Why did you decide to apply to Mott MacDonald?
I was originally drawn to Mott MacDonald as I wanted to work for an organisation whose projects had a large social impact, both in the UK and globally. However, after more research, I decided to apply due to the emphasis Mott MacDonald places on their people, as opposed to solely focussing on commercial objectives. I loved the focus on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the push for promoting ethical practice. In short, I was keen to work for an organisation comparable to The Big Four, but who conduct themselves in a different, more sustainable manner.
What did your friends and family think when you accepted the position?
Both my mum and brother also work for engineering consultancy companies, so my family had a strong understanding of the sector. While Mott MacDonald may not be as large as some of our competitors such as AECOM, our reputation for maximising economic and social impact is unquestionable. A point repeated by both my friends and family.
What has been your favourite moment since joining?
While I have loved my project work, my favourite moments must relate to the fantastic people I have met and am lucky enough to now call my friends. Mott MacDonald places such emphasis on ensuring their open, friendly, and diverse culture is sustained and demonstrated by their new starters. The graduate scheme is also set up in such a way that we are encouraged to network outside of our immediate teams, and develop a cohort of our own. I am also lucky enough to have been involved in the recruitment process for the 2018 graduate intake, providing me with a unique view of what is looked for on an application, or at an assessment centre.
What has been the most exciting project you’ve contributed to?
My most exciting project is 30 Hours for the Department for Education. Since September 2017, all three- and four-year-olds in England are eligible for 30 hours of funded childcare. The policy aim is to reengage parents with the workforce, with a specific focus on families from disadvantaged backgrounds. My role within this project is running the project management office, liaising between local authorities, our delivery partners, and the government.
My favourite part of this project involved designing a data collection form to be sent to, and populated by all 152 local authorities in England. It is then my responsibility to analyse this data, establish how the policy roll out is going, and identify any emerging themes. We then present these findings back to the client at a one-day workshop held in Westminster. I love the ability to shape our future work and see the tangible impact of an increase in the number of children in funded places.
Was the role what you expected, or was there anything unexpected that you really enjoy?
Yes and no. As my family already work in the sector, I understood the sort of work I would be doing, for example: stakeholder engagement, project management, data analysis etc. However, I was not prepared for the level of responsibility which I would be given.
For example, by the end of week two, I was producing reports to be shared with the Minster for Children. By the end of my first month, I was visiting Westminster, meeting with the client, and providing local authority updates regarding the progress of the policy roll out. And by end of my first quarter, I was actively shaping the future of our work, through my data analysis activity. While this was difficult at times, I had plenty of support from my team, and have developed immeasurably as a result.
What is your work/life balance like?
Mott MacDonald place a strong emphasis on ensuring wellbeing and a healthy work/life balance. For example, I will rarely stay in the office past 5pm. Also, due to the nature of our work, working remotely from home occasionally is a huge benefit. Having said that, all the graduates are happy to work late occasionally to meet a deadline, if and when our projects require it.
Tell us a bit more about you. Do you have an interesting fun fact about yourself/party trick?
Just before I started university, I was part of the Young Magic Circle (YMC). During my time in this club, I won the YMC’s Stage Magician of the Year at their one-day convention, along with YMC Member of the Year. As a result, I then toured around the UK performing for ever growing crowds in numerous different shows and events. While this hobby has now subsided, the presentation skills it taught me will prove invaluable in my future career.
What advice would you give to someone applying to Mott MacDonald?
Be yourself and think wider. That is, when I interviewed I was the only graduate without a masters degree. I was sure that I would be refused the job as a result which evidently was not the case. Mott MacDonald are not solely focused on academic achievements and professional experience. Rather, they want you to think wider and understand what you bring to the table. This could be in terms of your extracurricular work, volunteering, hobbies (such as magic), and the competences these have equipped you with. You are the best and only version of you, so stop trying to be the person you think the interviewer is looking for, just be you.