One of the best pieces of advice I can give you to prepare for your MBA experience is to get used to acronyms. Apparently, MBA students are so busy that we don’t have time to speak in complete sentences and rely on acronyms and abbreviations to save us precious seconds in conversation. One such acronym is WIC. When I first heard that there would be WIC trips during fall break, I was confused. A Google search for clarification only added to the confusion. So what is WIC?
Week-in-Cities: Consulting in Dallas
WIC stands for Week-in-Cities, which are mini trips organized by various student clubs to cities across the country during school breaks. Each Week-in-Cities trip has an industry focus, and students visit a handful of companies and firms that could potentially offer internship and/or full-time employment opportunities.
Since I’m interested in consulting, I participated in the Dallas Consulting WIC trip during Fall Break (October 20-27). Like most excursions, mine was organized by 2 first-year students, who helped to arrange lodging, transportation, and most importantly, made sure that we had great companies to visit. Our group was on the smaller side, comprised of 19 full-time MBA first-year students, one MMS student, and one Cross Continent MBA student.
Like most students in our group, I flew into Dallas on Wednesday night. I spent the first few days of break relaxing with my family in Durham and catching up on some sleep. Most students flew in from other cities, after visiting family and friends in their hometowns, and others had attended other WIC trips earlier in the week. About half of the group was staying at the same hotel (with the rest staying with friends or family in the area), so those who arrived in time went out for dinner, explored the city, and got a good night’s sleep.
Day 1: PwC, Sightseeing & McKinsey
On Thursday morning, we all met outside of PricewaterhouseCoopers. We were given breakfast and then a presentation about the company, their Advisory (consulting) practice, and why Dallas is a great place to live and work. Following the presentation, there was time to network, ask questions of the employees who had volunteered to join us that morning, and then tour the office.
After visiting PwC, we had a few hours to explore the city. Some classmates spent the afternoon strolling around the Arts District, grabbing food, working on pre-term work for Fall Term 2 classes, or just relaxing. I had rented a car with another first-year student, so we made a little trip to a local BBQ place that was recommended by some Dallas locals, spent some time exploring uptown, and visited SMU’s campus, including the George W. Presidential Library and Museum. The museum had a life-size, fully furnished replica of the Oval Office circa President George W. Bush’s tenure, so it’s almost like we got to visit Washington, D.C., too.
That evening, we had dinner with consultants from McKinsey. The evening was fairly informal, giving us the chance to connect with consultants and partners from the Dallas office, most of whom had flown back to the city after being with their clients during the week. We learned more about the culture and expectations of the firm, and following dinner, we joined them for drinks at a nearby establishment, where we met more consultants and analysts.
Day 2: Bain, BCG & Accenture
The next morning, we visited Bain’s office, which was decked out in festive Halloween decorations for a family party, which was to be held later that evening. Since the life of a consultant typically includes traveling Monday through Thursday and being in the office on Friday, there were plenty of employees who we had the chance to meet following their formal presentation. We also received personalized office tours.
After Bain, we had a few hours to explore the city a little more. I joined a small group that visited Klyde Warren Park, where there were a plethora of trendy food trucks, a kids’ playground, and lots of magazines, newspapers, and board games that could be used for free.
We then went to BCG’s office, which was also decorated for a family Halloween party. Again, we were treated to a presentation about the company, office, and city over lunch, and then given the chance to tour the office and network with employees, many of whom were Fuqua alumni.
Our final visit of the day was to Accenture, which was located about 15 minutes from downtown Dallas, in nearby Irving. They invited many of their senior management to join us in a Happy Hour in their building, following a presentation about their company and an office tour. Accenture was the final corporate visit of the trip.
A few in our group had flights out that evening, while most stuck around until Saturday or Sunday. My roommate and I grabbed some more BBQ and then headed back to our hotel to watch BYU crush Boise State in football. Since I knew that things would pick up and become very busy again with the new term starting on the following Monday, I took the earliest flight I could on Saturday (6:30 am – ouch!), so I could enjoy most of the weekend with my wife and daughter.
So now that I’ve gone beyond simply understanding what WIC stands for and actually went on a WIC trip, was it worth it? Definitely. For one, it gave me the chance to visit the offices of various firms that I’m recruiting for and get a better sense for what makes each one unique. Actually being in their buildings and talking with their employees helped me better understand their values and culture, and identify the firms that best align with my personal and career objectives.
In addition, we were able to network with and talk to far more people than we can during on-campus presentations. Since our group was small, we were able to get a lot more face-time with the people that we will (hopefully) be working closely with this summer and beyond.
Furthermore, excluding a previous flight overlay in Dallas-Fort Worth, I had never visited Dallas before. During the WIC trip, I was able to explore the city, the surrounding areas, meet local people, ask about places to live, and taste the local cuisine. Since many consulting firms recruit for specific offices, rather than at a national/corporate level, it’s important to know which city you want to recruit for and live and work in.
Lastly, I got to meet a lot of other first-year students who I hadn’t had the chance to get to know previously. Although we’re all hoping to land internships with these companies, being together and becoming better friends has helped us band together and help each other during the recruiting process. Since the trip, we’ve already discussed our thoughts on the companies, shared ideas to prepare for interviews, and were doing all we can to collectively succeed.
Week-in-Cities, in my opinion, was a great opportunity and definitely worth it. Although I am not attending a WIC trip during this winter break while many of my classmates are, I am glad I was able to participate in October. Now, when you join Team Fuqua, you’ll be able to avoid the embarrassment I had, and know exactly what’s going on when WIC is first announced.