My name is Mats Syversen, and I’m a student in my final year of a BEng degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Queen Mary. In October, I applied to take part in a programme called QConsult Commercial run by Careers & Enterprise at QMUL. This is a paid scheme where you, as a student, get an opportunity to work closely with working professionals, as a consultant, to solve realistic business challenges as a part of a team.
The process begins with an online application form, which you need to fill in explaining your motivation and interest in the scheme. If you’re accepted you will be invited to attend an assessment day, before you’re then, hopefully, accepted onto the scheme. If you are unsuccessful, you will still leave with a wealth of knowledge regarding how large enterprises conduct their candidate selection process, giving you the upper hand if you are thinking of applying for a job.
If you are successful, you will be split into project teams consisting of 5 people, with whom you will be solving the project brief together with. In my group I was assigned the role of Project Coordinator, which meant I would be working closely with the client, making sure the deadlines were met, and, most importantly, making sure all the team members were being included and heard.
No prior experience of consultancy is needed, as training will be given before the start of the project, which is why this project is suitable for anyone who’s interested in gaining relevant work experience as well as networking with professionals and other students. During the project, you will receive frequent feedback, advice and support from the Careers & Enterprise team, to make sure you are always on the right track.
My team was working with a company called HabLondon, helping to develop a crowdfunding property investment platform. Having no prior experience of neither property investing nor online platform development, the team initially thought it was going to be a difficult task to solve. We quickly found out that by working together as a team, utilising every team member’s strengths and knowledge, and by collaborating closely with the client, it would be possible to solve the task at hand.
After a week of hard, but rewarding work, the team produced a comprehensive report and held a final meeting with the client to present our findings. The client was very satisfied with our work, and decided to offer us all jobs where we would keep on assisting her in the development of the property investment platform.
All things considered, the scheme is a great way of gaining work experience and to prepare you, as an individual and team member, for the professional workplace. Being the project coordinator of a team, some of the things I learnt were new ways of planning, organising and solving challenges, as well as how to work and behave as the leader of a team. Taking part in this programme will also help you develop your analytical, time-management, problem-solving and written/oral skills, which is key when applying for future job roles. In summary, this scheme will most certainly prepare you for what’s to come later in life, and will unquestionably work as a springboard into the life of work.
Applications are now open for the next round of QConsult – click here for further information and the application form. The deadline to apply is 10am on 13th March.