The objective of any summer associate is to learn from work experience while providing value to the employer. However, going into my internship with Washington Business Dynamics, this seemed like a tall order. As a nineteen-year-old intern with minimal knowledge of government consulting, how could I possibly help WBD’s experienced consultants? Furthermore, with the pandemic in full swing, how could I learn from my experience while being seemingly isolated at home?
Early on into my internship, these concerns were put to rest; Washington Business Dynamics set me up for success. One of the very first topics addressed in my new employee orientation was how I could socially integrate myself within the firm while working remotely. The founding partners emphasized the importance and benefits of getting to know my coworkers, and strongly encouraged me to set up as many “get to know” meetings as possible. While this was certainly my responsibility, WBD employees saw this as their responsibility too. Following my firm-wide introductory email, I received an onslaught of welcome emails, LinkedIn requests, and Slack messages. Within my first week or so at the firm, I had met virtually with five WBD employees, had attended an end-of-the-week virtual happy hour, and had weekly meetings scheduled with my mentor, Terrence. For the duration of the summer, I was in continuous communication with the firm’s partners, principals, and associates, and never once felt isolated. I am sincerely grateful for WBD’s strong sense of camaraderie that allowed for this to take place.
With regard to my initial lack of government consulting knowledge, it was apparent from the get go that WBD knew how to maximize my potential. Early on, I was strategically assigned jobs that gave me necessary foundational knowledge, while simultaneously allowing me to provide value. My very first assignment, carefully examining and improving the prose on WBD’s website, helped build my understanding of WBD’s place in the federal contracting space. Soon after, I was given the long-term assignments of helping create a virtual orientation training course for new employees, and a virtual training course for federal clients on the service acquisition lifecycle. My initial research with regard to these two projects gave me a nuanced understanding of government acquisitions that allowed me to pivot to more complex work. Internally, I have created a firm capability statement, RFP response briefing, client presentation, concept of operations, cost model, profitability analysis model, and completed more than 50,000 words of script with regard to the aforementioned training courses. Externally, I have conducted research with regard to negotiated indirect cost agreements, global supply chain trends in the wake of COVID-19 and US-CH tensions, and PPE market research. My work has immersed me in the federal contracting industry, and it is safe to say that I have learned a lot.
One of the very first pieces of advice I was given as an employee of Washington Business Dynamics was to “stay hungry.” This tip has resonated with me throughout my internship, and is also the first piece of advice I would give to any new employee. WBD employees are hungry for work, hungry to solve problems, and hungry to help clients make better decisions. This intrinsic drive of WBD employees coupled with their immense friendliness has made my experience at WBD that much better. I am deeply grateful to the WBD executive team, my mentor, and all the various individuals for making possible this highly rewarding internship experience!