I took part in the Capgemini Community challenge in 2013, during which I worked as part of a team to fulfill a brief given by a charity client: Telford and Wrekin Council for voluntary services. Our task was to come up with fundraising ideas that simultaneously allowed for interaction between large and small organisations within the local community.
The main skill I garnered surrounded the establishment of effective working relations with both the client and the other team members. Although University provides the opportunity for an abundance of group work, it was rewarding to put these skills into practice on a real life brief that had consequences, outcomes and a client, as opposed to working on an essay! This has also given me a unique ‘team work’ example to discuss during interviews and for job applications, which I feel makes me stand out from my peers and other applicants.
My communication skills also developed immensely, due to communication amongst the team, between clients and of course our presentation of the proposed solution to over 300 people, including the Vice President of Capgemini. I was required to communicate with the clients on a daily basis, and other relevant organisations to assist in meeting the brief. Moreover, I had to research into, and analyse the initial information given by the clients in order to establish and deliver exactly what was required.
In 2014 I rejoined Capgemini, this time for a longer 4-week summer placement which I may not have gained if I had not previously working on the Capgemini Community Challenge. I was excited and eager to go back following the invaluable experience I had initially. Whilst on my placement, I managed and delivered an initiative regarding the skills package, individually this time and thus focused on internal communications and intranet development. My research/analysis skills were very much necessary, and I explored reasons as to why there was reluctance into usage of the current skills package. I did this primarily through interviews and therefore again, my communication skills continued to develop alongside my confidence. I also was able to realize stakeholder communication abilities due to the range of different individuals I met, from various levels of the organisation and therefore learnt about the importance of managing expectations and of understanding the needs of clients/customers.
Throughout the month I had countless sessions designed to help me develop myself, such as presentations, analytical tools and even a CV check from the Head of Resourcing – to name but a few. I was also able to learn about what it is like in a corporation/real working environment. It was so rewarding to know that the work I did actually added value to the organisation, as well as Capgemini adding value to me through the numerous skills I was able to put into practice. Having a real project that I delivered from end-to-end has given me so much to talk about in interviews, and I would welcome the chance to work for Capgemini again one day!
By Kate Phipps