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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 NOW OPEN FOR MICHAELMAS TERM 2019. Click here to apply >>

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

Michaelmas Term 2019

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR MICHAELMAS TERM 2019. Click here to apply >>

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

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

Training days: 15 AND 17 October – 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.

Student Guide to The Student Consultancy – FAQs

What is The Student Consultancy?

A chance for you to gain hands-on project experience. You’ll work in a team on a project that’s important to the client organisation: examples include understanding what their customers value, ideas on increasing sales or how to secure future funding for a charity.

As part of a project team you will define the workload and how it is shared. Typically, the commitment for participants is around 3 hours per week for project work though  can fluctuate as the project progresses.

We do not accept applications from students at the Said Business School. Visiting Students or those who have previously participated will be considered on a case-by-case basis subject to demand and spaces available on the programme.

What will I get out of it?

An opportunity to explore consultancy as well as real world experience of how our client organisations approach challenges and change. You’ll work on an interesting client project and have a chance to contribute to the local community.

You’ll learn valuable skills and gain experience that will help you demonstrate your capability and potential to employers. The experience will help boost your transferable skills such as team working, communication and problem solving as well as business awareness.

Previous participants say they have enjoyed working in their team and meeting others from across the University.

How does it work?

Everything is designed to give you a new experience and an opportunity to learn. We run the programme every term with the project work wrapped up in Week 8.

In Week 0 we select participants for the programme at an Assessment Centre. Successful applicants are then invited to two training sessions in Week 1 when we prepare everyone for the consulting work. Over the two training sessions you will learn invaluable consulting skills such as client interview techniques and report writing.

We will place you in a project team and the work usually starts in Week 2 when you meet your client: you and your team take it from there and we provide support as things progress.

What are you looking for at the Assessment Centre?

At the Assessment Centre there is a group exercise after which you will be asked to make a short presentation on the findings from the group work. Each applicant will present for up to one minute.

We are looking for transferrable skills and positive behaviours: these include working in a team, problem solving and communication as well as drive and interest. We are looking for participants who are likely to make the most of the programme experience.

 Who might I work with?

We attract new clients as the reputation of the programme spreads and 90% of our clients come back for more, often several times.

Previous clients include: Oxwash, IBM, Bongo IT, Modern Art Oxford, Oxfam, Oxford City Council, Oxford University Library Services, Pegasus Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre.

Does it matter what subject I’m studying or what year I am in?

No, all are welcome! Our applicants are usually exploring their careers options or wish to try something different. We deliberately mix up people in our project teams for a wider perspective on the client challenge.

 Do I have to be interested in management consultancy? (Or do I need to know what I want to do yet?)

No, for those interested in consultancy it’s an opportunity to try it out. For others it’s an opportunity to explore their career options.

You will boost your transferable skills such as team working, communication and problem solving as well as business awareness. This will be helpful across a range of future careers.

What will it cost me?

There is no cost to you for taking part. We will reimburse reasonable expenses.

Further questions

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 17 September 2019.
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Recent blogs about The Student Consultancy

OXFO L.E.V8 Accelerator

Posted on behalf of Oxford Foundry. Blogged by Mike Moss on 20/09/2019.

OXFO L.E.V8 (Elevate) at the Oxford Foundry is the University of Oxford’s most diverse accelerator. The programme takes in up to 12 high potential ventures a year and is designed to support and nurture early-stage start-up teams affiliated to the university.

Oxford students, staff and alumni can get six months free support to build their venture. This includes mentorship, masterclasses, and access to the Foundry’s global network of investors and partners including Biz Stone, Cofounder of Twitter and Medium, Jenny Tooth OBE, UK Business Angels Association, Professor Bill Aulet, MIT, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and Robin Saunders, Managing Partner at Clearbrook Capital.

Ventures also get support to build a team – many ventures have met their cofounders through the Foundry, along with leadership and resilience skills support, financial, business, pitching, product-market fit, customer development and legal advice.

To date, the Foundry has supported 19 start-ups who have raised £7m, created 70 jobs and are having a global impact across sectors including retail, medtech, energy, publishing, fintech and more.

The accelerator is based in our Oxford Foundry building on Hythe Bridge street and runs from 18 November 2019 to May 2020.

“The Foundry has accelerated our growth by providing a space devoted to entrepreneurship, giving us access to people with diverse talents and expertise, and to its network of investors. It has been incredible. Such growth wouldn’t have been possible without the Foundry. We are now focused on raising capital and sales and marketing. We want to sign ten new clients by the end of the year.” Jason Lacombe, CEO, Veratrak.

We welcome solo founders and teams and it’s a fantastic chance to be part of a supportive and expert community.  The programme is equity-free.

