By Isha Gupta (WG’15)
This summer I worked in an office full of foodies and sommeliers, learned how to use a fancy espresso machine, and dined at some of the finest restaurants in NYC. I was interning at a company that I now love, but never imagined I would be working for last fall.
Like many of you, although a big part of me wanted to experience working in a more ‘non-traditional’, creative and entrepreneurial role before graduating, I was WAY too risk averse to wait for those internships to arise and was determined to find a great job sooner.
So, as many of you will do, I got caught up in the momentum of FRP and let the madness get to me. I worried about missing information sessions, spent an absurd amount of time drafting ‘thank you’ emails, and kept forgetting that FRP was not the last opportunity to land a great internship. It was just the beginning. Every week I felt more and more concerned that the right opportunity wouldn’t come up and that I wouldn’t have the chance to do something amazing over the summer.
A few days before spring break I saw a posting on CareerPath for a consulting company called Hospitality Quotient (HQ). HQ is an organizational consulting and learning business that was started four years ago out of restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). The firm helps its clients recognize the power of hospitality to transform businesses and workplaces in any industry. It has recently done work in healthcare, financial services, travel & leisure, and more.
The posting had me at “Hospitality”. It was EXACTLY the type of work I wanted exposure to and the experience I was looking for. I immediately reached out to the main contact to set up an informational call which led to an interview soon thereafter. My co-intern (also WG’15) had reached out to HQ’s Managing Partner after hearing her speak in his class and being equally inspired. In mid-April, long after I thought I would be done with recruiting, I was offered the internship.
We worked in the same office as the restaurant management group, a floor above the Shake Shack team. We were welcomed into the USHG family and learned extensively about its businesses first-hand. The core HQ team consisted of five passionate people who have helped grow the consulting practice into what it is today. We immediately became embedded into the small team and were encouraged to be involved with clients. As interns, we were responsible for three projects that related to our professional interests, drew on our past experiences and contributed to developing HQ’s business.
So, don’t freak out! Don’t let yourself think that you’re not doing enough for recruiting or become discouraged when a few classmates have locked down internships in January. Easier said than done, I know. Focus on pursuing the roles that you are genuinely interested in throughout the year and recognize that not all of those will exist during the two weeks of FRP. I know I couldn’t have asked for a better firm or a more amazing team of people to work with this summer, but wish that I hadn’t wasted so much time being stressed in the process. You’re at Wharton – there are a ton of incredible opportunities available for you and cool things will also come to those that wait.