Unlocking sustainability careers with an Insight Project – MSc Geopolitics, Territory and Security student Selen’s story

From 15th – 26th February 2021, 26 students took part in our first round of King’s Insights Projects. The Shared Value project was a 2-week virtual internship, which placed students in teams to work as consultants to a real business, researching new ways for their client to grow their business in alignment with one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Selen tells us about her experience with the programme. Applications for Insights Projects are currently open for the next cohort!

Selen sitting on a blanket in a park smiling
Picture courtesy of Selen with permission to post

Hello! I’m Selen and I’m in doing my masters in Geopolitics, Territory and Security at King’s College London.

During my Bachelor’s study on International Relations at Bilkent University in Turkey, I engaged with the political dynamics and policy analysis of governmental institutions through my internships in the Ministry of EU Affairs, Turkish Presidency and Foreign Affairs.


Why go for an Insights Project Internship?

I didn’t know much about the sustainability sector so I wanted to learn more about it. This internship turned another leaf in career as it made me aware of the opportunities in the sustainability sector as well as providing me with the experience of group work to create a report from scratch. I’m very glad to have applied because working with a group towards a common purpose lightened my mood as we helped each other out in cases we don’t feel comfortable or confident enough.

Learning about how private companies operate to integrate sustainable values into their system and helping them towards this goal was a fulfilling experience. The completion certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile will increase chances of future employability besides providing insight on the future of companies. So, just go for it! J


Toughest challenge

The challenge was to find common hours to have a meeting with my team as local time zones differ and we all prefer to work at different times of the day so the report was a bit disorganised at first.

We got through it by communicating through the group chat and volunteering for duties and subjects we feel most comfortable with. I’m glad I got to meet people from various disciplines and once again realised the power of group work where ideas complete each other.


The virtual environment

We used various platforms to communicate such as WhatsApp, Google Docs, Zoom and Microsoft Teams and switched platforms when we had a hard time hearing each other or didn’t have much time.

This year has been challenging in so many ways due to COVID-19, one way to overcome this is to not limit the conversation with work and to bond more. Besides using Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp and Google Docs to create a professional report, we exchanged our social media accounts and talked with each other about our lives. Don’t hold yourself back, get personal!


Image of people shaking hands
Photo courtesy of Chris Liverani from Unsplash

Managing Client Expectations

What’s great about the programme is that the group and the clients agree on a common ground to work on and the group can ask questions whenever they feel stuck through Practera and e-mail. Moreover, getting clear feedback on the draft report enables the group to work on what’s missing and what can be done better so there are no vague instructions on what could be done for the final report.


Developing personal skills for the global workforce

Learning about the global skills of the 21st century as a crash course at the beginning of the programme (cultural consciousness, being service-oriented, problem-solving, collaboration, leading and innovation) provided a chance to reflect upon my strengths and weaknesses.

Thanks to this programme, I now feel much more confident about talking about what I can do and have a hard time doing. Realising everyone having their strong suit, helping each other out and having the role of a leader from time to time was a growing experience.


My advice on students who are considering the programme

If you’re worried about your deadlines, don’t! J As a student who is doing a one-year master’s programme, if I managed to fit this into my schedule, I’m sure everyone can. The programme is suitable for every academic background and in fact what makes the report unique is everyone’s contribution so make sure you volunteer for what you’d like to do.

Think of which skill you want to enhance and build upon it; this programme is for your development as much as for your client’s needs. Many thanks to King’s Internships for this great opportunity!


 Applications for Insights Projects are open now and close on 29th March! Find out more and apply through our KEATS pages.