The Student Consultancy | The Careers Service The Student Consultancy – Oxford University Careers Service
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Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation, we have decided not to run a TSC  programme in Trinity term. We hope to run this programme again in Michaelmas term; dates for which will be announced on CareerConnect and on this page.

In the meantime, check out The Oxford Strategy Challenge (TOSCA), which offers Oxford University undergraduate and graduate students and researchers an alternative to our regular team-based client experience programmes: The Student Consultancy (TSC), Researcher Strategy Consultancy (RSC) and The Agency.

We also invite you to make the most of this time to boost your career insights and plans, in particular through increased online/live voice support offered by our Careers Advisers.

These include:

  • Booking a 1:1 with the Adviser of your choice
  • Explore our Summer Internship Programme. Remote working opportunities include the chance to work with the UN, legal companies, aerospace organisations, start-ups and museums. You can browse all remote internships available through the programme on CareerConnect. Please note you can now apply to an unlimited number of summer internships with an application deadline of 13 April 2020.
  • Take advantage of the Micro-Internship Programme for Trinity term which will be launching on 22 April 2020 on CareerConnect. This term, all micro-internships will be completed remotely from home during week 9 (22-26 June 2020) and/or week 10 (29 June – 3 July 2020) of Trinity term.

For updates on the full range of our Careers Service resources during this period of constraint related to C-19, and beyond, see the Careers Service Blog.

About the programme
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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?
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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
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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
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It is our intention to run this programme. However, we are constantly monitoring the current situation and we will notify applicants if anything changes.

Student Guide to The Student Consultancy – FAQs
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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
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  • 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 01 June 2020.
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Recent blogs about The Student Consultancy

Civil Service policy roles: Direct entry for 2020 start dates

Posted on behalf of Civil Service Jobs. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 13/07/2020.

The Civil Service Jobs portal currently has a single advertisement for Policy Advisers – HEO, but this is a large recruitment drive to fill 320 policy positions at Higher Executive Officer level. These positions will be suitable for new graduates including Masters and, as a guide, the HEO grade can be considered as the entry grade for Civil Service Fast Streamers.

The application deadline is 12:00 (noon) on 3 August, which suggests that applicants should be able to join the service this autumn, so suitable for this year’s graduating class.

Currently, roles are available in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow and Edinburgh with potential for home working also. The starting salary is in excess of £28,000, rising to nearly £32,000 for positions in London.

 

Navigating Your Career Through Difficult Times – 15 July

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 13/07/2020.

As part of the St Hilda’s Community Week, St Hilda’s will be running a ‘Navigating your career through difficult times’ virtual event on Wed 15 July, 16:00-17:30. Listen to alumni share their career experiences and pick up advice on how to tackle the challenges amidst a tough job market and engage in a fulfilling career. Please also feel free to invite your friends to attend – the event is open to the public.

Register for free on the St Hilda’s website.

The speakers will be:

Emma Gange (Chemistry, 1994) Head of HR for Global Private Banking at HSBC. Emma will provide tips on standing out from the crowd when submitting job applications, interview faux pas and what recruiters are looking for.

Elaine Teo (Psychology & Philosophy, 1996) Founder and Managing Partner of Living Potential International. Elaine delivers leadership consultancy, coaching and thought leadership to the world’s most prestigious and influential organisations. Elaine will give advice for building emotional resilience and agility, as well as the life skills recruiters look for.

Sam Hussain (Engineering, 2008) Sam founded Log my Care in 2017, a software startup that aims to digitise and modernise the social care industry. He will talk about his experience of being an entrepreneur and how to go about starting your own company.

Oh Canada! Information about PG Study

Posted on behalf of High Commission of Canada . Blogged by Karen Walker on 10/07/2020.

Interested in studying in Canada? Have questions about how COVID-19 restrictions have impacted programmes and available services?

On 13 July at 14:00 BST, join the High Commission of Canada for a live presentation about the exciting opportunities available in Canada. Find out more and register.

