In management and technology consulting, real-world experience and personal growth aren't just buzzwords but imperatives for success. At Lancia, we don't just acknowledge this; we embrace it wholeheartedly through our Lancia Emerging Analyst Programme (LEAP).
Established from our vibrant Singapore office, LEAP is an opportunity for students to take a hiatus from traditional textbooks and immerse themselves in hands-on consultancy projects for six months. They see their work evolve from inception to fruition, experience the intricate phases of a project, and culminate their journey with a presentation to senior leaders. It's a unique bridge between academia and professional life that prepares our young talents for the workforce.
Here, we speak with Sushmit Sharma, Analyst, one of our latest graduates of the programme.
Q: How has the LEAP experience enhanced your understanding of tech consulting?
A: Through a structured programme with monthly objectives and regular check-ins, I can monitor my progress to ensure that I meet the goals my supervisors and I had set at the start of the programme. LEAP is structured in a way that allows analysts to take time to get adjusted to the job and garner the necessary skills to engage with our clients. Subsequently, once we are ready, we are given specific workstreams in the project, which we get to own and execute, preparing us to become fully-fledged consultants who can own workstreams in a future project.
Q: Can you share an example of a project you've worked on in the program?
A: I was involved in a Rapid App Development project - building an order management system for a substantial global manufacturing firm that helped manage their B2B orders. I was given time to understand their business processes before I was handed workstreams to handle and run for the system's build.
Q: How has exposure to different phases of a project helped you grow professionally?
A: As an analyst in Lancia for one year, I've seen most project phases - from scoping to requirements gathering, design, build, deployment, hypercare, and service management. Every phase comes with its challenges. As a functional consultant, how we interact with the stakeholders (clients, seniors, and developers) vastly differs during each phase. As a result, my exposure to all these phases has improved my communication skills. I'm now better able to understand the priority of tasks that need to happen at each stage of the project, and it is easier for me to flesh out what is of utmost importance at that moment and what can be deprioritised. As such, I can better communicate relevant findings to my superiors and clients and better communicate the requirements and tasks for developers.
Q: Can you describe the experience of presenting your work to senior leaders?
A: Lancia has created a warm and open environment for its analysts. We have been given the freedom to express ourselves and implement our style while doing things, which allows for some margin of error in our work and to learn from them. Overall, this has helped me improve my presentation to senior leaders, who have always been patient with me, providing their perspective on the potential challenges I face while being very open to my suggestions.
Q: What is your most valuable lesson from this experience so far?
A: Stay humble. We're all just humans, and consultants don't need to be elevated and seen as people who seem to know everything about any business. It's essential that no matter who we interact with, we always need to stay open to other people's opinions and seriously consider them instead of dismissing or disregarding them. Living out this value in Lancia is why our relationships with our clients and amongst ourselves are so warm and welcoming.
Bonus Q: What was your favourite memory/event with LC?
A: There are so many incredible memories here, and getting to travel to Australia with two of my project teammates to conduct User Acceptance Testing (UAT) for a client there is perhaps the most memorable. I've yet to hear of many other companies amongst my peers which would send an intern overseas to represent their brand and participate in client meetings.
Now, we speak with Leng Kenn Siang, who previously completed LEAP and is now a Senior Consultant.
Q: How did your experience in LEAP shape your journey to becoming a full-time consultant?
A: As a young undergraduate unsure of what career path to pursue, my experience as part of the pioneering batch of Lancia's Internship program (before it was branded as LEAP) was pivotal in my decision to pursue consulting. Coming from a background in Data Analytics and a few internships at start-ups back in NUS, I had yet to learn what Consulting was about apart from the entertaining memes online. After joining Lancia as an Analyst, I was exposed to the real-world challenges of businesses and how technology solutions can be practically implemented to address these problems. While working with my senior colleagues to implement complex tech solutions for our clients, I found the experience exciting and relevant. Ultimately, the experience convinced me that starting my career in consulting with Lancia was the right decision.
Q: What were some of the pivotal moments from your internship that influenced your career trajectory?
A: One of my most memorable moments was flying to Korea alone to provide on-site support for a regional CargoWise One implementation Go-Live. Being only three months into the job, it was a scary experience as it was my first time overseas with a client alone. Thankfully, the Go-Live was a huge success. However, the story didn't end there; I had to take a red-eye flight for a mid-term exam the next day. Luckily, I managed to pass that exam!
Q: Looking back, how has your perspective on LEAP evolved since you became a consultant?
A: LEAP has evolved into a collective endeavour involving consultants across all levels alongside the People team, resulting in a more structured initiative to offer our young talents the best opportunities for success. LEAP has embraced a holistic approach; our mentors are encouraged to work with their analysts to play to their strengths while addressing knowledge and skills gaps, enriching our analysts' overall experience, and cultivating our consultants' people management skills.
Q: How do you apply the lessons learned during your internship in your current role?
A: I was fortunate to get the opportunity to work with clients across different levels during my internship. One valuable lesson I gleaned is the art of adept communication and tailoring messages to different audiences, for example, between operational staff, General Managers, or business leaders. This experience reinforced my belief that effective communication is a skill to hone continuously and is necessary in our industry.
Q: Would you recommend the LEAP program to others? Why?
A: Definitely! LEAP provides a conducive environment for our Analysts to grow and discover more about themselves. It also offers accelerated learning opportunities due to the dynamic and fast-paced work at Lancia. Since I joined five years ago, no two days have been the same, and I am happy to say that it still holds true for me today.
And now, a final note from Esther Lee, our Head of People (APAC)
Q: What is the most rewarding part of seeing interns grow through LEAP, and why would you recommend this experience to students considering a career in consulting?
A: While consulting work is highly rewarding, the rigour inherent in its nature makes it challenging and demanding. It requires tenacity, strong communication skills, and robust critical thinking ability. If this sounds like something you will get energised by, Lancia is the place for accelerated growth because mentorship lies at the heart of our internship experience. Throughout our 6-month programme, regular one-to-one check-ins provide real-time feedback and support for our Analysts to navigate challenges and develop core consulting skills, leading them to discover more about their strengths and aspirations.
Another unique feature of our program is that we create the opportunity for each batch to interact with the next through organising a LEAP Day. The photo above was taken on Batch 9's LEAP Day, where Batch 9 (January –June 2023) came together to exchange invaluable experiences and essential insights, benefiting both their peers and those in Batch 10 as they embarked on their 6-month journey (June – December 2023). We also invited consultants across various career stages who generously shared their professional journeys and nuggets of wisdom. This distinctive engagement nurtures growth and highlights the strong sense of community and mentorship that defines Life at Lancia!
As part of our open culture and offboarding process, I enjoy meeting our Analysts for one-to-one coffee chats to delve into their overall experience and lessons gained, provide career coaching, and gather valuable feedback into our program. Observing their personal and professional growth unfold is truly rewarding, knowing that we've played a pivotal role in shaping their path toward personal success.
If you'd like to hear more about internship opportunities across our Lancia offices, visit Join us today.