For the first time, thevaluecircle was able to provide a university student with the opportunity to intern over the summer. Mahira Jethwani, a second-year university student, joined the consultancy for six weeks from July to September 2021. She wanted to gain experience in consultancy to determine if this was the right fit for her and learn about the inner workings of a fast-growing consultancy firm.
It was peak summer when I received my first Microsoft Teams notification. One ‘ping’ and within a few minutes I felt like a working professional for thevaluecircle.
After some informational calls with one of the Business Analysts, I promptly began my internship on Monday morning with a Project Dashboard call. After a warm welcome, all the senior members swiftly reviewed each of the clients, their progress and their future actions. I felt like it was straight into the deep end but was the perfect introduction to thevaluecircle. The speed that the consultancy had grown in just four years was evident and the genuine passion from each team member resonated through the video call.
One of the many beauties of interning at a boutique consultancy firm was the personalised rapport I could build with each team member. Within my first week, I had one-to-one introductions with the newly hired Business Analysts and several of the Senior Team members. Everyone held expertise in their field, so learning directly from them was invaluable. Learning about risk-appetite from Wilson Leech, previously the Chief Risk Officer for Northern Trust; the NHS from Jayne Brown, who has more than 30 years of experience in the health sector; and communications from Louise Turner, whose communications career spans 20 years in both the public and private sector, was an opportunity I could not have gained elsewhere.
As I jotted my newfound knowledge away in my notebook during these calls, I often found myself writing down their incredible pieces of advice. This related to my university degree, my future career path and even, more generally, how I should live my life as a nineteen-year-old. Entering a consultancy firm as an intern during a remote-working era, I truly did not expect everyone to be willing to help me, let alone help me grow as an individual. I cannot emphasise enough how welcoming everyone was, letting me know that I could reach out anytime. This friendly, collaborative and inviting work environment was a truly pleasant surprise that I had not experienced elsewhere and helped me integrate and feel like part of thevaluecircle’s team.
Despite managing client-based work over the summer holidays, this didn’t stop thevaluecircle from teaching me about the logistics of contacting clients, effective proposals and governance reviews. The Business Analysts took me under their wing and emphasised the importance of internal projects. I was given responsibility in many areas, including helping achieve our sustainability goals, writing our diversity statement, creating internal and external feedback forms and helping implement our new project planning tool. Elsewhere, I helped prepare for an in-person senior leadership session and completed research in relation to Integrated Care Systems.
This work led to one of the most important lessons I learned at thevaluecircle: without organisation, it is incredibly difficult to maintain clarity, especially if you want to keep the pace of thevaluecircle’s growth.
I have learnt that consultancy isn’t the same every day. There are several challenges that arise for different reasons for different projects each day, and that is what makes it exciting. I learnt that I enjoy the variability as it keeps me constantly engaged. Because I found this so enriching, I believe that I now want to pursue consultancy full-time after university.
For the next intern, here are a few words of advice:
thevaluecircle provided me with experience that I could not have received elsewhere. It is an amazing place for interns and provides real opportunity for those who want to gain exposure to consultancy and learn about its inner workings. Thevaluecircle team was adaptable, quickly integrating me into daily operations and adding me to meetings to gain hands-on experience. They constantly checked-up on me to make sure I was being challenged but not burdened, which I really appreciated during the summer.
Ask questions! In my school career so far, I have always steered clear from asking too many questions. At thevaluecircle, I learnt that asking questions is a very important way to learn and was constantly reassured of this by each of the Business Analysts.
If you can make it up to the office, do it! Meeting everyone in-person provided me with a much better understanding of an office working environment, which I hadn’t experienced before. The team welcomed me with a tour of the beautiful office location at the Nostell Estate, a small business park on a National Trust property in West Yorkshire.
I couldn’t have wished for a better summer internship experience and am incredibly grateful to everyone who taught me so much. I will definitely be wearing my thevaluecircle branded hoodie and beanie for years to come!