Apply online on the Oxford Foundry website. Deadline: 30 September 2019.

Your help is needed! Do you have an interest in events and/or earning some extra money?

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 17/09/2019.

The Careers Service is currently looking for students to help out at the Michaelmas Term Careers Fairs. Our fairs are great fun and a good addition to your CV! The first fair – the Oxford University Careers Fair – is on 19 October. The rate of pay is £10.33 per hour.

The work will involve helping fair attendees (students and employers), as well as assisting Careers Service staff. Please note that some manual lifting will be required.

The roles include assisting in setting up the exhibition stands (assembling display panels, arranging tables, chairs and linen etc.); arranging for materials that have been delivered to the venue to be taken to the employers stand; meeting and greeting employers on their arrival to the fair; and helping them carry any materials. During the fair, responsibilities will include ensuring that employers have sufficient water and refreshments, and taking away any rubbish. At the end of the fair, duties will include assisting employers with materials that are required to be taken to cars on their departure; taking down display stands and clearing away.

If you are interested in helping out, please contact the Employer Relations Team by emailing Aisling Ridge on aisling.ridge@careers.ox.ac.uk to express your interest.

Start-up Visa Endorsement Application – Information Session

Blogged by Brianna Thompson on 15/08/2019.

This information session (with the Student Visa and Immigration Office and Endorsement Panel Chair) is an opportunity to better understand what the endorsement panel at Oxford are looking for, and the process of making your application. We strongly advise anyone thinking of making an application for endorsement to attend.

  • When: 2 September 2019, 9:15-10:00
  • Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
  • TO BOOK A PLACE at this discussion contact brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk with your name and, if applicable, the course and year(s) of study at the University of Oxford.

We are keen to support entrepreneurial activity at all levels and encourage people from any discipline and with any sort of business idea to apply.

More information can be found on our visas page or you can sign up to our Start-up Visa mailing list.

Win £100 with the Internship Office Photo Competition!

Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on 18/07/2019.

The Oxford University Internship Office Photo Competition is taking place once again in 2019! We are inviting all students who take part in internships facilitated through the Internship Office to submit photos that best represent your internship experience.

Please submit entries for the following categories:

Through an intern’s eyes…

What does your internship look like? Are there images you are seeing each day that would represent your experience in a positive way? Perhaps a snap of your colleagues, your workstation, field trips, events or meetings, appealing views on your way to work, even interesting objects which you associate with your internship. You can be as creative as you like!

You on your internship

We want to see photos of you in your internship environment. This could be a selfie, or you could task someone else to take a picture of you in action on your internship. This could be a posed shot, a journey, an event, meeting or you in your everyday routine on your internship.

Rules and tips

  • To enter the competition, please send your photos by email to internships@careers.ox.ac.uk with the items as file attachments, or using a file transfer service such as WeTransfer or Dropbox. Please state clearly which categories you would like to enter.
  • You may enter five photos for each category (a maximum of 10 photos in total).
  • The winning entries will be decided by a selection panel at the Careers Service.
  • For information on copyright and usage permission, please see the terms and conditions.
  • There will be one prize winner per category, who will each be awarded a high street voucher worth £100.
  • We are looking for photographs that communicate your internship experience in an interesting way. Creativity and imagination will be rewarded!
  • The closing date for this competition is 17:00, Monday 16 September 2019.

And finally, if you need some inspiration, have a look at some of our favourite entries from previous competitions:

2015 Slideshow

2016 Slideshow

2017 Slideshow

Researcher Strategy Consultancy Michaelmas 2019 – Apply Now!

Blogged by Fiona Sinclair on 18/07/2019.

Applications for the Researcher Strategy Consultancy programme are now open

The purpose of the Researcher Strategy Consultancy programme is to provide early career researchers (DPhil students, RAs, and postdocs) with an opportunity to develop the core employability skills required for a transition into analytical, business, or policy roles in the sector.

Particular emphasis is given to business awareness, teamwork, communication and leadership to complement other postgraduate training. This programme enables participants to build on skills that typically develop in designing, planning and conducting complex research projects. Whatever their career plans, including further research and academia, participants can benefit significantly from the programme.

Participants volunteer some of their own time to work in teams, over a 3 month period, to address a strategic issue or business opportunity for a client organisation.

Apply now

Click here to apply. The closing date is Monday 9 September (noon).

We are particularly interested in attracting applicants from across the University to form cross-disciplinary teams to work on our client challenges.

For further information, and for mandatory assessment and training dates, please visit the Researcher Strategy Consultancy webpage. If you have any queries regarding the programme, please email courses@careers.ox.ac.uk.

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