Joe Houghton

June 29, 2020, by Jackie Thompson

Want to explore a career in consultancy?

By Joe Houghton, economics student

I applied for the Nottingham Consultancy Challenge (NCC) as I’m interested in working in a consultancy in the future, so this was a great opportunity for me to explore consultancy further.

I knew that the experience gained on the NCC would be useful to add to my CV and talk about in interviews. The Challenge also runs a Nottingham Advantage Award module and since I had already finished two other modules, it allowed me to complete the award. Additionally, I liked the prospect of working with new people and learning about topics that I was unlikely to encounter in other circumstances.

The company and project brief

As a team of four consultants, we worked with ID Ward (Yoop Tech Ltd) whose prototype virtual wallet, allows internet users to regain control of their digital footprint. Unlike third-party cookies, users can choose what to do with their online data instead of it being sold on to private companies.

ID Ward has successfully been trialled by three European media companies; however, they wanted to expand into new verticals. Therefore, our brief was to research the advertising technology (adtech) market, as this was well-suited to ID Ward’s technology and was more lucrative than the media sector.

Delivering the project

As a team, we communicated via WhatsApp and shared useful links and information with ID Ward via Slack. We collected our research onto Google Doc slides and discussed them in our weekly meetings with ID Ward. Afterwards, we identified the following week’s research focus. Our rough week-by-week structure was:

  • Understanding the basics of the adtech market
  • Researching individual companies
  • Analysis of the adtech ecosystem
  • Producing recommendations based on companies put forward by ID Ward
  • Assembling our report

After the research, we finished the project with a presentation and detailed report which included a detailed description of the adtech market and ID Ward SWOT analysis.

We recommended that ID Ward should pursue the adtech market because it is lucrative and would adapt well to their technology.

What I got out of the Challenge

The support on the Challenge was excellent, especially the workshops which built upon the critical skills needed, such as communication and presentation.

I enjoyed:

  • the direct client contact as it replicated the workplace well and forced us to use our initiative and problem-solving skills
  • working with students and clients and learning about a new industry

And I gained:

  • valuable experience in the competitive consulting industry, which is varied, frequently working on new projects in different sectors
  • a greater awareness of the key consultancy requirements such as communication, organisation and problem-solving, which the Challenge developed
  • an understanding of the adtech market, which could be useful in future careers.

Working on the project alongside my studies

Managing my workload can be difficult as a final year student: juggling my dissertation, exams, and graduate scheme applications alongside the NCC. As a team, I felt we could have shared the workload more evenly sometimes. However, if you have a thorough brief with clear time commitments and plan well, the Challenge can easily be worked on alongside your degree.

Feedback from the client, ID Ward

Overall, I would recommend the NCC as I viewed our project was a great success. Following our final session, we received excellent feedback from our client throughout the process. He highlighted our thorough research and willingness to investigate a new industry as reasons for the success of our report and presentation.

What I’ve gained from the challenge

The NCC has improved my future employability prospects by providing invaluable experience in a competitive sector.

I have added the Challenge to my CV and spoken about it at assessment centres and interviews.

Additionally, I significantly developed my transferable skill set, connected with new people and completed the Nottingham Advantage Award.

Applications are now open for the Virtual Nottingham Consultancy Challenge: a new, evolved version of the Challenge for these extraordinary times. The closing date for applications is Sunday 5 July. 

Posted in Work experience