On the Monday of my fourth week at The Brilliant Club, the organisation held a Mid-term review. The entire team of approximately 60 people gathered in a single conference room and each department (Finance, Operations, Evaluation etc.) held a brief presentation to communicate their work and its outcomes to other departments. This was a unique experience in that it helped me complete my picture of how the entire organisation functioned and how different departments complement each other.
I had two major tasks to complete throughout this last week: to conduct interviews with former tutors from The Scholar’s Programme which I had scheduled in the previous week and to write up the report for the 2016 London Provider Feedback Survey according to the organisation’s brand and style guidelines.
Conducting interviews was a completely new experience – for the first time, I found myself on the other side of the barrier. I was surprised to find out just how much time an interviewer must put into the preparation of the interview so that he or she is not caught off track by the interviewee. Before my very first interview, I practised talking through the introductory information that I would communicate to the interviewee before proceeding with the interview itself; I also practised the interview questions themselves. Even then, in the middle of the first interview, when there was pressure on me to ask questions smoothly one after the other to give the impression that I have the interview under control, at one moment I panicked and briefly lost track of my thoughts. However, after this first time, the flow of all subsequent interviews was perfect. The former tutors expressed a variety of opinions on issues such as whether their experience at TBC had any impact on them applying for their current position or whether their experience at TBC is in anyway useful on their current position. My initial plan was to tape-record all interviews and transcribe the responses but this would have been far too time-consuming and, given the circumstances, unrealistic. I therefore took notes throughout each interview and then transcribed them into a table. Unfortunately, given that I started this project during in my 3rd week, I would not have time to process the answers in any way. However, I did submit all the recorded responses to TBC for them to process.
In between my interviews, I worked on the report. I read the organisation’s brand guidelines handbook to understand how branded documents are put together. I also read through the organisation’s style guidelines to understand how to write about sensitive issues. For example, the organisation prefers the term ‘under-represented groups’ rather than ‘disadvantages groups’, ‘high-performing’ rather than ‘smart’ or ‘bright’ (as the latter two are not quantifiable), and ‘highly-selective universities’ rather than ‘elite’ or ‘prestigious’. In the previous week, I produced various figures to visualise the survey data, this week I wrote down findings and recommendations. For example, it turned out that some project providers would like to have access to more guidance material as to how to best supervise the student throughout the placement and also see some more personal development training for the students prior to the start of their placement. On the last day of my placement, I submitted the work to my supervisor, shook hands with everyone to say goodbye, received The Brilliant Club mug as a gift and that was it!