By Vox intern Rohit Banerjee
It was obvious to me that I would spend my summer internship at a firm where I would learn a lot, but also apply my experience to hopefully add value to the projects I work on. Vox Financial Partners delivered on my expectations. When I arrived, I was assigned to a well-organized and systematically designed eight-week project that focused on three areas within the firm:
Digital Transformation – The goal of the digital transformation project was to improve the current marketing platforms of Vox (website, LinkedIn, etc.) and help create a revamped strategy that would be connected to the overall business strategy of the company. This included examining and assessing communication campaigns, identifying suitable media targets, messaging, and timelines.
Opportunity Identification – Vox has a global footprint, which it operates from offices in New York, London and Belfast. This aspect of my work aimed at matching our capabilities with the needs of prospects to identify new business opportunities.
Employee Engagement – The aim of this project was to enhance the HR strategy. It also involved assisting in formulating career paths for employees and creating a more improved feedback and appraisal system.
As part of the overall project, we identified specific pain points in each area and then, as a team, we offered practical recommendations for senior leadership to consider. The entire process involved internal analyses, interviewing senior management and employees, and suggesting achievable and measurable action items. This gave me the opportunity to think more analytically, to be more empathic so that I was aware of which recommendations would work and which would not, considering the resources at hand.
What I liked about my internship
The first thing I noticed was the work culture at Vox, which is incredibly supportive and inclusive. I felt encouraged by how approachable everyone was, particularly the senior executives. I liked how interns are treated just like full-time employees and are assigned meaningful tasks, which are crucial to the strategy development of the organization. We were introduced to the company during the weekly huddle session, which included the CEO, Terry Robinson.
The most interesting part of the internship was conducting interviews with Vox employees (around 50 employees were interviewed). It was a unique experience to learn about how each of them felt about working in the company, about the financial services industry more broadly, their personal and professional goals, and most importantly, their take on how to make the current content campaign more compelling. It felt really great when the senior management agreed with the persisting issues that we identified and were pretty impressed with our recommendations.
The challenges I faced
I was surprised by how much responsibility I was given as an intern. I was under the impression, prior to my internship, that I would work only behind the scenes and support my team. While of course that was a big part of my job, I was lucky to be in involved in the mix of things – be it getting involved in the weekly huddle and discussions, clarifying organizational objectives and goals from the senior executives, expressing my thoughts during a meeting or getting a first look at the deliverables. Such responsibilities meant that I needed to be really comfortable with the area I was working on. I don’t have a background in financial services, so I spent time doing homework, talking to the consultants on the projects they have worked on, their experiences and learnings, and reading a lot to develop my vocabulary.
Four important lessons I learned
Consulting is extremely self-driven – whether it’s thinking of a different market, taking responsibility of a deliverable or extending the company’s internal network and discovering exciting ventures. This was apparent in all my conversations with folks at Vox and is something I am taking to heart as I navigate into the journey ahead. Here’s what stood out the most for me:
Story lining – I learned the art of conveying a story-shaped delivery in a presentation, outlining the main takeaways with each slide. This ensured that I had my audience’s attention and expressed my argument in a crisp and precise manner.
Elevator pitch – I also learned the value of always getting a ready response. If it was a clarification that I needed to provide in some meeting or an interpretation when my idea was challenged by the recipient, I ensured that I was well informed and had a response in hand. It has been respected highly and has expressed my faith and hard work.
Communication – It was always better to communicate the minutest detail which I felt could be important for the projects. It was a trade-off to be accurate but at a later point, it meant that the project team had no surprises.
Making connections – What was most important to me about being on a team this summer was the amount of support I received from everyone in the organization. Many times, I found a solution by speaking up to those who had already encountered a similar problem. The biggest takeaway for me would be the connections forged through the internship. It is definitely important and beneficial to have confidants and peers that are in the same industry to give you advice
Important skills to ensure success
Being self-driven – I needed to be proactive to make the best of my internship, which included performing internal research and analyses, and participating in meetings and calls and discovering ways to take initiatives. I found that everyone was very supportive when I was prepared and raised my hand to do something, to give me the opportunity to contribute.
Ability to speak up – In line with my first point, it is important not only to express the thoughts and ideas that you think would add value but also to ask for support when you need it. I had sometimes wondered where to search for certain materials and information, which one would think are basic but asking the questions saved me a lot of time (time is a precious resource!). I was not afraid to ask for help – Vox has a very collaborative culture, and one will spend a lot of time working closely with the consultants, product team and the senior management, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for peer-to-peer learning.
Transitioning theory to practice – University taught me to brainstorm and build frameworks that have been extremely valuable in my summer project work. In addition, there were times when I would be in meetings and new ideas would come up. Being able to break those down into tactical, execution-based ideas is something I had a lot of practice doing in two other consulting projects over my first two semesters – one for an Irish IT consulting firm, and one for an audit and consulting firm based in Dublin. Finally, standing up in class and improving my presenting skills was immensely useful. I had to introduce my results and suggestions to the management, stakeholders, and internal staff, and I was thankful for all the preparation I had during my course at university.
Vox offered me a wonderful chance to translate my past experiences and university knowledge into practical life. The lessons were many, whether it was interacting with senior management or other employees from different departments, becoming exposed to the fintech industry, thinking about structuring the problem at hand, and how it is equally important to understand how the recommendations fit into the bigger scheme of things. This helped me to develop critical insights on the entire project. The ability to assume ownership made it an incredible experience for me.
The entire journey was made possible through the support system that Vox provides. My mentor, Laura Kehoe, who also happened to be a UCD Smurfit graduate. She helped me understand the project, guiding me on how to approach each of the blocks and reviewing all my slide decks, ensuring I learned the art of how goals and recommendations for any problem should be practical and most importantly measurable. She would give me feedback to help me improve not just with the project in mind but with a wider perspective – she wanted me to grow. That support ensured I had a lot to take away from the internship, which added immense value to my professional life.
Vox FP is a global consulting firm that supports financial institutions in the planning, resourcing, and delivery of complex regulatory change. Vox FP combines global banking and regulatory experience, well-trained consultants, and advanced technology to help global financial institutions successfully execute major change projects.
Vox has designed and developed Opal, a modern, easy-to-use software platform that streamlines the production of complex documentation across the enterprise.
For more information, please visit www.voxfp.com