By Kristin Allan, Analyst, Supply Chain and Procurement, London
I recently graduated from the University of Exeter with a First Class degree in Medical Sciences with Neuroscience. Having done a medical degree, it was often assumed I wanted to go into a laboratory based research job. However, I soon realised that I wanted to work with people in a fast-paced dynamic environment that had lots of progression opportunity! This is my story of how an 8-week internship at Baringa helped me to determine my dream career path.
Last summer, I joined Baringa’s internship program and spent 8 weeks in the Supply Chain Business Unit. I had heard of the programme through a friend with experience at the business. Aside from the raving reviews I had from them, I was excited about the opportunity to work in an environment where you could be helping a gas network company one month and a large fashion brand the next! The project I joined was with a British gas distribution company, where we helped the client reduce material waste and save costs across their supply chain.
My time at Baringa gave me a lot more confidence in understanding the world of consulting and I had many opportunities to develop skills such as public speaking, managing a team and analysing problems bottom up and top down. What I really appreciated was the level of responsibility that I was given, which made me feel like a real asset to the team. My Project Manager gave me a PM (project manager) type role within our team so that I could oversee and understand the different tasks required to complete the project. This really benefited my confidence to speak up, ask questions, input my ideas and ensure deadlines were met or adjusted accordingly. Subsequently, by the end of the internship, I felt confident that I could discuss what I had been a part of, which really aided my final presentation which I presented to my project manager and business unit partner at the end of my internship.
What I also noticed was the effort that everyone at Baringa made to help me learn as much as possible about the business, the client, and the challenge in hand. It was great to catch up with people in my Business Unit and other units, and to hear about the type of work everyone is involved in. This really expanded my horizon about what Baringa represents.
Aside from the project work, the culture at Baringa is second to none! I genuinely felt like no question was ever a stupid one. The support I received from my colleagues was outstanding. From day one, I was bombarded with warm welcomes and top tips to help me through my internship, and the lack of ‘corporate’ feel was really refreshing! I received genuine interest from colleagues, and they helped by introducing fresh ideas for my project and far beyond. For example, when working on an internal project around Supply Chain Sustainability, I received support in understanding certain terminology such as ‘upcycling’, which helped give me deeper knowledge and helped steer my research into ways companies such as major fashion brands re-use materials to create something with greater value, in Supply Chain sustainability, and presented back to my colleagues. I also gained a deeper understanding of Procurement.
Winding down to the end of each week, it was great to catch up with the other interns. Baringa really supported us when it came to socialising and finding out about each other’s experiences on different projects. This not only broadened our knowledge of the company and the work Baringa does, it led to a great support system, and many friendships were forged in those 8 weeks.
After completing my internship, I returned to university to complete my degree. Many of the skills I used at Baringa (e.g. creating presentations and public speaking) stood me in good stead for this. A few weeks after the internship, I received a call from my Business Unit partner offering me a place with Baringa for the following year. I was ecstatic with the news and when I returned to university, I immediately missed the hustle and bustle of working life and the dynamic working environment that Baringa hold. This definitely solidified my excitement to start my career at Baringa!
Another reason I believe that I was so enthusiastic to work at Baringa was because it exceeded my expectations of what an ‘office job’ is, which can sometimes be stereotyped as antisocial! Baringa boasts a warm, inclusive and sociable working environment which is so important in what can be a demanding job. Subsequently, I have now happily returned to Baringa and I am excited to see what my time at Baringa has in store!
One of the best pieces of advice my PM gave to me during my internship, which I believe will remain relevant for me for years to come is: ‘You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable’. Whilst a slightly daunting phrase, it couldn’t be more true, for working in a consultancy, as well as for many other roles. If I could give any advice, it would be to get stuck in, trust those in your team and make your ideas heard!