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The Student Consultancy | The Careers Service The Student Consultancy – Oxford University Careers Service
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What is The Student Consultancy?

APPLICATIONS FOR HILARY TERM 2019 HAVE NOW CLOSED. 

An innovative and unique programme, The Student Consultancy equips students with key and demonstrable consulting and teamwork skills to help local businesses, charities and community organisations. Since its launch, nearly 2,000 students have taken part in the programme, helping over 250 clients.

Students work in small teams over a term to address a strategic issue or business problem for a client organisation in Oxfordshire. Whatever your career plans you can benefit from the programme.

The Student Consultancy will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Learn assessment centre skills, regardless of the sector you wish to work
  • Contribute to the local community and gain solid work experience
  • Tackle strategic business issues and concerns
  • Develop key employability skills such as self-management, team working, business and customer awareness, problem solving and communication
  • Provide demonstrable examples of keys skills for your CV or for use in job interviews
  • Gain an awareness of the commercial, social and behavioural contexts of professional environments
How does it work?

After you have been selected to take part after the assessment centre, you will receive intense training sessions during 1st Week to prepare you for your projects. These will cover an introduction to consulting, key business issues, and how to go about solving them, market research, interviewing techniques, making recommendations and reports.

We will divide students into teams who will each be assigned a client organisation, based on your project preferences where possible, and you’ll then arrange meetings with the client to discuss their project. After this you will spend seven to eight weeks working with your clients, producing a report for the client about your findings. Although you will be liaising direct with your client, the Careers Service will be there to support you with any questions that you may have.

The programme is open to students from any discipline, and selection is based on:

  • creativity in finding solutions
  • approach to business situations and commercial awareness
  • motivation to support the local community
  • community or volunteer experience
  • teamwork and communication skills

Past projects

Past projects involved marketing and promotion ideas, website design, audience analysis and evaluating fundraising initiatives. Clients have come from all areas, including museums and heritage, community projects, retail, IT, start-ups, local theatre, local government, local and international charities, art galleries and many more.

What past students have said

Using TSC in job applications

‘I interviewed for BCG, McKinsey, Bain and Oliver Wyman, and used examples from The Student Consultancy at all of them. (I received offers from all four)’

‘I often write about it in job applications, using the programme to highlight examples of working in a mixed discipline team, consultancy, management, knowledge of business, entrepreneurial spirit and so on.’

‘Valuable CV and application material – it’s a really worthwhile project and is a commendable achievement. It really taught me how to think in a different way and communicate effectively with all sorts of people.’

 ‘The Student Consultancy was an excellent example/experience to cite when describing community involvement and group work experience.’

‘Valuable experience in communication management (effective communication) and team organisation / team work! Very helpful experience to talk about in consecutive job interviews!’

‘It’s a very good example to talk about in relation to taking ownership of a project that provides real added value to a business. I brought it up when asked about team work and problem solving.’

Gaining skills and experience

‘The Student Consultancy programme gave me not only an interesting insight into the consultancy sector, but also a comprehensive idea of the intricacies and difficulties of the working world more generally.’

‘I learnt key skills on how to lead meetings, and also ways in which to work as a group.’

‘The Student Consultancy helped me realise how much I did not know about consulting, team work, and project management, particularly about the challenges and difficulties involved. This is valuable insight that will help me in other projects’

‘An appreciation for how a bright spark by a few students can be amplified and transformed to create significant social change in the community.’

‘It was very interesting to work on a project that was not related to my degree subject (thinking outside the box) and I learned a lot from the organisation we worked with.’

‘The programme gave me insight into previously unknown skills: including managing the balance of a diverse group of characters, and that good communication, clear goals and deadlines are key. It also taught me some valuable business vocabulary, and how to present myself in a way that is  more understandable within the industry.’

‘The Student Consultancy gave me an idea of what it would be like to work in strategic consulting, and I came to the conclusion that it would be interesting, dynamic and more satisfying than I ever expected.’

