As a junior attending Rutgers University to study Finance and Economics, I always foresaw my interning and professional work experience to be at an investment bank, accounting firm, or financial services firm. Allow me to translate- I’ve always reconciled that my future would consist of white button-ups, black jackets and trousers, all coupled with a rigid working environment. This would only make sense considering society says that business savvy people with an apt for mathematics go into finance, it's just what they do.
Being someone who still uses a physical calendar and clears out their phone apps on a monthly basis, IT and data management are topics I would have never thought I would touch. Additionally, because it is less publicized, I was unaware of the potential future I could have in professional consulting. I wouldn’t say that the realm of consulting services is completely overlooked at University career expos and networking events; however, like many industries, it takes a definitive back seat to the glorified culture of Wall Street and the Financial Industry. Therefore, surprised and unsure was an understatement when I received an invitation to interview at the Princeton based, Business and IT Consulting Services company Process Stream.
The Interview Process
If you are reading this and you are not a current college student, this next part will hopefully give you a small glimpse into our daily slanted mindset. At first, I found the business park that Process Stream is located in to be intimidating. The sliding glass doors to the conference room were also intimidating to me. Bloomberg News playing on the TV with the ticker of FANG stocks in the bottom of the screen was intimidating. Sitting at a round table surrounded by other potential candidates was intimidating. However, the refreshments and snacks in the center of the table were not intimidating. Not that my introverted self would ever consider helping myself to them, it was still a comforting gesture to me that showed they cared about us interviewees. After all, snacks are the way into any college student’s heart. Do you know who else was not intimidating? The head of Human Resources Ramseylee Politi, who was engaging, relatable, and smiling ear to ear as she took us through a presentation of the company’s culture deck.
During the interview, I was not bothered with any cookie-cutter behavioral questions about what I would do in certain ethical dilemmas. I never had to “name a time when.” The mutual respect was there right off the bat. We traveled to different stations to meet various role players in the office. I was asked about my interests; I was asked to solve brainteasers and puzzles, and I was asked to answer technical questions. As a matter of fact, after successfully solving one of the brainteasers I asked the interviewer what his role at the company was. You can imagine how pink my cheeks got when Bobby Roy (who is just “Bobby” to me now) responded that he was the owner and CEO. In my head it never occurred to me that a C-level employee would actually waste their valuable time interviewing interns. Regardless, at that point I thought it was safe to assume that I sabotaged any chances I had of getting the job. Nonetheless, as a gesture of goodwill and appreciation, I messaged Bobby later that day on LinkedIn and thanked him for his time and the fun interviewing experience. He responded within minutes.
Throughout the interview I assumed that I was only being considered for the company finance internship. Since I had no prior experience with Quality Management Systems, IT or Business Analytics, I decided not even to apply to the company consulting internship. Upon being offered the consulting internship instead of the finance internship, Ramseylee explained to me that Process Stream thought I had a lot of the natural talent and skills to be a good consultant. Looking back at the way I answered the interview questions, I can totally see where they were coming from. I spoke and they actively heard me. By taking the time to really know me, Process Stream could identify a position that I could really succeed in, despite my prior alternative plans. It was also a very bold move on their part to offer someone a position that they didn’t even apply for to begin with. I decided to accept the position based upon the trust that Process Stream would know where I would succeed within their company better than I would. Allow me to say, I was right to trust them.
The Internship Structure
The 8-9 week summer internship program that I participated in at Process Stream was called streamIGNITE. Each of the four interns was matched with a mentor based upon commonalities. My mentor and I were both top-down thinkers, yet we are both highly detail-oriented, possess strong communication skills, and love having strategies and numbers to support our decisions. All of the pairings of the interns and mentors were excellently “on point” to say the least. From there, each of the interns was assigned several lon
g-term and short-term projects under the supervision of their mentor, along with one overarching team project. The team project that the other streamIGNITE interns and I had to complete was to make demo marketing videos for Process Stream’s new software programs- migrationIQ and selectionIQ. We were told at the end of the internship we would have to give a presentation to the company outlining what we had worked on over the summer.
This summer I thought I would be fetching coffee and making copies. What did I actually do this summer? Through my assigned projects, I was pushed to hone my competence of IT, challenge traditional line of thought, pursue quality solutions to problems, and think out of the box. Under my mentor Rahul Bhatia, the Director of Solutions Architecture and Thought Leadership, I conducted research and analyzed survey data to ascertain the directions that our client’s respective industries are heading, as well as how to get ahead of those trends and changes. I even got the opportunity to assist the finance department in automating some of the accounting cycle process. When it comes to work and school, I am a textbook overachiever. I have always gone the extra mile because I felt obligated to out of fear of repercussions. The difference now while working at Process Stream is that I went the extra mile with my work because i wanted to. Naturally, anyone would want to help a company that takes such an interest into helping, or should I say igniting their career.
Wall Street is often known for its “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. However, I learned this summer that many forget that there is a lot of fun is to be had in both the IT and Consulting industries. At least, this definitely held true for me during my time interning at Process Stream. In consulting there is a lot of interaction with high profile clients. This interaction can often times be in social settings in which consultants must possess excellent soft-skills and technical know-how. In regards to IT companies, these are usually the players that are creative, cutting edge, trendy, and visionary. The company mentality at Process Stream as a whole is indicative of these fusion of skills that are required to excel in both IT and consulting. So many times large corporations use you and suck you dry of your talents, and then cast you away afterwards. Process Stream however, possesses a culture of innovation, collaboration, best practices, and most importantly employee engagement. In the field of consulting, your resources are predominantly people. How do you leverage your resources to best serve your clients? Actually take a stake in their happiness, lives and overall well-being. The only way to give your clients superior service is to maintain and deploy top talent. At least this is Process Stream’s outlook.
Before this summer, I had never tried Indian food (which is now my new favorite), wrote a short movie script, spoke in a conference call, cracked brain teasers, automated processes, tried Thai food or interviewed potential vendors. I also attended an escape room for the first time, went on a scavenger hunt in downtown Princeton, and attended a company barbecue with a slip n’ slide. I can now check all of these items off of my bucket list. I consider myself very fortunate to have been placed in a bold enough environment this summer that would make these things happen for me. For people like me, with similar mentalities, who thoroughly enjoy a challenge and being pushed out of their comfort zone, I would absolutely recommend working in a company environment like Process Stream to you. I am genuinely grateful for the experience I have received.
And with all of that being said ladies and gentleman, streamIGNITE out!