Darden Student Returns from Summer Internship with the Boston Consulting Group in SE Asia
By Jessica Hirsch
This past summer, Vivek Mehta (Class of 2016) interned with the Boston Consulting Group out of their Singapore office. His main client was based in Indonesia, so Mehta spent a large portion of his internship traveling and working in Jakarta.
“I love the whole vibe of Southeast Asia,” Mehta said. “The countries are close geographically, but the culture is very diverse. As soon as you enter a new country, it’s a different place with new practices, food, and experiences.”
Mehta had lived in Singapore prior to studying at Darden, but he had never worked in Indonesia.
“I really learned to be aware of cultural differences while working with various kinds of people,” Mehta said. “I was in Indonesia during Ramadan this summer. Although I had some experience with Muslim culture from living in India, this experience allowed me to learn a great deal about certain customs.”
His client’s business dealt with various aspects of the paper production industry. As part of his project, Mehta considered the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of each function of the company. Although Mehta did most of his work from the company’s main headquarters in Jakarta, he also enjoyed the opportunity to talk to employees at one of the client’s paper mill facilities.
“Working in Jakarta, I realized the opportunity for growth in the region,” Mehta said. “This experience opened my mind to the scope of international business in Asia and how certain factors apply specifically to developing markets. I had to understand the background of my client to get to the root cause of issues to consider which factors impact productivity.”
Mehta’s team in Indonesia was mainly comprised of locals who were familiar with the language and culture, but the Singapore office had staff from many countries. In both locations, Mehta enjoyed the chance to interact with people from various nationalities and backgrounds.
“Southeast Asia is a growing hub for business, and it’s full of young people making their mark,” Mehta said. “I often met with colleagues and friends for lunch or dinner outside of work to build connections and explore the cities.”
Mehta advised that students thinking of interning abroad should research the culture and conditions of the cities they will be visiting to understand the diversity of different places and industries.
“I always looked forward to consulting,” Mehta said. “My expectations for this internship were that I would have the opportunity meet a variety of people, work with interesting challenges, and have fun. BCG was a dream company for me, and my team was very helpful. It was a great experience overall.”