The first day in a new job always presents an exciting, if somewhat daunting, prospect. My opening day with the Catalyst team was, in that sense, no different, although having your first day land on the annual team training day presented a particularly unique challenge. I arrived at SINC as the final member of this year’s Catalyst team intake, having spent most of the summer working on my MA thesis. I introduced myself to the team by way of a 10-minute presentation ‘about yourself’, my instructions from Lucy, the Catalyst Programme Manager, extending no further than that. What better way to introduce yourself to a room of total strangers than by reflecting upon your past successes and failures, innermost thoughts and feelings, and the most embarrassing yet socially acceptable childhood photographs you can find, right before their eyes?
If my second day with the team presented a more conventional introduction to the Catalyst team at the SINC offices, it proved no less enlightening. My tasks throughout the day were varied, ranging from meetings with senior team members, to a market research introduction and conducting research of my own into the clients with whom I’ll soon be collaborating. The exciting and variable nature of the work with Catalyst was what first attracted me to the position – to be experiencing this first hand just two days in has made me yet further excited for the work that lies ahead.
Coming from a social and political science background, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, a prospective career path has rarely been immediately obvious. Though I have always been fairly relaxed about this necessary by-product of pursuing my academic interests and passions, I felt a sense of unease applying for long-term graduate schemes and full-time positions without the immediate knowledge or experience to make an informed decision about the direction in which I was headed. More importantly, I’ve often felt my academic and professional experiences have provided me with great skills and experiences which can be of use in the field of business and innovation, which graduates from backgrounds such as mine nonetheless often struggle to break into. I feel privileged to be a part of the Catalyst programme, which looks set to assist me in developing these still-raw skills, in an environment where I feel both challenged and stimulated, without being afraid to make mistakes along the way. I’m already looking forward to contributing towards meaningful work and important progress for clients across a wide range of areas and interests. If the rest of my time with Catalyst is as engaging and thought-provoking as it has been so far, it looks set to be an exciting year indeed.
I can’t wait to get started.