"At First Step Consulting, I was a valued member of a team of consultants conducting market research into the medical prosthetics industry. In addition to this, I was also the project lead on a separate endeavour whereby our aim was to consult on the client’s main competitors and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of her online social wellbeing clinic.
For me, this experience was a first in terms of being thrown into an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people to provide a professional level of service. Fortunately, the experience was very enjoyable and from it, I took confidence from successfully completing the array of tasks encountered in both my projects. The most enjoyable aspect of the experience was that it gave me my first client-facing role, from which the skills I developed I will take with me throughout my working life.
Volunteering at FSC categorically put me in a better position applying for jobs going into my third year of university. The experience is on my CV and I have been asked about it in many interviews given the multifaceted aspects of working life it encompasses. It gave me multiple examples of working within a team and as the team lead. On top of this, I was able to show problem-solving capabilities and as mentioned previously, presenting and interacting with multiple stakeholders. I believe all this is invaluable to anyone thinking about life after university."
"I worked with First Step Consulting on a few projects between 2019 and 2020. I was interested in potentially embarking on a career in strategy consulting, but also had my eye on a few other industries. I understood that I would be in a tough situation, not having connections in the industry nor did I have obvious experience. However, after online applications and interviews, I was delighted to be appointed to the team at FSC.
What I really liked about working at First Step Consulting was the level of immediate responsibility that one gets. It was extremely useful to have clear and direct instructions from our experienced project manager. What was apparent was that our project manager was always on hand to help us and encouraged an active approach, where we could ask questions and provide our own input as to how our work could be improved. There was a high standard of leadership and direction on the projects we did. I really felt that I got the necessary skills and experience on matters such as research and writing professional reports. I was part of the team that helped the cancer startup to release its platform. I also helped to develop a report on sustainability for a major beverage ingredients company.
Whilst I previously attended interviews with a lack of experience to mention during competency-based questions, I now felt much more confident in thinking of examples during interviews. This was especially the case having learnt so much from First Step Consulting and being able to demonstrate the various competencies. I really like the fact that my work had an impact on the businesses we worked with too, whether it was early-stage startups or publicly listed companies. It was a nice experience to make new friends with the colleagues I met. I was also engaged in conversations with our client, an aspect of the job I didn’t necessarily expect.
Like many of the other volunteers writing their testimonials, I highly recommend becoming a volunteer. First Step Consulting gave great flexibility and were considerate toward each volunteer’s circumstances. It is definitely worth putting in the effort to gain valuable experience – regardless of the career one chooses to pursue."
Direct Line Group
“I worked on a project with a team of seven members to help a professional membership body improve their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme. The infrastructure at First Step Consulting encompasses both learning and practical experience. I personally enjoyed the whole process from the interview and assessment stage to working on the project, it was a holistic experience. Working with real clients on an actual project with critical objectives and tight deadlines was thoroughly exciting. Coming from a healthcare background, I felt that I got a real insight into the challenges and pressures of being a management consultant and the corporate world.
Including my First Step Consulting experience on my CV improved the impression I was projecting and made me stand out from the crowd. To this end, I secured a role on a graduate scheme. During my assessment centre, I was questioned about my experience at First Step Consulting and the responses I provided received a lot of positive feedback. I learned valuable skills such as: conducting thorough research, preparing presentations for the client, personal conduct during client meetings and effective time management skills. All the above have smoothed my transition into my current role and enabled me to make meaningful contributions in a short space of time.”
"During my time with First Step Consulting, I worked with a client offering a personalised transport service to customers in various European cities and as part of my team, I was working in analysing possible cities for the client to expand their operations into.
Volunteering with First Step Consulting enabled me to develop a skill set which I hadn't had a chance to demonstrate in previous roles. The highly client-facing nature of the work is something very rare for university students to experience and this was one of the most valuable aspects of the role for me. I had a lot of fun on the project I was working on and was able to take a leadership role on my team, which allowed me to flex my time management and organisational abilities. Overall, the skills I gained as a volunteer has helped me in the trainee accountant role that I have now, as this work is also very client-facing and this is one of the most important skills I developed as a volunteer."
"I worked with First Step Consulting during a summer break. Volunteering with FSC taught me how people from different academic backgrounds can bring fresh and new perspectives to a project. It was also great to be able to function as a team to deliver our project to the client. Another learning point was how to add value to a client. And this is not restricted to consulting projects. Basically, knowledge of a client's business goes a long way towards adding value to the client. This has enabled me to appreciate a client's business and have some interesting discussion with the client.
