What is your major/background/hobbies/interests at Northeastern?
I am a 4th year business major with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship and minors in Political Science and Interaction Design. I came into Northeastern as an undeclared student because I have a wide variety of interests and found it difficult to select only one, which is why I find the exploration NEU offers through the co-op program such a great opportunity. I am involved as the Creative Director of Woof, Northeastern’s lifestyle magazine, and pursue freelance graphic design in my free time. I have also previously been involved with The Avenue, Northeastern’s fashion magazine. My other interests include photography, camping, scuba diving, baking, piano, and road trips.
What were you hoping to gain through the Northeastern Co-op experience?
The co-op experience has allowed me to try out a variety of jobs in multiple cities. I was really looking to use this opportunity to wear different hats, experience diverse office environments, make connections, and to always continue learning. So far, I have learned a lot of different skills and have had the pleasure of working with a variety of great people.
At Stax, what were your co-op responsibilities and what have you learned over the last six months?
Some of my responsibilities include conducting primary research over the phone, gathering secondary research to be utilized in scoping a project or sizing a market, drafting slides to be used in a client deliverable, sourcing contacts and working with expert networks, creating guides for our phone and web surveys, and working with our Colombo team to fulfill a variety of data and research needs. Some of my time at Stax has included in-field work and travel. Every project varies both in terms of tasks and subject matter. Because the firm isn’t focused on one specific industry, every project is tailored based on the industry, timeframe, and client needs. I’ve learned how to be adaptable, how to approach things with an open mind, and have also strengthened my Excel skills. Every day at Stax is different and you will always learn something new!
What has been your most memorable experience at Stax? What has been your favorite industry, product, or service to evaluate?
One of my most memorable experiences at Stax was the time I spent in-field in Houston. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but we managed to adapt to a variety of challenges. We had a great team, and 85-degree weather in early April didn’t hurt.
My favorite project was the least glamorous but most interesting – hazardous waste recycling and soil remediation. Although not as cool or spiffy as a software case, it was certainly interesting and unusual. It is not the type of company that comes to mind when I think of a Private Equity investment, but that was part of the reason I liked it. As someone who is fascinated by our evolving environment and lagging recycling and waste ecosystem, I was particularly intrigued. It made me realize that companies in all industries can be complex and forward-looking. There were many intricacies that we had to investigate in terms of regulation/permits, the political landscape, and the changing dynamics of waste and recycling. The people that we spoke with in this space were surprisingly enthusiastic about dirt and were quite the characters!
How has this experience compared with other co-op opportunities you have had?
Every co-op I’ve had has been very different, both in terms of the role and the office environment. Stax stands out in both, but particularly strikes a balance well between an outgoing and professional office environment. People come from a variety of backgrounds and everyone is incredibly smart, while still being easy-going, approachable, and friendly. Additionally, both of my previous co-ops were in the finance industry. I have been able to gain exposure to what the consulting industry looks like and have been able to further develop my research and analytical skills.
What advice would you give to an incoming co-op/intern?
My advice to an incoming co-op would be to always ask questions, and don’t hesitate to ask for more work when you need it. Additionally, asking questions about a project in general may give you a better idea of the bigger picture, how your work contributes overall, what the key goals are, and the overarching why. People at Stax are hard-working and autonomous, which means that no one is going to hold your hand the entire way, but everyone is happy to help (and wants to help) if you ask. Don’t be afraid to speak up and push yourself to learn new things!
How has the Stax co-op experience helped guide your post-graduation careers goal/path?
I will always remember Paul saying multiple times throughout my co-op experience that consulting is the “ultimate apprenticeship”. This is something that ties well with my personality and interests, being that I value variety and continuous learning in a career. While still unsure what my future will look like over the next decade, the element of continuous learning will always be something I seek. I will certainly take all the wisdom and skills I have learned from Stax with me.