With smiling faces and satisfied hearts was how we ended the first Career Acceleration Program. For 6 weeks, we were on an intense journey and it was finally over. Everyone was excited, and our participants were discussing their experiences.
It was also a learning session for us as we found out we had provided participants with other salient experiences that we had not focused on when we conceived the program.
What we had in mind was a program to accelerate every participant’s career across investment banking, human resources, management consulting, accounting and data analytics. Therefore throughout the program, we provided participants with an experience that mirrored the work environment – including but not limited to projects, research tasks, work tools familiarity, industry research and workplace ethics.
68 individuals ranging from undergraduates to experienced professionals participated in our first cohort. They each had different reasons for enrolling in the program, but some top reasons were:
- To obtain workplace skills
- To get work experience
- To improve chances of getting a job
By the end of the cohort, most participants were able to achieve the goals listed above. However, we feel strongly that a subtle, yet very meaningful, achievement by participants was the cultivation of teamwork skills and workplace discipline.
An interesting comment made by Daniel from the investment banking track was “I remember when there was a project due for submission by morning and Suliat called me around 3 am. This was the moment I knew it was real and a lot of people were relying on me to deliver on the project, that in itself was the work experience I needed.”
Teamwork and collaboration are listed by Harvard Business Review as one of the top 5 reasons for success in the workplace. Realizing this program imparted team skills to the participants, especially without that being the primary focus was a testament to the efficiency of the program as a work simulation program.
We are not resting on our oars as we are constantly making improvements to the program for future cohorts. For example we are:
- Increasing the amount of project-based work per track which means individuals get to work on more real-life cases.
- Providing activities that are profile worthy thus enabling individuals to populate the things they have done in other words, providing CV credits.
- Increasing the sessions of industry professionals to enable participants to interact with experienced professionals and learn more about their selected career track.