How To Get A Pre-Placement Offer (PPO)
I did my summer internship at the Boston Consulting Group and received a pre-placement offer after the internship. Looking back at my internship experience and thinking about the factors responsible for making the internship a success, there are some aspects that clearly stood out. While there is no definite pathway for a successful internship, and a lot depends on factors outside our control, following some basic guidelines can definitely increase the chances of a successful internship. These guidelines are applicable for all consulting internships, and might also be applicable for internships in other sectors.
- Own your project: Once you are assigned a project, it is completely your responsibility. You need to own your project. This means that you live, eat and sleep with your project.
- Finish your project on time: Divide your project into smaller parts, and make a timeline for the entire project. Always ensure that you leave enough flexibility in the timeline to incorporate any unseen circumstances which are not in your control. It is extremely important to finish your project on time, and no excuse is acceptable.
- Keep your slides updated: Whenever you receive some new information, or make any progress, you should ensure that you update your slides as soon as possible. You should always be ready with the updated version of your slides.
- Ensure that any changes in your slides are reflected in the main deliverable: Most of the time, your slides would be a part of a larger main deliverable which would be shown to the client. Whenever you update your slides, you need to ensure that the changes are reflected in the main presentation, which would most often be with your mentor.
- Ensure that your mentor is able to trust you: At the end of the day, your mentor is responsible for timely delivery of the main deliverable to the client. Your project is part of the deliverable, and your mentor needs to trust you. Some steps that you can follow to gain that trust are:
- Keep your mentor updated on your progress: Your mentor, or your immediate senior, should always be aware of what you are doing. Keep him or her updated on your progress through regular emails and meetings. In case you hold any interviews or ask for more resources, try to either copy the mentor in your emails, or let him/her know separately. At any point of time, your mentor should know exactly what you are up to, so that he/she can be assured that everything is going as planned.
- In case of any mishap, inform your mentor immediately: If there are any issues with the project, either due to some delay from the client or for any other reason, you need to inform the mentor immediately about the situation. This ensures that he/she can take the required steps to resolve the situation as soon as possible, before the situation worsens or gets out of control.
- Never repeat your mistakes: Making mistakes is natural, especially if you are new to consulting. But whenever your mentor corrects you, ensure that you do not repeat the same mistake again. Your mentor should be able to trust that you will not repeat any mistakes, and that teaching you something once is enough.
- Be sincere: Sincerity is extremely important. And it is also important for your team to know that you are sincere. Attend all meetings, and always be attentive. Reach the office or the client location on time, and do not leave early unless there is something important related to the project. Finish all your work on time. Respect the culture of the company and always be well dressed.
- Be a part of the team: Consulting involves a lot of teamwork. You will always be with your team – while working, eating or travelling. When you are at the client location, your team will be your closest friends.
- Bond with the team: Get to know your teammates better. Make them your friends and go for some outings together in your free time. Ensure that you some fun moments with the team. Respect your teammates and never hurt anyone’s sentiments.
- Help your teammates: While working on your project, also look out for your teammates and help them whenever possible. As a team, you need to look out for each other. If your teammates are facing any issues in their projects, try to help them. And don’t hesitate from asking for help whenever you need it.
- Don’t shy away from voicing your opinions: If you are in a meeting and you have an opinion, do not shy away from speaking out. Most of the time, your mentors would be happy to hear you challenge them. Nobody likes a person who just nods at whatever their seniors say. And nobody likes someone who does not have any opinion at all.
While getting a PPO is important, it is also important to enjoy your internship. If you really enjoy the work and your time in the company, you will notice that all elements automatically fall into place and you don’t really need to put any conscious effort into ensuring a successful internship. Your team would always be there to help you out. Talk to your seniors about their experiences and stories. The internship would be a great learning opportunity, and that learning would help you throughout your professional life. So learn as much as you can. And most importantly, have fun!
About the Author:
Rohan Jain graduated from the Computer Science department of IIT Kanpur in 2015 and then directly went on to do his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. He is an avid reader and a passionate Badminton player. A travelling enthusiast, he has travelled to 18 countries so far. Apart from an internship at BCG, he has done prior research internships at EPFL, Switzerland and London Business School, UK. He is now going to start his career as a Senior Associate at the Boston Consulting Group.