Name: Paige Cohen
Class Year: 2021
Title: Junior Consultant – Human Services
Organization Name: Public Consulting Group
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
In my role, I support projects with state human services agencies, helping agencies design and evaluate programs (examples might be TANF, SNAP, or workforce development programs), increase revenue/cut costs, and ensure regulatory compliance.
2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
I first learned about Public Consulting Group (PCG) through a simple LinkedIn job search in the fall of my junior year at Holy Cross, when I saw their posting for a summer internship. After going to the PCG website, I became really intrigued by the concept of public sector consulting and how private businesses can help support state and local governments. I applied, and through more LinkedIn networking, realized that Stephen Skinner, their Director of Marketing, is an HC alum. I connected with Stephen, and he supported me through the interview process and helped me secure my internship with the PCG Marketing team in summer 2020.
I really enjoyed my internship, but I was hoping to transition to the consulting side of the business, as I wanted to dig more into policy work. The more limited job market of early 2021 and my lack of quantitative skills made it challenging to land that consulting job right out of Holy Cross. I ended up taking another job doing internal strategy and operations at L.E.K. Consulting for a year after graduation. While at L.E.K., I focused on learning as much as I could about the consulting industry and building up my quantitative/analytical skills. I always kept an eye out for PCG job postings, and in April, I saw an opening for a Junior Consultant role. I emailed Stephen right away to let him know I was applying, and I was delighted to accept a job offer in May. I’ve been in my role for about 6 weeks now and am having a great experience so far.
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
While I was on campus, I was a member of the Varsity Rowing team. I was also a Community-Based Learning Intern, an SGA Cabinet member, and Political Science Student Advisory Committee member.
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I was an English and Political Science double major. I’ve always loved Literature, and the English major gave me a foundational skillset in good writing, reading, and communication. Political Science offered me an application for that skillset, as I thought through and wrote about issues of public policy. My interest in this intersection of policy and communications led me first to an internship at the State Department in the summer of 2019 and then to PCG as both an intern and now a full-time employee.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
Critical thinking and policy analysis are two skills that I developed at Holy Cross that I use often in my work at PCG. Throughout classes at Holy Cross, we were called to “ask more”— to not just memorize information but to think critically about what we were learning. I have to do this sort of critical thinking often at work, as we think about how to make state programs operate more efficiently. I also took several public policy classes at Holy Cross, where I studied and debated many of the government policies that I work with now at PCG.
6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
Be patient! Even if your first job or your first internship isn’t what you wanted, there are many paths to take in your career and your first job is just a first step. Try to make the most of any opportunity you are given at work to build up your skills, so that you are prepared for your next move.