There’s no denying it: starting a new job can be a little intimidating—especially if it’s your first job after college.
… Unless you’re starting a new job at information services firm AlphaSights. That’s because their training program is designed to make you feel right at home from day one (and ready to be a trainer yourself in about a year). We were curious how the program sets team members up for success, so we sat down with Taylor Brown, a Manager at AlphaSights, and her trainee, Julia Castle, an Associate at the company.
Read on to hear what these two team members had to say. (Spoiler alert: Julia has now been at AlphaSights for over a year and a half. She got so much out of the program, she’s now a trainer herself!)
What’s the AlphaSights training program like? When does it start for an employee and how does it evolve over time?
Taylor: [Starting on their first day] every new joiner goes to a one- to three-week training program called AlphaCamp, which is run by managers and VPs. Even though the trainee isn’t at their desk physically during that time, they still have someone who is there to answer questions. Trainers stick with trainees from the first day, helping them work on project delivery, all the way to project and client management. Almost everyone has the opportunity to train either a summer Associate or a full-time hire after 12-18 months. It’s viewed as a huge development opportunity. Ideally, we try to model the trainer/trainee relationship like an apprenticeship for the first three to six months. This summer, about 80 trainers are working with either Summer Associates or full-time Associates.
Julia: The trainer and trainee are always on the same team, and work together directly to tackle client projects during the learning period. Your manager is there to be the point person for all career development things and to answer higher-level questions. For granular, day-to-day work, your trainer is the person you go to. You typically sit next to them and work with them to help get you up to speed as a full-fledged Associate.
Taylor, what inspired you to get involved with the AlphaSights trainer/trainee program?
When I first joined AlphaSights and I was going through the training program, I really looked forward to being a trainer myself. I’ve always enjoyed teaching others, so I started gunning to become a trainer as fast as possible.
What has been the most rewarding part of the program so far?
Julia: It’s definitely that, on day one, you have a personal advocate. When you come to a new company, you don’t really know who to talk to or who to ask the embarrassing questions. Taylor knows how much I’ve grown more than anyone else at the firm. One of the most memorable things I’ve learned from her is that it’s not just about the numbers you hit, but how hard you’re trying, and how you serve your clients and your team. AlphaSights also has a really tight-knit culture and Taylor really pushed me to get acquainted with many other people at the firm, which was important for my growth and development at the company.
Taylor: For me, the most rewarding aspect is the relationships I’ve built with my trainees. As Julia said, the key piece of the program is that you become extremely close with that person. Another rewarding piece is when I finally see my trainee become very self-sufficient or hit key milestones. Like the first time I watched Julia run a project by herself from start to finish. My mantra has always been “make that person more successful than I was at the job”.
What skills have you developed throughout the trainer/trainee program?
Julia: This was my first job out of college. As a new professional, I learned how to write in a business-professional way, speak intelligently on the phone to people I didn’t know and how to hold my own in meetings. I also learned how to wear multiple hats and handle unexpected responsibilities.
Taylor: Looking at this as a trainer, a big skill is how to provide feedback to someone who might only be a year or two more junior than I am. I also learned how to have tough conversations with people and how to actively listen to someone else. Finally, I learned how to be more empathetic towards my colleagues and how to feel confident in what I’m doing day-to-day.
Julia, how can future AlphaSights trainees get the most out of the training program?
My number one piece of advice is to not be afraid to ask questions. It’s the only way to really learn. Also, a key part of being a trainee is watching and listening to what your trainer is doing at all times. Be involved, speak up and ask for challenges and responsibilities. Taking initiative will show your trainer you’re willing to grow and take on whatever comes next.
Ready to build your future career at AlphaSights (with a trainer by your side, of course)? They’re hiring for positions like IT Support Technician, Recruiting Associate and Business Development Manager. Head over to WayUp and apply!