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Why work experience before Uni is a great opportunity

Freddie BorgWho am I?

My name is Freddie. I’m 17 and going into my final year of school, and I have to start applying to university soon. After a few long trips to university open days, I’ve decided that I want to study industrial economics — I just don’t quite know where yet.  So, having chosen the course I want to study, I thought it would be good to put myself in the best position to get onto a good programme by getting some work experience.

Why research?

I spoke to Chris Stead, a family friend and the MD of RS Consulting Group, and told him about my university plans. Chris kindly offered to give me a position over the summer holidays. He mentioned that giving young people who are interested in business work experience opportunities is important to his organisation. He feels that it gives them experience that they may not be able to get at their age, which helps them to make decisions about their future career path.

My aim was to learn about and gain experience in the different forms of research going on in a successful agency. The reason I want to learn more about research is because it is such an important part of any business, as well as specifically industrial economics, and will contribute to a number of modules at university. However it’s something that I’ve never really been exposed to at school, so it’s something I’m eager to learn.

I’m particularly interested in data analysis and how this is used to provide solutions to business challenges. With my interest in economics and maths, it’s perhaps no surprise that I enjoy handling and analysing data. Or at least I’m able to put up with it, I’m pretty sure I could find a couple things more enjoyable than a pie chart. But as data analysis will be part of my economics degree, I wanted to get hands of experience of how this is done in a research consultancy.

What have I learnt?   

This is my first experience of working in an office and so I was unsure what it would be like.  Sitting at a desk for most of the day doesn’t sound so appealing. However, because of the relaxed and friendly environment, I’ve really enjoyed my time here.

I’ve gained first-hand experience of the different stages involved in a research project. I have observed and participated in project briefings, internal team meetings, seen how  proposals that get sent out to clients are planned and written, and got involved in qualitative analysis of focus groups and best of all, quantitative analysis of survey data. I particularly enjoyed this as it was one of things I wanted to do from the start.

I have also been given an insight into the business aspects surrounding clients and what they want from the research. I’ve especially enjoyed learning about the different types of research that RS Consulting and its other brands, mruk, Leapfrog and Consensus do.  It’s been interesting to see how they tailor their research for the types of clients they work with.

Overall, I feel I’ve gained a lot of useful experience and skills that I will be able to take into my university studies and the workplace. Even though all of that seems like a long way away right now, considering how many sets of exams I still have to get through.

I’d just like to thank everyone who has made my work experience possible. I’d also like thank all of the different staff members that have worked with me, and put up with me. Finally a special thanks to Sania who has mentored me throughout this week.

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