5 things I learned during my summer internship at Oxbow Partners
September 19, 2021
My 8 weeks on the Oxbow Partners Summer Internship Programme has been an invaluable opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of strategy consulting and the insurance industry. I have been able to work on two projects (a growth strategy and a data analysis project), in addition to conducting research, writing blog posts and working on internal initiatives. The variety of work that I have got involved in has been both enjoyable and challenging. Below are my 5 main takeaways from my internship experience.
1. Always bring a notebook
The amount that I have learned about both consultancy and insurance during my internship has been huge. I have been involved in a project since my first day and have had first-hand experience of the typical problems faced by insurance companies and how consultants approach solving them. It has therefore been very useful to always bring a notebook to keep track of new information, such as the main questions that the client has asked, the focus of today’s work, and how your stream of work ties into the overall project. Perhaps even more crucially, the front of my notebook has been filled with a list of industry acronyms and Greg’s top 20 PowerPoint shortcuts to make sure I’m emulating the role of a consultant as much as possible.
2. The best presentations are simple and clear
The deliverables of consultancy projects are typically PowerPoints, so I have spent a lot of my time during the internship honing my slide-writing skills. One of the first tasks that I was given was to synthesise different pieces of detailed information into a single slide, making the information clear, impactful and easy to follow. This is surprisingly more difficult than it seems, and it has been valuable to learn how to create straightforward presentations with compelling storylines. Aside from developing slide-writing skills, I have learned how to deliver a presentation confidently and how to tailor your presentation style to different audiences. We were given presentation coaching at the start of the internship, and I have had the opportunity to give both internal presentations and presentations to the client, including presenting in meetings where the client CEO was present.
3. If you’re interested, get involved
One of the unique features of the Oxbow Partners internship is the opportunity to get involved in different parts of the business alongside project work. During an internal strategy meeting, I heard about the company’s application to become a B-corp, which is a certification for businesses that balance purpose and profit. I found this very exciting and after expressing my interest, I was given the opportunity to join the B-corp committee. Being on the committee has involved writing blog posts on sustainability, formalising the company’s governance policies, and proposing changes to the recruitment process to focus on diversity. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the application and thinking about how Oxbow Partners can have a positive impact on the community and the environment.
4. It’s best to ask for help if you’re stuck
As a History student, I had limited Excel experience prior to the internship and I was a bit apprehensive about this aspect of project work. However, I found that it was much more beneficial to ask someone to quickly clarify how to do a certain piece of analysis rather than to spend hours struggling to finish your work because you do not want to ask for help. Everyone on my project team was more than willing to walk me through what I needed to do, and as a result I was able to rapidly expand my Excel knowledge. By the end of my project, I built an Excel model which formed the basis of a final deliverable with only minimal assistance from my team.
5. Insurance is (actually) incredibly interesting
Insurance has a mixed reputation, but I have found learning about the different parts of the insurance industry to be incredibly interesting. Conducting research for Market Intelligence reports has allowed me to learn about how the industry has responded to the coronavirus pandemic and about the emerging demand for different types of insurance such as intellectual property and cyber cover. Similarly, compiling information for Bitesize InsurTech profiles has been fascinating. I have particularly enjoyed looking into companies offering new types of policies such as such as subscription-based insurance and embedded insurance, as well as companies who are using technology to provide affordable policies to demographics who usually have to pay higher premiums.
Applications for the 2022 Oxbow Partners Summer Internship Programme are now open
To find out more and apply, visit our Interns page below.