It was an enjoyable experience and I would recommend FSC to anyone. This experience was a great addition to my CV. It can be a good talking point in any job interview."
Pew Charitable Trusts
"I was part of a team that engaged with a health informatics client. We completed a detailed market analysis, surveyed potential customers, and highlighted marketing opportunities. I enjoyed working with a dynamic team on this project. We each had our strengths and were able to capitalize on these in a respectful, collaborative way. Learning to communicate with teammates on a complex project was an invaluable skill. The team dynamic was stressful at times, but navigating our challenges has helped shape my communication approaches with my new colleagues as well.
During an interview in the UK, I was asked about my experience with First Step Consulting at a pharmaceutical consulting firm. It was useful to discuss my knowledge and engagement on this project. Having the word “consulting” on my resume was exceedingly useful in opening doors to new positions!"
"My team and I helped to develop the growth strategy of an early-stage startup in Kenya. Coming from a humanities degree background and wishing to gain some knowledge of how businesses operate, my experience as a volunteer at First Step Consulting gave me much more confidence going into interviews that I knew what I was talking about when it came to business issues. It was great to work in a team of committed and intelligent colleagues who were keen to learn about the business as much as I do. I really liked the fact that you get to work on a real business case and learn a lot about an industry that you previously knew nothing about. The experience of working in a team and focussing on business problems as a volunteer also made me more comfortable when doing the same in my current workplace. I would also say that presenting to the business owner has helped me when presenting to colleagues at work.
I have been asked multiple times at interviews about my experience at First Step Consulting and I believe it has been useful in showing potential employers that I am eager to develop my business acumen, something which is really important to show as someone from a humanities background. It is a quality that not many graduates have so it allows you to stand out more easily from the crowd."
"I have recently graduated from Cass Business School and during my time at First Step Consulting I was put in a team of five, assisting a foreign venture capitalist client in analysing and understanding the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem, in hopes to invest and spread their portfolio into the most lucrative and popular categories to gain a return on investment. Volunteering has been very helpful to me, as it gave me an opportunity to put theory into practice. I was able to apply much of my teachings from my lectures into a real-life scenario, which motivated me to work harder at University and on the project. The process was very enjoyable. I was able to meet and work with like-minded individuals and have an insight into how a consulting project was run.
The experience itself has benefitted me greatly. I have had many opportunities to talk to recruiters about the project I completed with First Step Consulting, and it has been a great way to allow me to highlight my strengths. I have been asked numerous times in my job interviews regarding my project at FSC. It’s a great talking point, allowing me to talk about my strengths in a tangible way."
Social Media Manager
"I found my experience at First Step Consulting to be very rewarding. I have been able to learn a lot and it has also gone a long way in helping me to get my internship. It was great working with our engagement manager and all the other team members, we all worked very well together despite having busy schedules, and I'm very proud of what we accomplished.
Regarding the skills I was able to pick up from working at First Step Consulting, I was able to learn how to work in a professional setting as well as improving my teamwork and communication skills. I was also able to get the relevant project management experience I was looking for. Furthermore, I discovered new areas of marketing that I wanted to pursue in the future, such as digital marketing. Overall, I had an amazing experience working with First Step Consulting, and I would definitely love to do it again in the future."
"I worked with the First Step Consulting team as a pro bono consultant over the Summer of 2016. Despite living outside London, I was able to take an active role within the team and project both in-person and remotely thanks to the flexibility of First Step Consulting. My project involved the research and creation of a 300-firm large comprehensive database offering insight into CPD (Continuous Professional Development) offerings for a prominent European professional association. This culminated in a presentation to a senior executive of the organisation, which eventually led to an overhaul of the client’s sales strategy for the CPD product. During this process I gained the chance to network with other students with similar mindsets, professionals leading their respective fields, and freelance consultants that were working for our client. A truly indispensable opportunity.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, making friends and building networks with whom I still remain in regular contact. The experience definitely pointed out to me what companies are actually looking for in a prospective employee and how to best maximise your skills to your own advantage.
Also, I can guarantee this experience helped me secure my summer internship in investment banking, not only did it show real-life practical experience to recruiters, but also helped me to present myself and my qualifications and achievements in a professional manner. For example, in my interview I was asked to give a presentation to several MD’s of the investment bank, this harkened me back to my experience at First Step Consulting, where I learnt to give an effective and informative presentation to clients during my project."