During an internship at KPMG in Toronto, UBC MBA candidate Gaurav Kumar proved himself invaluable, especially during crunch time.
“Consulting has the right pace for me,” says the UBC MBA student at Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School. Kumar was introduced to the industry’s brisk pace at KPMG in Toronto where over the course of a four-month internship last year he worked on five different client projects and four RFPs.
“Gaurav was very quick to pick things up, very eager to learn. So he was able to take on a significant workload and support me on a number of projects,” says Kumar’s internship supervisor Marcus Haecker. “I even put him in front of clients and brought him with me to workshops in Montreal. If that happens as an intern then you know you’re doing a good job.”
It also showed Haecker and his team that Kumar could be valuable as more than just an intern. After giving Kumar extra responsibility to take ownership of certain tasks, Haecker was impressed with how Kumar stepped up to the challenge.
“That’s when I knew he could perform to the standards we’re looking for,” Haecker says.
Among the many projects Kumar took part in was a business case for a real estate management company with contact centres in every major Canadian city.
“They were considering consolidating various options that ranged from consolidating their contact centres to creating regional hubs, or a centralized hub,” Kumar says. "They needed some expert advice."
“I was involved in the beginning of the project, got pulled onto other projects and then was asked to be brought back,” Kumar says. “It was crunch time and we had to submit a report in three or four days. Of all the resources available on the floor they counted on me to come in and help with the work. It shows the amount of trust they had in me. I wasn’t even a full-time employee, I was just an intern.”
It turns out his team’s intuition was correct.
“The project was ultimately a success,” Kumar says. “The client was on board with our work and is seriously considering our suggestions.”
Upon completing his internship, Kumar was offered both a full-time and part-time position at KPMG: full-time upon completion of his MBA and part-time while he was still finishing the program.
From software engineer to consultant
Before joining Sauder’s MBA program, Kumar’s experience was largely in telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. To help make the transition into management consulting, he took part in Sauder’s Consulting Training Program where he had the opportunity to work directly with consultants across a range of fields.
“You can read about their approach in books,” Kumar says. “But to learn something firsthand, it makes a difference.”
He also benefited from the insight of three different mentors over the course of his MBA, plus the expertise of his career coach, Rodrigo Porto, at Sauder’s Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre, who helped hone his already impressive resumé.
“Having worked in over 15 countries, I had a lot of good points on my resume but it wasn’t conveying a story. I come from an engineering background which requires factual information. You don't really think of crafting a story," Kumar says. “But the business culture in North America is different. You have to showcase your skills and make them marketable. I learned that through my MBA.”
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