Grace Whitaker

June 29, 2020, by Jackie Thompson

A perfect way for your CV to stand out

By Grace Whitaker, modern languages and translation student

I think everyone who participates in the Nottingham Consultancy Challenge comes to it from a plethora of ways. My friend found out about it from an email and when she told me, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

I have been fortunate enough to be apart of the Leadership Academy at McKinsey and Co – a world-leading consulting firm – and so the challenge was the perfect opportunity to use my previous consulting internship experience at university.

The biggest surprise about the Challenge was definitely the size of the companies that we were working for. My team was partnered with Midlands Connect, a company that provides transport solutions for the whole of the Midlands.

The project brief

I never would have expected that I would be giving consulting solutions to an organisation of such influence. My team actually had to split the brief between another team due to the enormity of the project within the eight-week timescale. With that, our team was tasked with considering environmentally-conscious public transport options for connecting rural areas in the Midlands to the larger cities.

As a model, I chose to look at the relationship between Rugby and King’s Newnham. It was necessary for us to conduct research into the current transport system as well as analysing the demographics of the rural and urban area. This allowed us to understand the ideal frequency that our transport option would need. In the end, we concluded that a light-rail tram would be the most appropriate option.

The best part

In my opinion, the best part of the challenge was the ability to meet a wide variety of students that you normally would never have the chance of working with.

In my case, my team consisted of students from all years and from subject disciplines ranging from law and economics to chemistry and classics. Not only does this provide an excellent networking opportunity, but the diversity of the team is what ultimately aids the success of the challenge. It also gives a more accurate representation of what real-life consulting looks like since most consulting teams are made up of a wide range of people.

Additionally, you can earn 10 credits towards the Nottingham Advantage Award, something I did not take advantage of, regretfully.

The difficulties

Evidently, the Challenge is not without its difficulties. Although there is some training provided, such as how to give effective presentations, you really are thrown into the deep end which tests your ability to adapt.

My tip would be to pay attention to the requirements for commitment, and take them seriously. Clients do expect a professional presentation and report so you will be expected to produce a high-quality outcome for them, taking time to proof-read and check that everything looks professional.

My recommendation

Overall, I would absolutely recommend doing the challenge. Since consulting experience is often so hard to come by, this Challenge is the perfect way to make your CV stand out. You also will be able to gain many other soft skills such as leadership, communication, and cooperation. It really was a brilliant experience.

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