After analyzing gender dynamics in Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, I left my 19th Century Lit class and went home to retrieve my slightly oversized suit jacket. I stuck my crinkled list of exaggerated leadership stories in my pocket and made my way to McNeil’s basement, just in time for my first and last consulting interview.
An ocean of muted colors greeted me as I stepped into the waiting room. The dull blue chairs contrasted with everyone’s black suit, but this was no time for aesthetic pleasure! I was efficiently led into a small room whose temperature approached Hell. On the table were a tissue box and a bottle of hand sanitizer to clean germs from insincere handshakes.
So why consulting? I had spent a lot of time considering this, and when asked I produced a rehearsed answer appealing to pragmatism and feigned interest. Yes, cases involving pharmaceutical companies or producers of nails sounded fascinating, I assured, perfect for building up my analytical faculties and building my business acumen.
The first case then followed. My interviewer, an expressionless man whose lackluster appearance undermined his supposed interest in music and art, began, “Our client has a platform for trading foreign currencies and is currently losing market share due to in–house trading. What do we do?” FUCKKKK.
Everything went wrong. I was at a loss for words. When asked to analyze a chart, percentages became foreign to me. I got every calculation wrong by many zeros, and by the end stumbled out of the room, shellshocked.
The first disaster was somewhat ameliorated by the fact that my second interviewer was a young, accented man from Spain with the same last name as Julio and Enrique. I fared fairly well this go around and left feeling slightly better about myself; I then went home and quickly changed back to skinny jeans and Converse.
So really, why consulting? For one, all my friends were doing it. If you haven’t heard, mock case study sessions are all the rage, neatly laid out frameworks the new sex. Ass–kissing is also popular; my friends dishonestly signed “pleased to meet you” at the end of countless emails to recruiters, hoping their names would sneak their way into their subconscious.
But why was I, a Film and English major, also drawn in? Even my roommate, who once wanted to join the Peace Corps, has of late been talking to Goldman Sachs recruiters. OCR brings out the worst in people. It makes students believe that their entire futures are to be decided right now, and hence a lack of OCR interest is often seen as a sign of regrettable shortsightedness.
The truth is, I think I’d actually be pretty good at consulting, and I might even like it. Perhaps I just firmly resist being led to believe that I should automatically care for it; that this was proper behavior for a motivated Penn student, the true fulfillment of intellect.
Last week I saw Robyn with Haverford friends and mentioned OCR. "What's that?" they asked, unfamiliar with the acronym. I laughed at this, highly envious. After dancing like crazy, I came home and planned out which film companies to apply to.