With just a few days left until the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 in Davos, Switzerland, I still can’t believe I will be attending the event and that I’ve had this amazing opportunity to work with Accenture on a WEF project through my Accenture Strategy internship.
I remember wishing I could attend WEF after watching videos of the London Business School (LBS) MBA students who went to the 2017 event. I knew the opportunity to attend would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I must grab it. I met with a few Accenture Strategy consultants just days before the internship application deadline, and they helped cement my decision by giving me a flavor of the warm, intelligent and enthusiastic people that I could be working with.
The application process was thorough, but very interesting. Just a month into my MBA program, I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready for the case interview and strategic thinking assessment, but I gave it my best. It turned out to be an excellent way to learn more about being a consultant. I was thrilled when I heard that I was selected and that my project would focus on the circular economy and sustainability.
A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use and dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible and extract the maximum value from them while in use. We then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life instead of creating more and adding to the ever-growing problem of pollution and expanding landfills.
Sustainability was a new subject for me, but I was fortunate to attend a fireside chat with Peter Lacy, Accenture Strategy Global lead for Sustainability, which introduced me to the issues and opportunities. The more I learned about sustainability, the more interested I became in how it is changing business models and impacting companies across all industries.
On my first day at Accenture, I met the team behind the WEF project, and they were exactly the kind of people I had imagined I would be working with. The team was very flexible in letting me work from home and set my own hours, which was helpful, as the first term of an MBA program is insanely hectic. They also felt it was important that we choose the topics to work on, so that we would enjoy it and learn during the process.
My project was to help the team research and gather data about companies who can be considered as peers to the companies who have applied for “The Circulars” award, which is an initiative of the World Economic Forum and the Forum of Young Global Leaders. It is the world’s premier circular economy award program and is hosted during WEF. I chose to focus on multinational organizations in this space, as I was always curious how big companies can manage to change their path or business model toward sustainability, given their size.
I researched the circular economy projects of organizations whose products I frequently use. Because I could relate to these companies, the research was interesting, and it made me curious to know why other companies aren’t following suit. I was even able to listen to how the judging panel, who are leaders in the industry, made their tough decisions on a winner for each category. It was an amazing learning experience.
The last two months with Accenture Strategy have been an incredible journey, and I cannot wait until January 21 when I fly to Davos with the Accenture team to attend the WEF 2018.
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