-paid job in the Singapore government to a non-profit role due to my passion for the cause. It was an experience that changed my career trajectory and opened up exciting new opportunities, including meeting some amazing people. So I knew how taking a big step and making a change could be really rewarding.
At LBS, I wanted to learn from the diverse experiences of a global network of peers while building long-lasting friendships. The exposure to different career opportunities here led me to interview with the Accenture Strategy team and take an internship with the Singapore office over the summer.
My time at Accenture has really helped me hone my strategy consulting skills. I have no doubt that I will be able to draw on these valuable lessons in the future, as my career progresses. There were three main areas I was able to work on during my internship.
1. Hypothesis Testing
During my project, I’ve been required to break down ambiguous, large problem statements into discrete chunks for further analysis. This is possible only by formulating a couple of concrete hypotheses at the start and looking for data to support/contradict it. I’ve learned how to effectively generate key hypotheses to different problems, making my problem-solving approach more efficient.
I witnessed firsthand how messy analytical modeling with real-world data is. In contrast to classroom environments, where all required data is available, real-world projects require you to plug-in data gaps with smart, relevant proxies. I really enjoyed the experience of building a robust analytical model that would help a client unlock more than $500 million of additional revenue by working together with highly skilled colleagues.
Analysis by itself is irrelevant if it cannot help a client make a decision. Effective communication is the key to getting buy-in from clients on the proposed recommendations. I spent a significant part of the internship working together with the team to ensure that the messaging was right so that our recommendations were presented effectively.
Thanks to my Accenture Strategy internship, I’ve learned that it’s essential to approach any challenge with a set of hypotheses and continuously test and iterate them, rather than approach a task with a subjective opinion that might not stand up to the test of logic. My firsthand experience of this approach will definitely have a direct impact on how I tackle problem-solving in the future.