Alice Townley

Alice Townley, Early Careers Advisor

I came to Baringa a few years ago through the recruitment agency I was working for at the time. Somewhat ironic, given my job was to place people with their perfect roles, and here was my employer telling me I should go to Baringa myself. But my story is the perfect example of how there’s no one way to get to Baringa. No one degree you must have. No prescribed university or school to go to. No requirement for the experience you already have (or maybe don’t yet have). No one should count themselves out.

Matching individual skills to opportunities

As the Early Careers Advisor, I work alongside three others in the team running Baringa’s Internship programmes. We’ve expanded from an initial intake of 20 interns per year in just our London office, to an average of 155 across our global offices. All working within a wide range of industries and capabilities – financial services, energy and resources, technology transformation, to name but a few.

The thing I love most is that I get to support and champion people along their journeys from internship into Analyst roles, rather than simply waving them off from day 1 and never seeing what they go on to accomplish.

Increasingly, factors like company culture, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing and purpose driven work are what our individuals are looking for in their careers. This is as much their opportunity to see what we can offer them, as it is our opportunity to see what they could bring to our partnership.

Buddies & bonds

Giving and receiving feedback is highly valued at Baringa, and we encourage all our interns to embrace it positively. It’s how we learn, and we can always learn more. Every intern is assigned a buddy to mentor them throughout their internship. These buddies will always have similar stories, experience or backgrounds to their mentees, and all have been interns themselves. My team then provide another level of support, creating bonds through social networking and events outside work, alongside building practical skills etc.

Fantastic as the internship programme is, my team and I are continually looking to improve, always asking: ‘What else can we do or try?’ We listen to their experiences and their feedback helps us do better for the next intake. More than that, their feedback changes the way we do things across Baringa, because the voices of the next generation are only going to get louder.

No judgement

One of the special things about Baringa is our approach to sharing skills, experience and understanding. We know the next generation offer new ideas, approaches and ways of working, helping us to evolve and be better. I’m a passionate advocate for reverse mentoring – matching up junior analysts with more senior partners. And this is open to interns that stay with us.

Through active listening and drawing out diverse backgrounds, we’re able to pool ideas, behaviours and beliefs. Challenge ways of working and introduce new thinking. There’s no judgement, just a willingness to learn and improve on both sides. It transforms perspectives and encourages progressive conversation, allowing everyone to share their own unique backgrounds in a hugely positive way.

Charity partnerships

Baringa takes its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity & Inclusion very seriously. This shapes our early careers and social mobility efforts. We have partnered with a leading social mobility charity called upReach to increase the diversity of our prospective talent pool as we work towards an even more representative body of interns.

Another of our partnerships is with a wonderful charity called the Drive Forward Foundation. They provide greater access to the working world for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, who may not have been presented with such opportunities sooner in their lives. Through our two-week work placements, we’re helping build basic but vital business skills for individuals, including those connected with us by Drive Forward. Skills such as constructing reports and emails, crafting a CV and analysing data. Further, we coach and develop communications and interpersonal skills and support applications onto the internship programme where appropriate.

Holding ourselves true

This isn’t all just words on a page, we are measuring our work in this area too. Take our application process for example, we want to see great people from diverse backgrounds joining us on our internship programmes. For that reason, throughout the application process we use aggregated data points to follow how our female, ethnically diverse and social mobility applicants’ progress stage-by-stage – from application all the way through to offer acceptance stage, we are measuring how groups progress. We use this data to check ourselves and ensure that every stage of our process is fair, that no single group is under recognised or appreciated. It sounds calculated when it’s written down, but it is part of what holds us true in our journey of increasing our diverse talent.

Ultimately, every early career journey may be different. But we have a responsibility to help people of all backgrounds succeed, in whatever form that may be. For me, being at the start line is just as rewarding as the finish line.

Every moment of our existence has shaped the people we are today. Those moments will then intertwine with our next experiences to form the people we are becoming. Beyond transforming ourselves, these moments, if shared, create a butterfly effect that can transform other people too. By telling the stories of the path we’ve walked, we have an opportunity to create change all around us.

We are beginning a series of reflective pieces, where brilliant people from within Baringa will share their journeys as individuals or members of our company and community. Their stories will reflect the diverse lived experiences we have had and consequently, the diverse individuals we are becoming. We will also bring light to Baringa’s wider journey to weave diversity and inclusion into the fabric of our people and our firm.

We hope amongst these stories, you will find wisdom and community. That they will be another moment of existence for us all that shape the people and organisations we are becoming. Creating change, if we might be so bold, to more diverse and inclusive ends.

Read our Personal Journeys Blog Series

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