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Life as an associate at a high-growth company

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The Graduate Associate Programme spans across 2 years and helps associates develop the skills they need to master their role, take on more responsibility, and work towards a management position. Associates focus on understanding the knowledge our clients need and identifying the industry professionals with the expertise to meet those needs.

Tommy Ferguson joined AlphaSights in January 2021 and just started his second year in the Associate Programme. Learn more about how Tommy is enjoying the programme and gaining new responsibilities.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your time at university?

I grew up in Framfield, a small village in East Sussex and then went on to graduate with a degree in Economics and Politics at the University of Leeds in 2019. University was a continuation of my sports-obsessed childhood days where I was involved with the rugby society and played lots of social football.

How did you find out about AlphaSights and what made you want to apply?

I came across AlphaSights on LinkedIn and was immediately intrigued by the role and company. The combination of responsibility early on in a client-facing role, and a clear career progression compelled me to apply. The interview process consisted of three stages, which included a project and a motivation/strength-based session which not only gave me a better understanding of the role, but gave me the opportunity to spend time with my interviewers, who were very impressive!

What was the highlight of your first year?

AlphaSights champions an inclusive and celebratory culture in which we’re given the resources to celebrate our wins together and get to know our colleagues off the desk.

In a year full of many enjoyable moments, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one! However, if I have to choose, some of my colleagues and I organised a Christmas dinner for our team (there are 25 of us within this team). The dinner was a great success and served as a recognition of our division’s many achievements over the year.

What’s your biggest learning from your first year in the role?

I quickly recognised the impact that adopting a growth mindset, seeking feedback, and focussing on micro-improvements can have. Learning, growing, and adopting this mindset has had a substantial impact on my long-term personal development with my key improvement areas becoming real strengths. For example, my ability to effectively manage multiple work streams simultaneously in an effective and efficient way has improved tremendously from my first few months in the role.

How does your second year as an associate (A2) differ from the first?

Essentially as an A2, I’ve evolved from serving as an individual contributor to taking on more people-focused responsibilities. In addition to my core role (sourcing and connecting experts to clients), I also train both my new joiners and manage client accounts and relationships. The additional responsibilities are challenging, but a great source of motivation as I continue to see my impact within AlphaSights grow.

Tell us about a typical day on the desk for you.

I spend the first ~30 minutes of my day preparing for our morning team meeting by assessing which projects require the most attention and then planning my time accordingly. Following the team check-in, I prioritise the most pressing projects where I can expand on what we’ve delivered so far. This includes sourcing potential experts to assess their suitability for a project. Naturally, priorities change throughout the day as new projects come in or clients’ research requirements pivot so it’s all about being adaptable! I also spend time working with my trainee to ensure they’re getting to grips with the role, strategising how to better serve our accounts, and working on regional initiatives – which there are always many to get involved with! I am currently taking part in a negotiation initiative with different teams where we are trialing various negotiation tactics and comparing results.

What do you enjoy most about working at AlphaSights?

The culture. I have loved how friendly and driven each of my colleagues are, and I enjoy meeting people from a wide range of backgrounds. I enjoy the high-performance energy — it’s great to feel part of something bigger than yourself, where everyone pushes toward the same goal.

What types of development opportunities have you experienced during your time here?

I have developed relationship and project management skills since taking over end-to-end project responsibilities. Managing the entire process for receiving the client brief, communicating with the client, and delivering on the project itself has been a great learning process. By working closely with and learning from more tenured employees early on, it’s rewarding when you develop these skills for yourself and see your personal progress from where you began.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?

I’m most excited to see how much I can scale my impact at AlphaSights over the course of this year. Whether that’s contributing to my trainee’s learning and development, getting involved in more regional initiatives, or reaching personal milestones, such as progressing to a manager. There is plenty to strive for in 2022!

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