The Institute Blog Series: How the Institute helped me prepare for client roles

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Having completed three months in The Institute, Institutees typically go onto their first client delivery role. Hatty Sanders explains how The Institute prepared her and her colleagues for their current client roles

“It has been wonderful to see how the Institute has rapidly become established as an integral part of our graduate programme and of Invent. This investment in our graduates rapidly builds the core skills of our teams and equips them to join our delivery teams as much more rounded, experienced consultants. I am always delighted to see how those in the Institute leverage the experience they get to build skills, develop new content knowledge, and establish their network across our business.”

Christian Kroll (CEO at Capgemini Invent UK)

On a sunny Monday morning in March, I embarked on my first assignment in the Institute. I came from a hospitality background with little consulting experience, which was not a problem as the Institute was a perfect and safe environment for me to learn the key consulting skills to take onto client roles. Throughout the three months at the Institute, I attended 16 Friday learnings and Jour Fixes, and 48 daily stand-ups which I had learnt from so much. I loved working in a feedback rich environment, where I could fail safely and network across the business, by the time I got my first billable role as a Business Analyst in HMRC, I felt confident in the core consulting skills I had built, and networks I had made to work with clients.

In this blog, I will talk about my experience and how the Institute helped me, but also draw on the experiences and opinions of other Institutee and their coaches who I spoke too whilst writing this blog.

Safe environment

One of the most helpful ways that the Institute helped my client work was by giving me the time and space to practice all the core consulting skills, fail safely and learn from those mistakes. During every project I worked on within the Institute, I had the support of the coaches, who would come to every meeting, alignment call and delivery call and follow-up with feedback, pointers, and tips for improvement. There was a constant feedback loop everyday allowing me to navigate the steep learning curve. I knew if I fell, my coach would metaphorically ‘catch me.’ I am very much a person who learns through doing, so being able to practice and refine my core consulting skills without the fear of messing up gave me confidence. Some of the key skills highlighted included presenting to senior stakeholders during delivery calls and presenting ‘knowledge nuggets’ to my cohort in the weekly Jour Fixe. Another skill I had refined was the creation of cohesive and persuasive decks which were visually professional and clear, through using storyboarding techniques, and visual tips from the design hub.

Network

The Institute has also helped me with networking. Although I am aligned to Business Technology, I had internal projects working with a variety of capability units such as Workforce and Organisation and the wider Capgemini Group, meaning I was able to meet and network with many people across the business. Not only is it important to have a wide network to learn and grow from but being exposed to so many different individuals meant that when I joined my first project, I would be familiar with a few members of the team. This meant I could ask questions and feel supported from day 1; I didn’t feel like I was starting from scratch. Through my networks, I was also able to join an internal Business Analyst (BA) community where I can meet other BAs, find coaches, and attend monthly meetings. This is a fantastic place to sharpen my skills and learn from others. Although it is cliché, when you join the Institute, it is one big family and you always have these people as a base when you head onto client work, we all still catchup regularly, and I get to hear about the amazing projects they have been working on too.

Stakeholder management

One thing that helped me and was mentioned quite a few times in my research was stakeholder management. Something I had not been aware of before coming into Capgemini, yet one of the most critical and important skills to have. Being in a people environment means you communicate with a variety of stakeholders and clients daily, so being able to manage expectations, keep organised and make sure meetings don’t run over is thoroughly important. Organising and leading the briefing, alignment and delivery calls helped me to understand the importance of regular communication between me and my client to align our expectations and deliverables. Through Friday learnings, and practicing with the Capability Unit assignments, has helped guide me on stakeholder management etiquette, and are skills I use every day on my project.

Feedback rich environment

One thing I loved and that really helped was the feedback rich environment you get throughout the Institute. We are told that feedback is gift, and it helps to always know areas to improve. During the many Institute events like daily stand-ups and Jour fixes, we are all encouraged to send feedback to our cohort after every practice presentation. Being able to give and take effective feedback is a skill that I use frequently in my client work. I ask for monthly feedback from my colleagues so I can keep developing and be a valued member of my team.

I wouldn’t have been as confident in my skills if it was not for the Institute. 100% of the coaches stated they saw a big difference in the confidence of graduates going through the Institute. Graduates get to learn core skills alongside gaining experience with a fantastic support network, so by the time they land their first billable role with a client they can start creating valuable work from day one.

Author



Hatty Sanders – Associate Consultant in Business Technology

Hatty joined Capgemini Invent on the Accelerate Graduate scheme in February 2021 with Business Technology. She is enjoying her current role as a Business Analyst in the Public sector

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