When coming to the end of my full-time master's programme at Cranfield University, the focus began to shift back towards the next step of my career and preparing myself to enter the challenging world of the job market. Keeping one eye on possible career opportunities while trudging through thesis research seemed like a daunting task which caused widespread panic across the students in my course, nightmares of sieving through online applications for various companies in tandem with hours of daily thesis research. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend your spring and summer right?
Finding the role and interview process
I initially came across the role of Supply Chain Analyst with Olivehorse on LinkedIn, and I had spent a week designated to searching for ideal roles where consultancy and end-to-end supply chain management were the key ‘buzz words’ when applying. The ideal step was to work towards a supply chain manager role which would give me exposure to top level management, strategy and responsibility within a global organisation, or a consultancy role where I could use my sound academic base and planning experience to provide value in regards to industry best practices and innovative supply chain thinking. After speaking directly with one of the founding Directors regarding the interview process and the potential position, I began to get a sense of the culture within the company and the collaborative working environment.
Once I had the opportunity to meet with members of the young and dynamic Olivehorse team face to face in an interview, all worries were pushed to the back of my mind as it was very clear that this role was a perfect fit as it aligned with my long-term career plan. The interview was conducted in a warm and honest manner in which I had an opportunity to express my long term vision for my career and what I could bring to the tesm. The Leadership team were thorough when it came to discussing whether this aligned with Olivehorse and their possible paths for progression within the company.
3 Key factors which differentiated this opportunity
- An initial observation was that it is a company which encourages innovative thinking and an entrepreneurial mind set. This was a key message which I picked up early on and felt it aligned with my outlook on business and long term goals
- A relatively new start up founded in 2012, with a growing business and a lot of opportunity and the potential for me to bring value, take on key responsibilities and build my influence as I grow as a professional
- Perfect balance in regards to the role I was looking for - a step above entry level Graduate Role and not just be a number in a large firm of consultants
Towards the back end of the interview it was made clear the timeframe in relation to the selection process and when the decision would be made. I halted my job search as I truly believed that this role was the ideal role for me. There is a risk to putting all your eggs in one basket but for the ideal role, I was willing to take the risk and focus solely on my thesis for the forthcoming months. I referred to it as peace of mind.
A couple months went by which allowed me to progress with my thesis when I was contacted by the management team to be informed I was the successful candidate. The progression through the other formalities was timely due to the ease of negotiation and a clear employment process, a start date was set to succeed my thesis hand in date.
Why I joined Olivehorse?
There were some differentiating factors between Olivehorse and other companies which had got in contact with me which made the selection and acceptance of this offer fairly straight forward for me;
- New start up, culture of innovation and entrepreneurship was key and felt it aligned with myself (environment of continuous learning and development) ability to build and grow with the company
- Working on end to end supply chain strategies with global firms – moving away from day to day supply chain planning and operations. Enables me to use my foundation of functional experience and build on my previous SAP experience & technical skills
- Olivehorse – aligned with the Cranfield school of thought, knowledge sharing is key as it leads to innovation, transforming knowledge into action
- Exposure to strategic level management & responsibilities within a growing business rather than being lost in a big machine i.e. 1 in a 1000 in the workplace
The first few steps
The transition from academia to industry was a fast-moving process, with responsibilities from the off which emphasised the importance of ‘hitting the ground running'. From the start I was given a clear indication of my development plan within Olivehorse and discussed potential avenues for development due to the vast amount of opportunities within the growing team and environment.
With Olivehorse's core expertise residing in the field of supply chain planning, this provided me a platform to be able to use my own expertise and skills amassed through industrial experience and academia to provide valuable input in regards to Supply Chain thinking and industries best practices. My functional base within supply chain seems to have provided a good mix when collaborating with the technical consultants within initial project engagements. With the culture of knowledge sharing and environment of continuous learning there is a clear indication of the ability to build and grow with the company, with responsibilities and exposure to strategic level management coming from day one.
The ability to work alongside some of the industry's most experienced professionals in Olivehorse's global network of Consultants accompanied by a very welcoming and interconnected working environment is a dynamic which I believe is key to personal growth and professional development. This atmosphere is maintained with frequent practice meetings where the full team come together to go over current business requirements, projects and a general catch up to enable a team which is spread globally to keep in touch and build the connections with colleagues to enable matters such as asking for help to be much easier.
Being assigned a mentor
Another aspect which was carefully considered to improve my development within OH was the assignment of a mentor. The management made it their responsibility to match me with one of my colleagues with the relevant experience, skills & knowledge according to my desired career progression and development plan which had been previously discussed. This identified a clear support system for me to tap into and an experienced colleague to liaise with rather than a ‘Tick box exercise’ for HR you may experience in different organisations.
The first steps of my journey with Olivehorse have been a dynamic experience. The initial learning curve being encountered was as expected, but the support from my colleagues has helped smooth over this period of acclimatising to the new environment. Involvement in a variety of tasks and responsibilities ranging from;
- Involvement with the Leadership Team writing an article about ‘the new dynamics of supply chain planning’ for the business reporter online, (ability to bring forward innovative thinking and Industry best practice through recent studies)
- Project work (Scoping and design elements of solutions and engagements) has given me exposure in terms of developing supply chain strategies for global companies. See Olivehorse’s impressive list of clients at olivehorse.com
- Managing development of the internal engagement management process
A great amount has been achieved in regards to settling in as 2017 draws to a close. In my first 3 months I believe I’m having success in aligning myself with the ways of working within Olivehorse and providing value for clients. With the outlook calendar slowly filling up with various project placements and training sessions it seems that the hard work has only just begun as the journey from master’s student to a supply chain analyst takes its course, with the longer term goal of consultancy providing further motivation.
I would be happy to discuss this further should you too be thinking about a career at Olivehorse - email me!
Supply Chain Analyst, Olivehorse Consulting