The AlphaScholars Programme: Alternative Gap Year

  • by AlphaSights
Life & Careers

Anna, Danielle and Max decided to take a gap year between school and university and joined AlphaSights in September 2016. Here are their reflections on their time so far.

Taking a year off before university can be an unnerving step into life after A levels. Whilst the traditional gap year may involve some mountain treks in South America, Full Moon parties in Thailand and inter-railing through Europe, we did something equally daunting. With the belief that we had ditched the stress of long-haul flights, we opted for a hectic morning commute instead. After 8 months in such a multi-lingual office, we had a more international experience than we might have guessed.

All three of us worked in auxiliary teams, which means we had a unique insight into emerging business areas. Max and Danielle supported the Client Development function. The work ranged from building digital and physical marketing campaigns to strengthening internal projects. Working in a team that acted like a microcosm of the company gave us a unique insight into the day-to-day workings of AlphaSights. Witnessing the full course of a sales process from prospecting through to successful project delivery has been a rewarding and eye-opening experience. Alongside an experienced Manager, Anna worked on a new product area, helping to ensure the smooth running and expansion of AlphaSights' smallest business unit. This was an insightful experience that enabled her to witness the kinds of deals that impact the wider economy, and to develop a deep understanding of the investment world.

Looking back to the interview stage, all three of us were apprehensive as to what to expect. At eighteen years old, it was difficult to imagine what we could contribute to such a high-performing firm, let alone how to interview with senior managers. The best piece of advice we can give is to be confident in your own ability; no one expects you to know everything but doing your research and thinking about how AlphaSights relates to your skill-set is a great first step!

Left to right: Max, Anna, and Danielle, our 2016-17 AlphaScholars.

AlphaSights' on-boarding programme "AlphaCamp" was a great way to integrate us into the team. We trained alongside Graduate Associates, giving us an equal platform from which to take our first steps. The first week of interactive training sessions and talks enabled us to gain an initial understanding of how the different business areas operate.

From day one in the former Mayfair office, we were thrown into AlphaSights' lively team culture. What struck us immediately was the sheer drive and self-motivation demonstrated by everyone at AlphaSights. Flash forward eight months and we’ve had the Christmas Party, netball and football matches, incredible speaker events, casual Fridays and monthly team events. Perhaps the biggest change was the office view; replacing Topshop for the Thames, tourists for bankers and park benches for indoor grass! The London office move, such a physical manifestation of growth, was a significant moment in AlphaSights' story so far, and it was exciting to be part of it.

So whilst we haven’t all backpacked for hundreds of miles, we have come a long way since September. Starting as three fresh school leavers, we have become more confident and independent individuals and some might even say “we found ourselves”! There’s still time for the Half Moon parties and trekking in remote parts of the world, and we will come away from our time here as three great friends.

Interested in joining us as an AlphaScholar? Watch our AlphaScholars video here.