Darden Student Interns with Accenture on Clean Water Project in Ghana
By Courtney Zerrenner
Jocelyn Recht (Class of 2017) spent her summer in Accra, Ghana working as the Summer Strategy Consultant for Accenture Development Partnerships Originally from California, Jocelyn attended Colgate University in upstate New York for Economics and Sociology, graduating in 2010. She spent the next five years living in Washington DC working first for Edelman Intelligence, the market research arm of Edelman public relations, and then for the Advisory Board Company, a best practices consulting firm focused on health care and higher education.
What inspired you to attend business school, specifically Darden?
During my time at the Advisory Board, I had a lot of exposure to the Corporate Strategy and New Product Development groups and was very interested in their work. I realized pretty quickly that a lot of the roles I was interested in required an MBA and strategy/management consulting experience. I began looking into business schools and was drawn to Darden because if its undeniable sense of community, which is critical when building your network at business school, and its use of the case method – after being out of school for several years, I felt the case method was a more engaging classroom experience and, as someone who is not always the first to speak up, I felt it would be helpful to force me to get into the conversation.
What are your future goals after Darden?
I plan to work in consulting after Darden. I am interested in the variety of work experience that consulting allows in terms of both industry and function. Already during my internship, I have been surprised by all the things I never thought I would be learning about i.e. Ghanaian cultural norms, water treatment infrastructure, microbiology and chemical treatments.
What prompted you to pursue working in Ghana for Accenture?
After I received my internship offer from Accenture Strategy, I was invited to apply to their international development program – a part of Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP) – which is available to two MBA interns every year. I have always been interested in development work and am a big traveler, so this seemed like the perfect option for me to get experience working internationally, which I’m not sure when I’ll have the chance to do again.
I ended up receiving the internship offer from ADP and was placed in Ghana on a clean water project. I was a part of a small team working with a German Life Sciences company who is partnering with a Ghanaian water utility company, as well as other water experts. Together, the partnership aims to improve drinking water quality and, ultimately, contribute to improved health outcomes in a local community through analytical testing, enhanced equipment and testing kits, infrastructure improvements, and awareness programs.
What does a typical day at your internship look like?
My Accenture team was quite small – just myself and a Business Strategy Manager – which allowed us to work very closely with our Life Sciences client from their office in Accra. A typical day involves project management duties and stakeholder management, facilitating meetings and check-ins with our local clients in Ghana, international clients in the US and Germany, as well as representatives from the local water utility company, and partners in Europe, to ensure that the project is on track.
How has Darden and your internship helped prepare you for your future professional goals?
Darden’s use of the case method and learning team has prepared me well for a career in consulting by teaching me to dive in – often without complete information – and to work well in team settings.
In what ways have you become involved in the Darden and Charlottesville community?
Darden is very much a student-driven environment and, during my first year, I benefited from the involvement of my classmates and the help of second year students. I am excited to be able to pay that forward this coming year. I will be serving as a Second Year coach to first years going through the internship recruitment process, and will serve as the VP of Admissions for the Graduate Women in Business club and the VP of Human Resources for the Community Consultants of Darden.
Could you share about what you’ve learned from your classmates all around the world?
With nearly 40% international students at Darden, I have enjoyed getting to know classmates from all over the world. In an increasingly connected world, it is hard to view any decision in a vacuum. Having classmates with a variety of different perspectives enhances classroom discussions and our ability to make informed decisions. Beyond the classroom, I have enjoyed hearing about classmates’ experiences, trying food from their home countries, and hopefully I might even be able to visit some of them in the future.
Can you tell me a little bit about your favorite experience at Darden?
My favorite thing about Darden is the close relationships you are able to form with people. Due to the structure of the program with section and learning team as well as the schedule with many hours spent on grounds, Darden enables you to form extremely close relationships with classmates extremely quickly.
Why have you chosen to pursue global experiences as a part of your Darden education?
I have made a point to pursue global experiences at Darden first and foremost because I love to travel. Being on the ground enhances your understanding of whatever topic you are studying and shapes your worldview in ways that you cannot necessarily experience in a classroom. With business becoming increasingly global in nature, I think it is important to seek out experiences that are different than what you are used to open yourself up to other perspectives that you may not have imagined on your own.