Grad Job Insights: Q&A with a Henley Management Student going into a September 2021 Graduate Scheme .

I spoke to a current MSc Management student who has recently gone through the recruitment process to get a graduate scheme in the consulting industry.

Annie was part of Enactus in October 2018 and became President from April 2019 to April 2020 where she realised that she wanted to pursue a career in consulting. She had enjoyed working on projects and being within a fast paced and challenging working environment. A career in consulting offers something new every day, and Annie wanted to work with clients from a variety of different sectors. If this sounds like something you want to go into or are interested in, then read my Q&A with Annie where she will shed some light on the recruitment process and give advice to prospective graduates.

Annie was successful in getting a consulting graduate scheme in Mott Macdonald’s Digital Ventures Team as a Business Analyst that will start in September 2021!

Q&A with Annie who is studying MSc Management at the moment:

Q: What is the first thing you did when looking to apply to consulting graduate schemes?

When first applying for graduate schemes, I knew it would be really important to be organised and stay on top of my applications, so I created an Excel document where I could see what stage I was at for each application. I also wrote out all my past work experience and what I learnt from each experience on a document, that I could easily refer to when writing cover letters and practicing for interviews. I made sure I tailored each cover letter and CV to each job, and put time aside from my studies to focus on my applications. I also spoke to the careers team from Henley Business School who were able to offer me valuable guidance and advice!

Q: Since you applied for 2 graduate schemes with the same company originally, were there any main difference between applications or assessment centres?

The applications for each role were very similar initially, with a written application and a variety of online tests, but the assessment centres were quite different. Each assessment centre was run by the team that I would have been joining, rather than a separate recruitment team, so they chose their own style of assessment centre that they thought best suited the role. For the first assessment centre, I had a mixture of interviews and team work sessions, which I think is quite typical for an assessment centre. The second assessment centre was a bit more unconventional – I had to prepare a presentation beforehand on any topic of my choosing, which was unusual but fun! Along with this I had a strengths-based interview and a case study interview, and this was the job I was then offered along with two other graduates.

Q: What did you find most daunting about the whole process?

I think the most daunting thing was the unknown – these were my first assessment centres for graduate roles and it was very hard to know what to expect. But it is important to remember that the people interviewing you are not trying to catch you out, they are just trying to get to know you and your strengths! So stay calm, portray your passion for the role and talk about your past experiences clearly and concisely.

Q: Have you had much contact with Mott Macdonald since securing the job?

Yes! I have met with my graduate buddy and my line manager, which has made me feel really welcomed and excited for job to start. In our meetings we discuss the work that the Digital Ventures team is currently taking on, and I have the opportunity to ask any questions I may have. He also sends me documents and webinars concerning the wider company which is a great way to gain an insight into what the company is passionate about and where they see the future of digital solutions going.

Q: What advice would you give to Henley students looking to apply this year or next?

I would advise students applying to graduate roles to stay organised, and keep track of applications and deadlines on an Excel spreadsheet. It is also important to ask for feedback after any interviews or assessment centres, because it is a really good way to learn from your mistakes and improve for next time. I would also advise to practice online tests such as Numerical and Situational Judgment tests before hand (there are plenty of websites that offer these tests for free) because they can be tricky and can catch you out!

What Can You Do?

If you are interested in getting into the consulting industry check out this previous blog that breaks down types of consulting, the recruitment process and what your first week might look like: Looking to Go Into the Consulting Sector? Or head to Prospects, because this website gives specific detailed job profiles in all industries, especially consulting and management. It is also good to note that for consulting roles it is good practice to apply directly to company websites, even if you find jobs advertised on LinkedIn or other websites. If this role interested you head to the Mott Macdonald website to find out more about the company and opportunities.

If you want to find out more about different jobs, to practice for an interview or assessment centre, or anything else related to your career, book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.

I have also interviewed other graduates to get their experience in different graduate job roles and industries, including Lily from Goldman Sachs and Noa from Atos so have a look there for more advice and insights!