Taking an internship after my first year of university (in the pandemic!) is certainly a leap of faith. Especially since our year never truly went into university. HOWEVER, it’s definitely a great way to spend the summer.
To begin with let’s start with a bit of background on me, to help you to see if you’re in the right position to intern with Bays. I just finished my first year at University College London, (UCL) in Natural Sciences focusing on physics and chemistry and hoping to specialise in quantum physics. I was looking for a work placement over the summer at the beginning of the year, but since a lot of internships only offer places to second or third year students Bays gave me a great opportunity and really showed how they are a welcoming team. As a bonus, Bays Consulting might soon be offering some work experience places to members of the Stemette society which I’m also part of, so check it out for a chance to get some business experience!
While I’ve been here at Bays I’ve been able to test my skills in many different parts of business. At first, it was all about coding. I already had entry-level python abilities however here we started coding with a package called ‘Pandas’, which is a fast, powerful, flexible and easy to use open source data analysis and manipulation tool, built on top of the Python programming language. This package comes with a new set of syntax that you have to learn, but since I’d already done a lot of independent learning at university this year I was more than ready to get back to it. Additionally, it was a great opportunity to brush up on my coding skills; I had completed a python course with the Stemette Society last summer and I was happy to get back to it. I worked closely with data scientist Matthew Silverman on a project developing new text analytics in which we made into a model, matching and cross-referencing sentences from separate data frames. We used the Pandas package to develop an ROC curve, a graph that compares the different successes of each text analytics program. We then went onto present this to the external team heading the project. This sort of practice is not too dissimilar to university projects and presentations, and yet speaking to a completely external team who truly have to rely on you to communicate the implications of the results effectively is a whole new realm of responsibility, and this is what I thrived on!
On another project, focusing on reducing plastic pollution, I worked with Dr Sophie Carr to put together work packages with which Bays would go forward and deliver over the course of 3 years. It was a good feeling knowing that something I was working on is going to be used in the future long after my internship has ended. With this project, I learnt from Dr Carr how a professionally acceptable document should be structured and how much content clients expect for each stage of the process, from discussions to draft to final product.
One thing I’ve learned about Bays Consulting in particular is that they look for the projects that not only have potential to be successful but also to make a positive change in the world. As I said earlier I worked on a project that is looking to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans, and possible new projects include using statistics to make waiting lists for helplines more efficient. A specific example of this is the Meeting the Need (MTN) portal. This project is a platform Bays has been working on for about a year and I got to contribute to. MTN is designed to be a portal in which Bays have carefully gathered a range of metrics to help the user forecast and plan for the demand in their local vicinity. This intelligence shows the user where their work and community effort can change the world. You can check this out from the link on the Bays website! I built guides for the portal to show users what the capabilities of the site are and how they can use this data to for their optimum benefit. My work will end up being used in the official portal, so keep a look out for it!
A bonus to working at Bays is that I got to network with external companies and individuals. The first being Aleph Insights, from which I could ask about the goals of the company, their experience and history, and each employees’ career paths. I also had the opportunity to go to a “Netwalking” event with Arke Ltd, in which I discussed many of the same questions, yet was able to glean a whole new range of response.
I have found discussion and networking to be a useful way to explore ideas about different career paths and I’ve been able to practise business speech, this has been an invaluable opportunity.
As an intern the only limit to the work I’ve been able to be a part of at Bays has been specific technical knowledge, hence my ability to learn quickly has been essential. From tackling a new programming library, installing and effectively using new software, to writing extended pieces of work on newly introduced projects. My colleagues were always happy to answer my plethora of questions, and went out of their way to come to my aide which then enabled me to quickly get to work. Something to take away from this is that it is always better and even good practice to ask questions and look for help/enablers when you face a blocker on a project, whether that is a lack in knowledge or not knowing how to apply your skills properly.
I want to say thank you to Bays Consulting for taking me on this summer, and fully incorporating me into the company. I have been able to test my abilities in many aspects of the business, and seek advice from everyone. I know this experience has benefited me in so many ways, and wish my colleagues all the best.