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Internship with Control Risks
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Ashlyn McKee

Paterno Fellow
Major: Mandarin and International Relations
Hometown: Singapore

How did you learn about this opportunity?

After asking a family friend who works in consulting if he knew of any international consulting firms, he gave me the contact information for Control Risks Singapore. I emailed the Head of the Compliance, Forensic and Intelligence department asking if the company was accepting summer interns and attached my CV and a cover letter. I think it's a good idea not to limit yourself to "internship programs", sometimes putting yourself out there and just asking can work too.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Working at Control Risks this summer was certainly the most hands-on and intensive internship I have ever participated in. Because Control Risks doesn’t have a developed internship program, when I arrived on my first day, I was essentially thrown into the work. I was treated much like the way I imagine they would treat new hires—no coddling, minimal explanation. I was given a project within twenty minutes of setting up my computer. My first project was for a client interested in investing in an Indonesian conglomerate. The client ordered a report including a media profile, background check and litigation check on the Indonesian firm, its key management and its main shareholders. Having never worked in consulting before, I was pretty much clueless on how to conduct the research or write a due diligence report.

Being thrown into the project work with little to no guidance actually helped in the long-term because I had to use my own judgment to complete my work.

It definitely took about a month for me to learn the ropes— which were the best databases to use for litigation checks? What is the fastest way to perform a media profile check? What writing style provided an unbiased summary of the company? That being said, I think being thrown into the project work with little to no guidance actually helped in the long-term because I had to use my own judgment to complete my work.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I think my experience at Control Risks impacted me significantly in terms of academics. I conducted in-depth research and wrote due diligence reports during most of my time at Control Risks and as a result, I honed comprehensive and efficient research and writing skills. In addition, this internship absolutely increased my ability for time management. At any one time, I was typically working on three to four reports. In addition, I had to manage my time wisely as occasionally I would have to take on urgent work needed to complete a project for a client. I also learned how to access litigation databases, corporate records databases and media profile databases, as well as how to use I2 Analyst to create organizational charts.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Having grown up in the United States, Singapore and Moscow, whatever occupation I find myself in, I hope to be able to live and travel abroad extensively. In addition, for several years now, I have been interested in the consulting industry due to its research and problem solving-based work. My summer internship at Control Risks solidified my interest in working in the consulting industry and perhaps even narrowed it down to a specific field, as I primarily focused on compliance, forensic and intelligence risk consultancy. Next summer, I hope to work in another consulting firm abroad, preferably in Asia again, so I can continue to immerse myself in Chinese language and culture.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend any Liberal Arts student interested in consulting to consider compliance, forensic and intelligence risk consultancy. It is an extremely interesting and fast-paced field with many high-profile cases.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on my summer internship experience at Control Risks because the program has challenged and supported me in my academic endeavors from the start of my education at Penn State. In addition, the demanding academic environment the Paterno Fellows Program provides translated into my ability to work well in the intensive, fast-paced and stimulating environment of risk consultancy. The strong work ethic, perseverance and communication skills the Paterno Fellows Program so often demands in my academic career allowed me to produce high-quality research, due diligence reports, subcontractor screenings and organizational charts to my supervisors in a timely manner.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

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