I'm Linse Kelbe, a wall street banker and ballet dancer from New York, and I'm here to give you an insight into my MBA internship experience as an MBA consultant with Societe General in Paris.
As a background, my internship search process was very straightforward. I was looking for a position at a large French bank in Paris where I could work in French in my pre-MBA industry (finance). I heard about the MBA internship within Société Générale’s internal consulting team at the MBA internship day; I applied and was offered the position after 2 rounds of interviews.
In my role, I worked with the bank’s European consumer finance team on the launch of a pan-European digital finance product, the first component and the backbone of the bank’s future digital strategy. This involved structuring and managing a 10-week blueprint phase of the product launch, including discussions with clients on their needs, designing a product prototype during a week-long design sprint, and preparing for a commercial launch of the product.
My main deliverables were an analysis of the market potential for the product across Western Europe, identifying potential clients within a defined target market segment, and a financial model of the projected revenues, costs, and profits of the new business over the next 10-year period. In addition, I managed the status of the project team across Société Générale business units in France, Germany, and Italy, and worked on presentations for senior management, culminating in a final Steering Committee meeting resulting in the decision to launch the product.
The role used a combination of skills from Corporate Finance and Strategic Management – two of my favorite courses in the MBA. The best part of the internship for me was having the opportunity to work almost exclusively in French. It was a fun challenge to learn the ins and outs of consumer finance and associated technical vocabulary in French. In addition, my prior experience was quite far removed from day-to-day life, so it was nice to work on something that consumers will use regularly. Above all, I will be able to leverage this experience for a full-time role in Paris after the MBA.
A day in my work life in photos
7:53 – RER C to Versailles, the first of two trains to the office (I went in person on Mondays and Tuesdays).
8:45 – Arrive at the office, a beautiful glass building in La Défense. I worked on the 35th floor.
9:00 – I settle into my tasks for the day. I was thrilled to find a standing desk at the office! This is life-changing. I worked here and took meetings in a conference room with the rest of the team.
13:00 – Lunch with the team, at the canteen or a restaurant terrace if the day is not too busy.
19:30 – Head back to campus (on busy days, continue working when I get home).
Overall, I was grateful for the opportunity to practice my business French and experience French work culture. If you are looking for a similar role, be sure to get your French up to a level where you will be comfortable working, presenting, and attending meetings in French, and, since it’s a consulting role, be sure to practice for case interviews (in French as well).