We hear from Jayna Patel, who has recently secured a Graduate Consultant role with leading Transport Consultancy Steer Davies Gleave. Here she discusses the application process, as well as her top tips for anyone following in her footsteps.
Please tell us about the graduate scheme you have joined
I joined Steer Davies Gleave’s eighteen month Graduate Scheme at the beginning of October this year. I am an Assistant Consultant working in the London office.
Why did you choose this company and role?
It was the variety of work that first attracted me to consulting. As a graduate at Steer Davies Gleave I will have the opportunity to work on projects across the business. I was also really interested in the problem solving and analytical nature of this role.
Although I have no previous experience related to transport, I have enjoyed learning more about the industry and the types of projects Steer Davies Gleave has been working on. While transport consulting may seem very specialised, Steer Davies Gleave has a huge range of areas you can get involved in such as aviation, business and financial modelling, rail and regulatory work.
The strong link with economics also excited me, for example Steer Davies Gleave’s work on stated preference and the willingness of travellers to pay for different elements of their journey. Having done a degree in economics, I am looking forward to being able to apply this knowledge in my role.
Can you tell us about the application process?
The application process had four stages. The first was the online application form with a CV and cover letter, followed by online numerical and verbal reasoning tests. After that, there was a first round interview in the Steer Davies Gleave London office. Lastly, I attended an assessment centre.
What did you find was the most difficult part of the application process?
I found that preparing for the first interview was the most challenging part. It was difficult splitting my time between the more technical consulting case study aspect and also trying to learn more about the company and the industry. I was unsure about how much background knowledge I would be expected to have and it was easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of information available.
What was the most enjoyable part of the application process?
The most enjoyable part was the assessment centre. This was a great experience and made me more aware of what the job entails. I also enjoyed getting to meet a lot of the consultants throughout the day, everyone was very friendly and approachable. We got to hear from the CEO, as well as talk to the current graduates about what their experience has been like so far.
How did you prepare for the application process?
Steer Davies Gleave’s website was the most useful way to prepare. I read case studies about the projects they have been involved in, as well as their news and insights. Reading about what is happening in the transport industry was also helpful as well as practising consulting case studies. Also, as for most interviews, practice common questions and make sure you are comfortable talking about everything on your CV.
What has your first month been like?
I have had a great first month. First we had a week of training where we learnt more about the company and transport consulting as well as some of the more technical skills. After training it was straight to work and getting stuck into different projects. Even within my first week I got to work on a huge variety of projects which has been great. Everyone is really friendly, approachable, willing to help and make time for you. There is also a fantastic social side to Steer Davies Gleave including weekly Friday drinks.
What top three tips would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Make sure you know about the role you are applying for and what Steer Davies Gleave do. This might sound obvious but take some time to read through Steer Davies Gleave's website and their case studies. You do not have to know everything about transport but it is a good way to understand if their work really interests you.
At the interview and assessment centre just relax and try to enjoy yourself. Although easier said than done, this will help you think clearly when answering questions and help you to be more confident.
Make the most of any opportunity to ask questions. Get to know the company and the people and find out if this is the right place for you.