Sören Reischert’s Intense & Rewarding Internship in London

Last summer, I interned with Quiller Consultants, a communications and reputation management agency based in London, UK. It was the fourth and last internship of my integrated professional year. Previously, I have worked for the Singaporean logistics company YCH, the global C-suite consultancy Teneo in Dublin, and the communications agency Newgate in London.

Quiller was formed in 1998 by John Eisenhammer, a former journalist with The Independent and Jonathan Hill, a former British civil servant.  Originally, the company was set up as a specialist public affairs (PA) agency. I joined Quiller during a period of fundamental organisational change. In recent years, an increasing number of agencies in the PA and PR sphere have realized that clients prefer a “one-stop-shop”. That is to say that clients prefer to work with one agency on all fronts rather than working with several agencies on a project basis. That is why Quiller has changed both its outlook and organisational structure.

The new CEO hired a group of recent graduates and young professionals from diverse backgrounds. In the office, which consists of around ten staff members, an impressive nine languages are spoken. This allows the team to work with clients from around the globe. In addition, the company can now advise its clients not only on public affairs but also on more corporate projects. Currently, the client base includes leading global brands from the retail, financial, nutrition and energy sector.

Sören Reischert with the London Skyline
Sören Reischert with the London Skyline

Despite having joined Quiller on a temporary contract, I received the title of Junior Consultant. The main difference between a regular intern and a Junior Consultant is that the latter also works directly with clients. In this sense, my job at Quiller came with more responsibilities but also more freedom than my previous roles. My tasks at Quiller  included media profiling, general research, creating presentations, transcribing interviews, and preparing briefings.

My internship with Quiller was very intense, yet very rewarding. Being able to attend more client meetings meant that my work felt relevant and intellectually stimulating. Working in a smaller team was a key advantage at Quiller. It meant that my contributions had a bigger impact and I was able to be more  involved in projects.

Classic London double decker
Classic London double decker

I was also delighted to see that it tied in seamlessly with my studies in International Relations and Public Policy. I have always been convinced that a multidisciplinary education has many advantages and it is encouraging to see that my expectations are fulfilled so early on in my career.  It has confirmed my belief that being professionally successful in today’s world means working across borders and connecting experts from all disciplines.

Sören Reischert is an Atlantis student, completing an MA International Relations degree at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY and a Masters in Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. 

Sören checking out the Shard
Sören checking out the Shard
Soren Reischert in London
Soren Reischert in London
Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program
The Maxwell School
The Hertie School of Governance

Emily Hoerner, For Profit Development Consulting

Emily Hoerner is a joint MPA/MAIR student, finishing her MPA degree by working on a team consulting project for the NGO, Health in Harmony. Emily formerly participated in the Survey of Current Issues in African Migration program, where she worked on a project for International Organization for Migration Ghana.

This fall I have been fortunate enough to spend the semester interning with Social Impact, Inc., a development and management consulting firm headquartered in Arlington, VA. In addition, like most other students, I have also been taking night classes at Maxwell’s home base in DC, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Social Impact has three major pillars or departments: impact evaluation, performance evaluation, and strategy, performance, and capacity building. I work for the latter division, SPCB. My duties as intern cover a wide range of assignments, from overhauling and revamping the SPCB team’s knowledge management platform, SharePoint, to attending meetings with clients such as USAID for projects like developing strategic and change management plans.

As someone who is relatively new to the consulting world, my internship has been an eye-opening experience. Though I was familiar with USAID in an academic context, working with the agency as a consulting client has given me an entirely different perspective on the organization. I’ve had the chance to learn about USAID’s project cycle, the types of work they fund, and how their projects are monitored and evaluated (M&E is actually a specialty of Social Impact’s).

One of my ongoing projects has involved coding qualitative data (focus group discussions and key informant interviews) for a performance evaluation of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) initiatives implemented by USAID and its partners in Madagascar. Through this coding assignment and other projects I’ve been able to help out with, I get to see up close and in person how the different types of research designs we often discussed in my Introduction to International Relations Research and Quantitative Analysis classes are actually implemented on the ground, which is fascinating. It’s exciting to realize that the research designs you studied in class are used so often in the implementation of development projects.

Though most of my fellow Maxwellians are interning at think tanks and research and policy organizations, interning at a for-profit consulting firm has been an interesting experience. Some aspects of the consulting sector, like business development and proposal writing, are fairly similar to the work I did as a fundraiser for an environmental non-profit before I came back to graduate school. Other aspects, though, like the contract approvals process and sourcing ad-hoc consultants for new projects, are completely different. Ultimately, I’m thankful to have the opportunity with this internship to learn more about the industry I hope to enter upon graduation.

Emily Hoerner

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Featured map image by David Flores ( from Flickr. Creative Commons