Within two hours of completing my last final, I was seated at the Washington Duke Inn, also known as the “WaDuke,” having a celebratory lunch and drinks with some of my classmates. It was surreal that Fall Term 1 had come to an end. It was amazing to realize how much I had learned in only 6 weeks, but also how quickly time seemed to pass. Returning to my apartment I rested a bit, got my life back in order (with some extensive laundry and cleaning), and packed my suitcase for a red-eye flight to Atlanta for a Week in Cities trip.

Student group
My Week in Cities group.

Week in Cities are student-planned trips, usually sponsored by career clubs. It’s a way for first-year students to get in front of companies and recruiters that we’re interested in. While I headed to Atlanta, others in my class flew to New York, Chicago, or California to dig deeper in healthcare, finance, general management, marketing, or technology. I decided that I would use my week to learn more about consulting.

And indeed, I asked a ton of questions. I really learned a lot in Atlanta. Since I was with a small group of students, it was much easier for me to ask questions in a one-on-one setting.

We spent time at the Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, Accenture, Deloitte Consulting and Bain & Company. Each company was distinct, and showcased their unique cultures, priorities, and styles. Now that I’m fully armed with an understanding of consulting, including what they are looking for in future consultants, and I have various new contacts, I can set about my internship search much more focused and aware than ever before. Though the trip involved personal costs, it was an invaluable experience.

Equally important on this trip was that I was able to take a mental break and enjoy the city of Atlanta! I met and connected with new classmates, went clubbing, went out to dinner, and I even snuck in a quick visit to the World of Coca-Cola and the Atlanta Zoo.

As my trip came to an end, I was a bit aggravated in the airport when TSA confiscated my keepsake bottle of Coca-Cola. I had completely forgotten the bottle was too large to get through security. As I sat in the airport I decided to write the World of Coca-Cola a little message encouraging them to have employees remind folks about airport travel rules – I couldn’t be the only person to need such a reminder. Long story short, the World of Coca-Cola gets a huge shout out because they actually responded to my note and sent me two bottles! Now that’s serious customer service, and I appreciated it. So, luckily, I do have a keepsake to remind me of my trip.