Sergey Timakov, a GSOM SPBU student of the Master in Business Analytics and Big Data (MiBA), has already got an internship in BCG Gamma after the first year of the program. In this interview he told us about the company, his duties and the atmosphere within the team.
In which department did you do your internship? What responsibilities did it hold and what made it different from other departments?
I had an internship in BCG Gamma — this department is working at the interface between business and data science. We are required to use instruments of advanced analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and many other things in order to solve the actual business problems of the companies which request our assistance.
How did you get through the selection for this department of the company?
While I was preparing, I tried to concentrate primarily on the information available in BCG`s social media, as well as the materials which the company had sent us before every new step of the job interview. We started from a test of our programming skills, then BCG gave us an indicative list of essential topics and examples of tasks we could expect to face. Of course, it was better if you could go beyond this list but I guess it still covered all the questions and features you needed.
What challenges were you facing?
My main tasks were connected with improving the model of machine learning which was the base of the product our team was working on. When I entered the team, my teammates were working at full speed: the model had already been created and managed to work but there were some shortcomings with which we needed to cope. So, my duties were mostly aimed at finding these shortcomings, looking for their origins and then finally dealing with them. I also helped with the testing of business theories; other teammates offered me their suggestions and I considered them, using big data.
Did you have a recruiter or mentor? If so, how were you interacting?
Everything was done in an online format. There is a program in BCG: every trainee of the company has a co-called ‘buddy’ — actually he serves as your mentor and you can ask him any questions you have. I mostly discussed some career development questions, ways of interaction with the team and how to organize your time, do everything before the deadline and to get burnout. We often had phone calls and my mentor answered my questions on the basis of his own experience or the experience of his colleagues.
If I had some technical difficulties (for example, when I was working with a new instrument and didn't know how to use it), I could ask any of my teammates or colleagues for help.
Who was a part of your team?
Our team consisted of different specialists: classical business consultants, BCG Gamma workers themselves (data science specialists, programmers). We were working all together. Our colleagues from traditional consulting were mostly focusing on business tasks. We were focusing on them as well but were also using elements of machine learning, analytics and statistics.
What conditions did the company offer you?
BCG has many internal courses which were created in the company and there are a lot of materials for your own development. You can study on some external courses which could be purchased but BCG would pay the fee if the course would really help you professionally. YThere are many possibilities. And it's definitely amazing that trainees have the same benefits as other workers.