Summer ILab Program

By: Rachel Doretsky  |  August 31, 2020

By Rachel Doretsky

Ever since the beginning of my senior year of high school, I was planning on pursuing a career in accounting. I was set on working for a big firm, and I convinced myself that accounting was for me — without having any experience in it whatsoever. Around Pesach (Passover) time, I found myself giving the accounting job more thought and began to realize it was not the job I wanted for my future.

As someone who plans everything, I felt uncomfortable being on the path of the unknown, unsure of my major or future career. I decided to speak about this with one of my professors, and she mentioned management strategy as a major and the possibility of pursuing a career in consulting. I honestly never thought of that as a career path because I knew nothing about the field.

Soon after that conversation, my sister very eagerly told me all about the Consulting Force/Innovation Lab internship opportunity. This program consisted of a partnership between YU, Accenture, McKinsey, BCG, and the OU and provided us with two weeks of incredible training opportunities, a week of a challenging case competition, as well as six weeks of the opportunity to consult with amazing nonprofit organizations. Once again, it wasn’t something I considered taking part of. I was originally supposed to go to Israel and work with a start up, but due to the pandemic, that didn’t happen. I then planned on taking a few courses taught by my favorite professors at YU which would allow me to still have a productive, yet still relaxing summer. As one can see, my summer did not go as I had originally thought it would. 

I applied to the program though I didn’t expect to be accepted as it was mainly for juniors and seniors. Nonetheless I was ecstatic and so grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in such a program with YU and Accenture.

The partnership created between Accenture and the other firms and YU was innovative, exciting, impressive, educational, eye opening, and fun. This was my way of “dipping my toes in the consulting waters,” and it allowed me to make an informed decision about pursuing consulting as a career. 

This unique opportunity made it possible for me to combine both my passions, chesed (lovingkindness) and exploring the constantly innovating business landscape at large. This was a great way to gain hands on experience and training in consulting, and it allowed me to help others and the community during such a difficult time. 

After two weeks of training with renowned consulting professionals and my team winning the very exciting case competition, we began working with our assigned nonprofits. I was interning with Project Extreme, a one-of-a-kind nonprofit organization, providing unique, innovative, and individualized attention and services for teens-at-risk, their families, and their communities. 

While working with Project Extreme, my partner and I mainly focused on researching corporate sponsorships, website development, and gaining awareness through implementing various marketing tactics. Having a diverse set of goals gave us the opportunity to strengthen and develop different skills. We were able to hone in on certain areas such as prioritization, client management, time management, teamwork, and many more. 

The training by Accenture and the other firms was crucial and assisted us in accomplishing the goals set by Project Extreme. We received training in an engaging, clear, interactive, exciting and practical way, which enabled our successes as interns.

From this program I gained an enormous amount of experience, knowledge, friendships and connections. I am excited to participate in new chesed opportunities and to continue exploring the consulting and vast business world. I am so grateful for the tireless efforts, attention, and patience from everyone who helped make this program into a possibility. 

I constantly think about the sayings: “Everything happens for a reason” and “Gam zu le’tovah” (“This too, is for the best”). My plans had shifted multiple times and I had little to no control over what was happening, but the one thing that remained a constant was my faith in Hashem (God) — that it was all for the best. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a strong believer in these philosophies, and this summer has reaffirmed those concepts for me. 

The best one can do during this difficult time is to view obstacles as opportunities for growth, and trust that even if things aren’t clear in the moment, they’ll pan out to be for the best in the future.