I recently spoke with a college sophomore, Michael Riley, who reached out for career advice. We both attended the same university (many years apart) and he wanted to learn more about my experience as a consultant. By the time we connected, he had landed an internship with PwC, a Big 4 consulting firm, for this upcoming summer. I was impressed – he is a sophomore and this type of opportunity usually goes to rising Seniors. I asked him how he did it.

He said he landed this job because of the “Snowball Effect.” The idea that one job experience prepares you for another one that is bigger and better. He was able to leverage skills that he learned in an internship after Freshman year to launch him into the next. Impressed with his tenacity, I asked him to contribute to this blog and share how he did it:

Figure Out Interests

Even though he was only a Freshman, Riley says, “I took a chance and started writing to many professionals, including fellow alumni, who held roles in the banking industry. I scheduled phone calls with them to learn from their experiences.”

Throughout this process, he figured out that he was not as interested in finance as he thought he was. He pivoted and decided to speak with professionals in management consulting. He quickly realized that he could relate to their approach and decided this was the career he wanted to pursue.

Find a Summer Internship…as a Freshman

Riley states, “As a freshman, it is not easy to find summer internships. I decided that I would not limit myself only to big-name companies. Rather, I would try to find an opportunity at a smaller company to gain experience.” He landed a job as a business analyst with a furniture company. He learned how to prospect for clients and manage logistics.“I came back to campus with experience and skills from my summer internship but was ready for more.”

Get the Jitters Out at the Career Fair

Riley attended the Campus Career Fair…even though none of his friends were going. He went to meet recruiters but also to practice speaking about himself. He strategically planned to speak with companies that were not at the top of his list first so he could practice his pitch and get those jitters out before meeting those companies that he truly wanted to target.

Make the Snowball

Having an internship my freshman summer really allowed me to have something relevant on my resume and something to speak about during my interviews for my sophomore internships.” Shortly after the career fair, Michael attended a conference for young Latin professionals where larger companies were recruiting at the event. He says, “I showed up at the PwC booth, and told the recruiter I was very interested in a career in consulting. I shared my story, skills, and passion. I sold them on the skills I acquired last summer and my ability to execute in a new role. I had an on-site interview and received an offer two weeks later for a consulting internship at PwC–one of the largest consulting firms in the world.”


Michael shares, “With the Snowball Effect each internship you get affects the next one…the more the snowball rolls, the more it grows (I am from Miami, you guys know this better than I do). Having work experience on my resume allowed me to speak intelligently to PwC when the time came to interview with them and prove I was the right candidate based on my experience.”

Michael adds, “I started early, found out what I was passionate about, figured out what I had to do to get the job I wanted, and executed when I had the opportunity.”

Congrats Michael! It looks like your snowball is about to get bigger.

If you would like to learn more about how we help students and grads create their own snowball effect, visit www.nextgreatstep.com