The speakers will go over why you might want to choose Canada as your destination for international study, as well as everything you need to know about applying for a study permit. This includes COVID-19 related updates to programmes and services.

This will be followed by a live Q&A session with representatives from the High Commission of Canada in London to answer any questions you might have. To submit questions in advance, please email: LDNPublicAffairs@international.gc.ca

Please note: this event is intended for attendees from the following countries: the UK, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. Unfortunately, it will not cover information relevant to markets beyond those.

Apply now for new September cycle of the Micro-Internship Programme

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 09/07/2020.

Applications for this term’s micro-internship opportunities are now open and will take place 7-11 September or 14-18 September.

All placements will last 2-5 days and will be completed remotely from your home. Sign-in to CareerConnect to see what’s on offer this September, or browse the full list of opportunities. Remember, you can make up to two applications until 12 PM on Monday 3 August.

Browse the full list of opportunities and apply on CareerConnect >>

Who can apply?

Placements are open to all matriculated undergraduate and postgraduate students (both Taught and Research).

Can I apply even though I have completed my course/due to complete my course over the coming weeks?

Please note that the September cycle is also open to all finalists (UG & PG) who have completed their course this academic year (2019/20) – even if your course ends or you graduate before the application period. Finalists, please note that many of you have received an email from CareerConnect when your course finished recently. This will have made you aware that your account has been switched to an Alumni account and it asked you to update your email. Please be sure to do this, as it will allow you access to the September micro-internships.

Workshop – Micro-Internships: What are they and what should I cover in my application?

If you are interested in learning more about the Micro-Internship Programme and how to draft your applications, attend one of our virtual workshops to hear all about the Programme and how you should structure your application.

Apply for the workshop on Monday 20 July (10:00 AM) >>

Apply for the workshop on Thursday 23 July (10:00 AM) >>

Undergraduate Research Support Grants for Social Scientists

Posted on behalf of The Oxford Q-Step Centre. Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on 08/07/2020.

Call for applications: Oxford Q-Step Centre Undergraduate Research Support Grants

The Oxford Q-Step Centre invites Oxford undergraduates to apply for a grant to support social science research involving quantitative methods.

Research support grants are designed to allow recipients to run surveys, digitise source data, or undertake other tasks necessary to complete a dissertation or other research project. Students could design a questionnaire to be fielded by a survey company like YouGov or via a crowdsourcing platform like Mechanical Turk; they could specify a data collection task to be undertaken by a data collection company like Digital Divide Data or through a platform like Upwork; they could purchase data for use in their research; or they could purchase software or hardware that allows them to undertake specific research tasks.

Although we imagine most students will use grants to support dissertation research, we also encourage students to consider applying for grants to undertake other types of research. For example, a student may wish to undertake an independent research project about an industry or organisation, possibly with guidance or cooperation from a non-academic supervisor. In these cases, the grants provide an opportunity for a student to obtain funding for a self-designed internship. To the extent possible, such a project should have a well-defined output.

We are particularly interested in supporting students who would not be able to conduct the specified research without grant support.

We expect most grants to be under £500 each, but we would consider a larger grant in a compelling case.

Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis (i.e. with no fixed deadline), but funds are limited so applying earlier will give the best chance of success.

Application instructions

Applications should be sent to oqc@politics.ox.ac.uk. A complete application includes:

  • Contact information for the applicant
  • Contact information for the student’s supervisor on the research project or, if supervisor has not been determined, college tutor
  • A brief description of the research project (up to 500 words), including details on the use of quantitative methods
  • A budget and accompanying explanation (up to 250 words) justifying the funding requested

Criteria for success

Quality of proposed project, including prospect for success and nature of output

  • Clarity of what funds will be used for
  • Feasibility of project (including given circumstances surrounding COVID-19)
  • Support from the supervisor or college tutor
  • If the research is not for a dissertation, clear indication of what research output will be

After completion of the project, grant recipients will be asked to provide a report on their use of funds; they may also be invited to describe their project in an event including all grant recipients.

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