Student story: My QConsult experience (applications open now!)

Thinking about autumn term already? Don’t forget that QConsult starts again in September and applications are open NOW. 

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Carola (2nd from left) & her QConsult team

Carola Bigogno (2nd Year Biomedical Sciences student) took part in the spring round of QConsult, working on a project for a local housing charity. Here’s what she had to say about her experience on the programme:

Why did you get involved with QConsult?

When I found out about QConsult I was thrilled. I thought it would be a great chance to improve my skills and gain new transferable ones, to learn more about a particular job profile – consultant, which I found extremely interesting, and also give back to the community in a different, but still valuable way.  And I was definitely not wrong, the overall experience was incredible!

Did you enjoy the programme?

The best part, for me, was working together in a team: putting together ideas and opinions and using our skills to present to our client and write up the best report possible. I think that I’ve always worked pretty well in a team, however, working with other people can be extremely challenging. Luckily enough, everyone in my group was very professional. We also became friends, sharing not only the experiences of the programme but socialising together too.

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WATCH: Isabel’s QConsult Story (& apply for the autumn round)

Looking to get some work experience on your CV?

Want to do more than photocopy and make the tea?

Why not apply to the autumn round of QConsult?

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The QConsult programme involves students working in a team of 5 to conduct a research/consultancy project on behalf of a business or charity, helping to solve a real problem and working as a team to conduct research and analysis before presenting their recommendations to the client. Past projects have involved research, marketing, product development and evaluation.

To hear more about what it’s like to be on the programme, see previous QConsultant Isabel’s video below, where she tells us about her experience and gives her top tips for those thinking of applying. Read on for more details about the programme …

The programme will take place over 9 weeks in the autumn term, from 18 Sep – 17 Nov. Students work part-time and are paid London Living Wage (£9.75/hr) for 20 hours of project work, with additional training sessions on top. All undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the programme and we welcome applications from all schools.

We will also be releasing two video diaries from students who just finished the summer QConsult programme. Follow us on Twitter (@qmcareers) to catch diary updates throughout August.

To find out more about the programme and apply visit careers.qmul.ac.uk/qconsult.

Applications close at 9am on Tuesday 29th August.

Student story: Hasan, QConsult Commercial

hasanMy name is Hasan Hoque and I’m in my second year of university studying BSc Economics, Finance and Management at Queen Mary. I took part in the autumn round of the QConsult Commercial Programme where I worked as a consultant in a team of five on a live project for a business client. This opportunity is perfect for anyone interested in consultancy or those looking to build upon a variety of transferable professional skills. To apply for the next round of QConsult, click here.

You are initially required to complete an online application form which is a chance for you to showcase your interest in the programme, your skills and past experience. You don’t need to have experience in consulting; as long as you can communicate your passion and skills effectively you’re on track to making a great application!

Next is the assessment centre: the assessors are extremely friendly and want you to perform your best. You’re told how you’ll be assessed and what they’re looking for in successful candidates, so that whether you succeed or not, you’ll have valuable experience which will come in handy when applying to graduate roles. If you aren’t successful you’re encouraged to seek feedback and apply the next round. Once you’ve been accepted onto the programme you’ll be assigned a team and will attend a training session. This is so you are aware what is expected of you as a consultant representing Queen Mary and that you have the knowledge to work effectively to produce the best results for your client. It’s also an opportunity to meet your team members and be introduced to your team’s project.

You then attend your initial client meeting where you have the opportunity to visit the client’s office. You’ll go through the project brief with them and what they expect you to have achieved at the end of the project. My team prepared some ideas and questions beforehand to pose to our client to gain a better understanding of their aims and objectives. I found this extremely helpful as it ensured we were on the right track when we started working. Our client was very specific with their demands so it was essential we cleared any doubts. We then kept constant communication with them, updating them about our progress.

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QConsult case study: Mats Syversen

matsMy 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.

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QConsult: Get experience working with a start-up

2324You don’t have to be harbouring ideas of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg in order to be interested in enterprise. Most graduates actually end up working for SME’s (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), which includes start-ups. And the best way to figure out whether working for a start-up may be the career path for you is to get some experience in that world. The QConsult Commercial programme allows you to do just that.
How does QConsult Commercial work?

Small businesses (mostly start-ups!) provide a team of students with a short project brief outlining the details of a particular business challenge they are facing. Teams then research and analyse information around their business challenge and present their recommendations back to the business. The business gets a chance to solve a problem they are facing and you have the opportunity to build your experience managing a client relationship, working in a diverse team and communicating complex ideas in a professional setting. Student teams are asked to visit their client’s offices at least 2-3 times during the programme and communicate with them regularly, granting students a taste of what it’s like to work in a start-up as well as to work as a professional consultant.

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Could you be a QConsultant?

Queen Mary’s award winning student consultancy programme is back! QConsult Commercial places QMUL undergraduates into mini consultancy projects in local businesses. Local organisations are able to solve a business challenge while providing students with a real-life opportunity to use their skills and develop their employability.

How does QConsult Commercial work?

  • Businesses provide a team of students with a short project brief outlining the details of a particular business challenge. Past QConsult Projects have involved researching and analysing information, looking into improvements around marketing and business development, product development, and reviewing policies and processes.
  • The student teams work on the project for a specified amount of time, after which they present their findings and recommendations to the business in the form of a presentation and written report.
  • While conducting their projects the students receive advice, training and support around project management and presentation skills from the QMUL Careers & Enterprise team.
  • Student consultants are asked to spend 20 hours in total on their consultancy projects and are paid London Living Wage (£9.40/hr) for their project work. This work can take place in the form of a 1 week intensive QConsult round (usually during summer or reading weeks) and a 5 week round (generally during term time).

What have past QConsultants said?

The QConsult scheme is the best thing I have done at university.” – Andre Denton Stewart

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QConsult initiative wins at Guardian University Awards 2016

Our QConsult supported by J.P. Morgan programme has won the Employability Initiative category at The Guardian University Awards 2016. It is the second time a project from QMUL Careers and Enterprise has won in this category, with the QProjects work experience scheme picking up the award in 2014.

QConsult gives bursary students the opportunity to gain client focused work experience while presenting an affordable option for businesses facing challenges during their developmental stage. In recent projects, students have worked on research and analysis, business and product development, and policy and process review. All businesses involved say they have used the students’ project outcomes in their work.

Anasta Feldano who participated in QConsult last year said this about her experience, “It has definitely increased my confidence, I always thought ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m not equal to others’. Now, having done this project and receiving so much good feedback, I think ‘maybe I can do that too!’ Read more about here experience in a previous blog post here.

QConsult has placed 80 students with 16 businesses since March 2015.

To learn more about how you can get involved with QConsult contact Rachel Roberts at r.s.roberts@qmul.ac.uk