Capgemini Student Blog

Capgemini Student Blog

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The CDC - six months in

I’m sitting writing this on the train to my client’s site on Monday morning, and the significance of reaching the six month mark is really starting to hit - I can remember the first day of my induction like it was yesterday: time truly does fly.  One of the best bits of wisdom imparted at induction was that in consulting there are no certainties:  for every question you ask, the best and most appropriate answer is often, “it depends”.  And this, I have learnt now, is certainly true of both client work and internal work, which no matter what, is always varied.  No two days are ever the same.
After six months, I recognise a lot more faces in Holborn when I make my weekly pilgrimage to head office: people I’ve worked with on previous projects, fellow graduates and consultants in my capability team. My network is ever-expanding, and the benefits – the opportunity to get involved with the best projects, and a few more faces to chat with at Friday drinks – are significant.
If I had to sum up the first six months in one word, it would be ‘diverse’.  For my first couple of weeks, I was engaged in desk-based research and analysis for a major government department. This was followed by a 2 week stint on “the bench” (an affectionate term for the intervening period between billable client roles) doing various pieces of internal work; and since then I have done two very different roles at large national retailers. Currently I run the Project Management Office working directly with the project manager, giving me an excellent overview of the internal workings of a client project. Before that I had an in-store marketing role. On leaving university, I would never have imagined myself in-store at a children’s retail group training staff on store layouts, but that’s the beauty of consulting!
One of the things I appreciate most about Capgemini Consulting, and especially the CDC (Consultant Development Community), is its size – we’re relatively small compared to other major consulting firms, meaning that the sense of community is genuinely strong.  This is further enhanced by the CDC programme, which has a strong social dimension and brings young consultants away from their client projects to compare experiences and trade stories. It’s an almost self-run programme, and you can become involved in a hundred different ways; from running assessment centres and campus events, to writing weekly comms materials and designing our online strategy.  Currently I lead the internal CDC stream of work for Events and Communications, being responsible for the weekly bulletin, CDC Times and the organising of social events.  There’s also a training programme with a selection of training courses – currently I’ve done courses in Strategic Analysis and Business Writing and will be undertaking Core Financial Analysis training in a few weeks time.
With all of the varied work and experiences I have had since joining six months ago, I am looking forward to what the next six months will bring. I am in no doubt that they will be varied, different and full of the unexpected!

About the author

James Bowers
James Bowers
James Bowers is an Associate Consultant within Digital Marketing, Sales and Service having joined Capgemini Consulting in September 2012. Prior to Capgemini he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics and his main interests lie in retail and the public sector. Since joining he has worked as an analyst for a large UK Government Department, a stores marketing consultant for an online retailer and as a PMO for a marketing project at a major UK supermarket.
7 Comments Leave a comment
Hi James, I really enjoyed the blog - amazing how different your projects have been to my own. You can read more about CDCers' experiences and interests on Twitter by searching #CCUKGrads - feel free to post comments and questions!
The idea that each day can be so varied and that 'it depends' is an acceptable answer to many questions about life as a consultant can be quite difficult to understand as a potential applicant or new joiner. However, I'll echo what James has said about it being one of the most memorable pieces of wisdom imparted during induction, and one that I can definitely relate to now.
Couldn't agree more about the size being so important. It's great knowing everyone in the CDC and feeling like you could ask anyone for help or advice.
I totally agree Paul. The thing that struck me most when I joined the CDC was how keen everyone is to offer help and support, which made me settle in straight away.
Hi James, it must be really interesting to be able to work on such different projects with different clients. It's great that Capgemini promotes a sense of community, do you find that you can still benefit from that support when you're working away from head office at client sites? I imagine that with such a varied working day there must be times, especially as a new graduate, when you feel you need to seek advice from someone more experienced?
Hello Lois. There are lots of ways in which you can stay connected to members of the CDC and other colleagues when away on client site. Whether it's with other people on the same project or account, via specific distribution lists over email, chatting on our internal instant messenger service or simply having a chat on the phone you'll always be able to reach out to someone for support. We also have our own internal social network which is great to reach a much wider audience. Hope that helps!
Hi Christopher. It's good to know that whilst graduates at Capgemini are offered challenging projects and the freedom to develop their skills and make their own judgments, that a support network is always there, no matter how far away your project might be based. I hope that the next six months with Capgemini are as exciting!

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