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Career Profiles – John Knapp

Career Field Prior to HBS:
Engineering & Operations Management, Celanese Corporation
Commodity and Specialized Chemicals Manufacturer

Position at BCG:
Summer Intern

Why did you choose an internship at BCG?
Prior to HBS, I had spent my career working in a large chemical plant in Houston, Texas, where I gained experience in operations and general management.ÿ My goal in coming to HBS was to broaden my understanding of areas in which I had less exposure, including strategy, finance and marketing, as well as learn about industries outside of chemicals. During the Fall recruiting process, I discovered that strategy consulting offered the unique opportunity to leverage my operations background while simultaneously learning both about other business functions and about other industries. From that point, it became a question of determining fit. Ultimately, I liked the people I met from BCG and was drawn to the firm’s flexible approach to client work and employee development. ÿ

What made you decide on interning in the Midwest?
HBS was my first experience living outside of the South, and the decision to look elsewhere was in some ways a difficult one.ÿ Once I decided to look outside the South, though, I knew I wanted someplace with the cultural vibrancy of a big city without the high costs of New York or San Francisco.ÿ I’d visited Chicago a few times and admired its great architecture, laid-back culture and amazing restaurant and music scene; for me, it marked the best mix of big city size with a culture I’d enjoy.ÿ Plus, summertime in Chicago can’t be topped!ÿ

Summarize your internship experience – the good, the bad and the overall.
I had a fantastic summer at BCG Chicago.ÿ Before my summer started, BCG called me to ask what sort of experience I wanted.ÿ I told them that I hoped to work on a strategy project, preferably within industrial goods since I had more understanding of that industry than others.ÿ I ended up on a team working on a strategy project for a large textile manufacturer in the South.ÿ For 10 weeks, I was treated just like a full-time Consultant on the team: I had my own modules to complete and worked closely with my counterpart on the client side.ÿ The work was both challenging and rewarding since the outcome of our study would have a big impact on where and how the client would invest its capital in the future.ÿ Outside of client work, BCG also filled our schedules with lots of team-building activities so that we could get to know our fellow interns and the full-timers. In the end, I learned a lot, experienced a new kind of work, and got to know a new city – all around, it was a lot of fun!

February 22, 2010
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