‘Real business experience which was completely unique. A chance to step out of the academic world.’

‘Commercial awareness, and an experience of the kind of job I could be doing in the future.’ 

How to apply

Hilary Term 2019

Applications for Hilary Term have now closed. 

In order to take part in Hilary 2019, you must be available at the following times:

Assessment centres: 10 OR 11 January. One hour session. There will be eight sessions to choose from (9:00, 10:00, 11:00 or 12:00).

Training days: 16 AND 17 January – One 2.5 hr session per day. You must attend both days. There will be three sessions per day to choose from (9:30, 12:30, 15:30).

We are unable to offer further assessment centres or training days, and you must attend these sessions in order to continue on the programme throughout term.

Keep up to date

If you have any queries regarding the programme, please email tsc@careers.ox.ac.uk

Mentions around the web
  • Cherwell – an article on TSC’s work with Community Action Groups
  • Oxford Mail – Careers Service director Jonathan Black provides an insight into the programme
  • OU Management Society – a first hand perspective from a student
  • NCUB – a report on The Student Consultancy’s collaboration with Centrica
  • Healthwatch Oxfordshire – an article on a student team’s final report for TSC
  • Live Music Exchange – students’ final report on another project
This information was last updated on 07 January 2019.
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Recent blogs about The Student Consultancy

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Blogged by Damilola Odimayo on 23/01/2019.

….but don’t know how to get on the career ladder?

Then our unique How to get a job in Journalism Workshop could be for you!

When: Tuesday 29 January, 14:00 – 15:30
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The World Bank Group works in every major area of development, providing financial and technical assistance to help countries share and apply innovative knowledge and solutions to the challenges they face. Do come along if you want to learn more.

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When: Tuesday 22 January, 13:00 – 14:30
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We look forward to seeing you there!

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Silicon Valley calling graduates – Full 1-year internship open for applications.

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 16/01/2019.

The Opportunity

For entrepreneurial graduating students with coding skills the Silicon Valley Internship provides a fantastic chance to spend a full year learning from and contributing to entrepreneurial ventures in The Valley. Successful applicants will receive a work visa and a generous $75,000 package in addition to the invaluable work experience, training, support and mentorship.

Applications have just opened, and will close on 9 February. Following an initial CV sift, candidates face a 2-hour coding test to assess software development skills and to find the best match between applicants and a sponsoring company. Full details on the website.

The experience

We learned of this opportunity from current D.Phil Candidate, Adam Foster, who spent 13 months in the Bay Area as a Machine Learning Engineer for Roam Analytics before returning to Oxford in October 2017. Adam’s feedback on his SVIP experience is below and he’s happy to offer further advice by email: adam.foster@univ.ox.ac.uk.

What is SVIP?: SVIP is a program that connects UK graduates with Silicon Valley startups for a 1 year internship. My startup was Roam Analytics, a small team of really talented people working to improve healthcare using machine learning. My role involved a huge variety of tasks – startups move quickly and that provides a lot of opportunities to learn and do different things. I worked on two main projects. Firstly the development of the Roam Health Knowledge Graph- a way of integrating billions of records of health data efficiently. Secondly I worked on developing a lookalike application to perform search. This was more a machine learning task and involved reading algorithms from papers and implementing them, as well as designing a system to deploy the algorithm reliably. I also wrote some articles for the research blog.

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I’ve recently started my PhD at Oxford and, moving from pure maths to machine learning, the year out was undoubtedly a benefit both when applying to the PhD and with the work I do now. Most SVIP graduates chose to remain in the tech sector instead of coming back to academia. 

Top tips: Do SVIP! Especially if you’re interested in smaller companies, can code, and want to live in California for some time. In general, there are a lot of interesting career options out there, but some take a little more digging to find. Don’t be too quick to write off entire sectors- there are both good and bad companies in pretty much every line of work. I like to remember that students tend to graduate younger in the UK than in many other countries, so there is no need to feel rushed.

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