One year ago, I was celebrating my graduation, six months ago I was hiking up a volcano in Costa Rica and five weeks ago I started as an Intern at Elixirr. After graduating, I realised that my life was moving incredibly quickly – to continue the momentum it made sense to join one of the fastest-growing consultancies in Europe.
I’ve already learnt so much; about Elixirr, consulting as an industry and about myself. I can now easily answer some of the questions that came to mind when I first heard of Elixirr.
1. It’s not your typical consultancy… so why should I apply?
– Because it stands out
Honestly, I’d never heard of Elixirr until I attended the ‘Bright Network’ careers fair last September. Surrounded by giant letter lights, Elixirr stood out among the drab booths of other consultancies. Having struck up a conversation with a consultant, I was immediately taken by the energetic and welcoming culture that Elixirr embodies and was eager to find out more.
– Because it’s entrepreneurial
When researching the company, I came across The Pitch. It’s a fantastic initiative, which not only gave me a great insight into the firm’s entrepreneurial culture but also proved that Elixirr was ready to support others in similar endeavours. “Are you we:bo-ing?” has been a common refrain of the past three weeks and after hearing accounts of sweaty exhaustion, I am excited and slightly terrified of my first session.
– Because its people-oriented
Unlike large corporate consultancies (many of whom have rigid structures and limited career progression), Elixirr offers an opportunity for you to forge your own future. It encourages meritocratic advancement and affords you flexibility in your career. I know Elixirr consultants who are simultaneously working on startups, while others have taken time out to complete a Masters.
2. What’s the application process like?
Application > Telephone Interview > Assessment Centre > Face-to-Face Interview
It’s a lot of fun and it’s important to enjoy it. Unlike a lot of other consultancies which use the standard market sizing questions and situational judgement tests, Elixirr’s assessment day and interviews closely resemble the kind of work you’ll actually be doing at the company. For my final interview I was given a case study which I realised afterwards was the inception of Elixirr’s partnership with Thomas Cook Money. My suggestion of a travel app unifying micro-experiences was a far cry from the actual project, but I had a lot of fun researching and planning my proposal. If you’re not enjoying it, you might be in the wrong place!
Elixirr highly values its unique culture and throughout the interview process that was made clear. Everyone invited to the assessment centre is intelligent, driven and engaging. Many of them had a more ‘typical’ background for consulting (I studied English Language and Literature and had no idea what a KPI was until I started researching consultancy firms). However, during the interview process it seemed more important to understand how Elixirr works, rather than anticipate exactly what you’ll be doing. The latter differs day to day, from project to project, but what’s consistent and less easily learnt is how Elixirr consultants approach a problem. And that’s collaboratively, with open-mindedness and enthusiasm.
3. What are Elixirr consultants like?
There isn’t a cookie-cutter format to the type of consultants that work here, and all forms of diversity are embraced. The open plan office means I’ve been sitting opposite partners and managers alike, all of whom are more than happy to discuss their work and mine. Everyone is also keen to socialise outside the office and are genuinely invested in each other’s lives. It’s constantly varied too – every day for the past three weeks I’ve met someone new which speaks to the scope of Elixirr, with consultants working on 50+ projects at any given time around the globe. They’ve usually just returned from South Africa or San Francisco or Geneva. Or Hatfield.
At a recent internal design thinking workshop I was asked “What is innovation?” There are hundreds of companies which could be said to be innovative, that use state-of-the-art technologies and implement cultural initiatives. But bean bag chairs and VR offices don’t really make a company innovative, because it can’t be created by a single action or purchase. Innovation is an ongoing process, a state of mind. A company can only be truly innovative if everyone within it has the drive and ambition to support its evolution, if they regularly discuss new ideas and are actually willing to implement them. In this respect, Elixirr is undoubtedly at the forefront of innovation.
“There isn’t a cookie-cutter format to the type of consultants that work here, and all forms of diversity are embraced.”
4. What will I actually be doing?
As with any consultancy, it varies day to day and depends on what project you’re assigned to. For the first two weeks of my internship I was ‘on-the-bench’ and after settling in, I spent my time asking others around the office what I could do to help with their projects. This varied from researching database management systems for a leading manufacturing company, to supporting a consultant organising a banking and insurance group’s digital immersion visit.
Once assigned to a project, daily activities become more structured. I am currently partnered with an online fashion retail platform, creating a product implementation framework to support the client’s engagement with new brands. Whilst working at the client site I learnt the importance of fostering strong relationships which are built on trust. You don’t work for a client, you work with them. By delivering work of the highest quality, Elixirr retains respect and credibility, but it’s the relationship that a consultant personally creates that delivers that ideal, bespoke client experience. It’s been challenging at times. The work must be exceptional, and you need to be prepared to immerse yourself in another company culture as well as retaining Elixirr’s own values. But the learning experience is unparalleled – a week ago I was only vaguely aware of the client themselves, and now I can explain the precise steps to implement their product line.
5. But can I do it?
If you try it, you’ll find out. One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is to be proactive. My previous roles were typically very structured and delineated, but as an intern at Elixirr, you create your own experience. At the end of my second week I realised I had extra capacity. I asked for more responsibility and was immediately placed on a project. Those that don’t ask, don’t get. So, ask away!
This equally applies to producing work. Constructive feedback will always be more useful than being spoon-fed information. It can be daunting, being the least experienced member of a group, but it’s important to remember how much you benefit from that situation – everyone else becomes a potential teacher! The learning curve is steep, and you’ll be amazed what you’ll know and be able to do after such a short space of time.
My time at Elixirr has been incredibly fun and above all, enlightening. As a life-long learner, I look forward to further developing my career at Elixirr and in consulting.