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Associate Bootcamp Program with Lorraine

Lorraine, a Consultant with Clarkston Consulting, shares her career experience going through the Associate Bootcamp Program for recent college grads.

Lorraine’s Career Experience
I am a Consultant at Clarkston who is passionate about organizational change strategy for global retail, consumer products, and life sciences organizations. I enjoy helping my clients navigate change through transformational projects. I typically advise clients in areas of process improvement, organizational effectiveness, cross-functional program management, and digital enablement strategies.

Joining Clarkston and the Associate Bootcamp Program
Prior to joining Clarkston’s Associate Bootcamp program, I graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration from Babson College in Wellesley, MA. I found out about Clarkston through Babson’s Management Consulting Field Experience (MCFE) program where I served as a student consultant for Clarkston leaders. I also met several Clarkston Babson alumni through campus networking events. From there, I was given an opportunity to participate in Clarkston’s internship program and further explore my interest in a consulting career. My experiences working with and getting to know Clarkston stewards truly made it an easy decision for me to join the Associate Bootcamp program.

Describe Your Experience with Bootcamp.
After graduating, there were two months before Bootcamp started. I used the break to spend time with family and friends, take a few trips, and settle into my new home in Boston. During the break, I also kept in touch with my Bootcamp Buddies who were there to answer any questions I had before going into the program. Between my Bootcamp Buddies and the Clarkston Training team I felt comfortable and ready for what Bootcamp had in store.

My first day of Bootcamp was packed with meeting several stewards and leaders in the RDU office. I met my Bootcamp class of eight stewards, all coming from different backgrounds in business, engineering, and technology. Some of my class also interned with Clarkston like I did, so it was nice to reconnect with them. We learned about the busy but fun seven-week schedule that would prepare us for our consulting careers.

Our day-to-day trainings were a mix of lecture and experience-based learning, which I really enjoyed. Each course was taught by Clarkston subject matter experts who took time out of their client work to invest in our learning. Some of the courses were challenging but I felt comfortable asking questions and leaning on my fellow Bootcampers as we learned the material.

One of my favorite aspects of the Bootcamp program was getting to meet and know so many of the stewards I’d be working with. It allowed me to not just learn about various services and skills needed for my job, but also to begin identifying areas I wanted to get involved in for my career growth. Outside of our Bootcamp “classroom” we also had several opportunities to engage in after-work activities such as dinners, local theme parks, and even bowling with the Clarkston Partner team. To this day I still reminisce on the memories made during Bootcamp; those experiences helped me build relationships with fellow stewards that have lasted long after Bootcamp.

What impact did Bootcamp have on your career?
Immediately after the Bootcamp program wrapped up, I was staffed and traveling to my first client. Despite the quick turnaround between Bootcamp and staffing, I felt prepared to meet my project team and build relationships with my clients. The Bootcamp program taught me both the hard and soft skills needed to succeed on a project. The hard skills included Clarkston’s service and industry areas, while the soft skills ranged from professionalism, relationship building, and delivery.

Looking back, the aspects of Bootcamp that I’ve applied in my client and internal initiatives are centered around an understanding of Clarkston’s Core Values. I’ve continued to be motivated in giving back to our firm through employee development, firm building, and service development activities. I’m always trying to find ways to help other stewards because I know they would do the same for me. For example, I periodically check-in with our Consumer Products & Retail Leaders to offer collateral or ideas I’ve picked up from my own work that can assist them with client projects or prospects. I also have found opportunities to teach incoming Bootcamp classes on services that I’ve delivered to clients.

Even though Bootcamp was almost three years ago, I still keep up with my class because we’ve become good friends through the experience. We all stay in touch virtually and even occasionally plan weekend trips to visit each other. I’m grateful for the close friendships I’ve made both in my Bootcamp and with other stewards in the firm. We look forward to getting together during our bi-annual Company Meeting events, which have been a great way to pick-up where we last left off together. I always feel compelled to make plans with Clarkston stewards and alumni when visiting different cities. One of my favorite parts of Clarkston is having the ability to travel and connect with my close coworkers across the country.

Advice for Interested Associate Bootcamp Candidates

  1. When starting out in your career, embrace all what your company has to offer and spend time exploring what is most important to you. Take any opportunity to learn from others who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge.
  2. One of my biggest lessons learned is to take a breath and enjoy the ride. The first few years of a career should challenge you to determine what you like and don’t like in a job. Be curious and ask questions that help you get closer to identifying your dream position.
  3. Another important aspect of your career should involve building and sustaining relationships with people across your personal and professional network. You never know what opportunities could be in store for you down the road if you keep in touch with your close connections.
  4. Finally, don’t give up chasing what makes you happy. If you have a concrete set of goals that you’re looking to achieve, make sure they remain top of mind. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important to you when you get into the routine of a job. Find ways to stay focused on your goals and purpose… you’ll be surprised with what you achieve!