Every year, Strasys offers summer internships to students looking into a potential career in consulting. Despite COVID, we continued the programme to provide an opportunity for students to gain experience and inform their career choices.
Aliyah Butt, who is reading Economics at Trinity College, Cambridge, completed our summer intern programme and shared her experience.
How was your experience?
After my summer placement at Strasys, I developed a much greater appreciation for the variety of disciplines within the consulting sector.
In these uncertain times, I was unsure exactly how I would be able to make an impact and interact with the team virtually. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The team were very welcoming, the programme was well structured, and online collaboration was much easier than I had thought.
I was also surprised by the flat hierarchy within the organisation. For example, I was working directly with the senior leadership team, which gave me an excellent opportunity to learn more about running a consulting organisation.
What did you do?
Following my induction, I was immediately immersed in a project, analysing the digital health and life sciences sector in the Middle East, with a specific focus on Saudi Arabia. Strasys has been very successful in the UK and as part of its international growth, expanded into the Middle East.
My task was to research and understand the market to determine innovation opportunities for organisations in a post COVID world. It was challenging to explore an entirely new market and culture. However, I was introduced to the Strasys methodology to analyse and design solutions which helped to structure my analysis. I also had the opportunity to reflect and bring in some elements of my university course.
As part of the process, I had to distil my research, prioritise and construct potential value propositions where Strasys could support organisations to excel and support the delivery of the Saudi Vision 2030. I had then to create a narrative and present to the leadership team.
I enjoyed the process, particularly identifying opportunities and solutions we could provide. It allowed me to be creative and sparked innovative ideas that may not have developed otherwise. At Strasys, I got a real sense of combing art, science, and empathy to solve problems and create great solutions. My perception of consulting has changed.
What did you learn?
I learnt valuable skills, such as being concise, displaying my findings clearly and using compelling visuals to tell the story. It is also critical to bring stakeholders along the journey by clearly explaining my approach, assumptions, and conclusions.
The experience helped me gain a deeper understanding of the digital health and life sciences industries and the disruptive forces at play. Firms now more than ever, need to adapt to changing practices and attitudes, as more services become digitised.
I also learnt the most crucial factor to consider throughout all tasks was consumer behaviour and how this is changing. Rephrasing questions so that the core focus was consumer needs was extremely important.
Finally, I learnt from working with the Strasys team is being comfortable with ambiguity is a valuable trait. Being content with knowing there is always more to learn and discover allows you to be much more flexible and excel as a consultant.
What’s next for you?
I am back to university soon. It is going to be different, but I am looking forward to my final year. Hopefully, I will be able to apply some of the skills I picked up to my studies. Overall, I am pleased to be given this opportunity to work in a vibrant organisation – it has helped me to demystify the world of consulting!