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. They were tasked with researching new ways for their client to grow their business in alignment with one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
My career journey during King’s
Hello! My name is Priya and I am in the final year of a BSc Psychology (with a Professional Placement Year) degree at King’s College London.
Throughout my degree, I have gained experience into the retail and healthcare sectors. Some of my work experience includes working for Lush Cosmetics and working as an assistant psychologist at a residential treatment facility.
Why an Insights Project Internship was the one for me
I decided to apply for this intern position because I was really enjoying a final year module in occupational psychology, which applies psychology to the workplace. Throughout my degree, I had this perception of pursuing a career in clinical psychology but learning about different fields of psychology has really opened my eyes to different career aspirations that I am excited to explore further.
This internship appealed to me because it was a 2-week nano internship that I could complete alongside with my studies and assignment deadlines. It also encompassed several elements of consultancy, an area of work that I am interested in gaining some experiencing in. For me, the biggest appeal was knowing that I would be able to work with a real-life organisation. This form of experiential learning holds real value and this internship programme as a whole has definitely lived up to my expectations.
My biggest challenge was actually applying to this internship programme. At the time of applying, I knew that I wanted some experience in consultancy, but I was incredibly nervous about how I was going to manage my time with upcoming deadlines. I also had a really unfortunate experience with some previous work experience that affected my confidence in applying for new positions.
However, I’ve been able to work part-time throughout my degree and so time-management does come easy to me and this made me feel more comfortable in applying. I overcame this challenge by just applying because my interest outweighed my concerns about university-work life balance. Now, I don’t regret applying and I’m really happy that I did.
The virtual work environment
I was very fortunate in working alongside a wonderful team and I had a great experience working virtually. It was lovely meeting new people at this time where we aren’t able to interact socially with friends and loved ones. I found that my team adapted incredibly well to the virtual work environment and we utilised Google Docs, WhatsApp and other online platforms to efficiently work as a team.
Priya reflected some of her career learning around client management and teamworking:
In first meeting our client, we asked the client how they would like us to communicate with them in the case of any questions or queries that we had. This was helpful as we were able to feel comfortable in reaching out to the client, for example to clarify whether we were meeting their expectations. Within the internship, it was incredibly helpful to create a draft report, enabling us to get valuable feedback before submitting the finalised report to our client.
In collaborating, we found that breaking the main task down into manageable chunks was a great way of assigning each team member a smaller task to work on individually. It was important that everyone was happy with their task. We were all open and willing to help each other out and give peer guidance, which made the project really enjoyable and took pressure off of the workload.
Developing leadership, client management and global skills
This programme has allowed me to gain a range of skills, the most important for me being leadership skills as I typically shy away from leading. I also learned a lot about the workings of a company, including marketing, product design, consumer profiles, competitor insights and so on. I developed skills in communicating with a client, which I feel is very valuable, irrespective of what career or area you want to work in. This project also provided information about global skills which I feel I definitely gained, such as cultural consciousness, being service-oriented, problem-solving, collaboration, leading and innovation.
Advice for students looking for work experience
The biggest piece of advice that I would give myself or students who are thinking about undertaking this project is to just APPLY! Of course, it’s good to ensure that this programme fits in well with other commitments and degree deadlines and so on. But, it’s great to immerse yourselves in this kind of project that is 2-weeks long and allows you to work with real companies in a real-world context.
This project will also benefit anyone irrespective of your academic background or previous experience. In fact, the team that I worked with had a range of academic backgrounds and prior experience and this worked in our favour because each of us had a different perspective and could bring something different to the project.
Overall, this opportunity was wonderful in allowing me to gain more experience in a different area of work and developing a lot of skills that I believe will be incredibly beneficial to me in the future. Thank you to King’s Internships for this amazing opportunity!
Are you looking for virtual work experience? Why not try a 2-week long internship with the Insights Programme! Read more about the programme and how to apply during Spring 2021, via our King’s Internships KEATS pages.