A young man in a business suit stands outside on a sunny day smiling at the camera. It is surrounded by a grey frame.
Jeevan Mysore Harish. Image: ACIA

‘I had the freedom to experiment with the latest technologies’

21 Sep 2021

Jeevan Mysore Harish said the Aon graduate programme helped him gain confidence at work and develop his technical and soft skills.

Graduate programmes often give early starters the opportunity to develop their skills in a supportive environment as well as getting a unique insight to many areas of a particularly business.

Jeevan Mysore Harish joined the Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) as part of its graduate programme, which is tailored to gain knowledge and insight into the world of data and analytics.

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Prior to this, he studied a master’s degree in computer science and majoring in data science at University College Dublin.

He said the programme means he’s now working in his desired industry because his long-term goal is to pursue a career in the data domain.

What drew you to ACIA when you were seeking work as a graduate?

I am a huge fan of Manchester United and Aon was sponsoring them between 2010 and 2021. This motivated me to research more into the Aon Launch Development Programme when I was doing my master’s.

After researching, I understood that there is a good work-life balance, colleagues are very friendly and, most importantly to me, that Aon are focused on innovating in the way they use data-driven insights through latest technologies with a team of experts, and that really caught my eye.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

One of the expectations I had before joining the programme was to gain exposure to various aspects of the business, in addition to learning new technical skills.

I was appointed into the data engineering team and was expecting to understand the team dynamics and technologies that they work with on a daily basis to provide solutions to Aon’s clients. I was also expecting friendly working environment. I was not disappointed!

My passion is to achieve an MBA degree, which encourages further creativity, innovation and analytical thinking at ACIA. The Aon grad programme helped me to interact with Aon business leaders and colleagues, an important skill to have in future management roles I aspire to.

I’m thankful that the ACIA leadership team is happy to partially sponsor my MBA studies and provide me with necessary tasks and training on the go which aligns with my curriculum.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

The first few days I had knowledge transfer sessions on the project that I was working on and soon after that I got my first task of my own, to find a solution to a problem statement using Python code. Concurrently, I could learn new technologies to come up with an innovative and efficient solution.

The Aon graduate programme induction gave me an opportunity interact with other graduates from across the business in the UK and Ireland. The induction lasted three days and included many fun activities, soft-skill training, interactive sessions with Aon business leaders and nights out.

Overall, the first few months of the grad programme was very interesting and enjoyable. It involved some travelling, meeting new people and learning new technologies.

Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?

Yes, it has changed a lot. My first few weeks were dedicated to training and knowledge transfer sessions and soon after that, I began to understand business logics before implementing technical solutions. This helped me work swiftly and deliver the project as per client expectations.

I can now take on more responsibilities within the data engineering department, such as providing training to other incoming graduates.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

My day begins with a daily stand-up call, where all of our team members discuss what we were working on yesterday and what we plan to do today. We also share details about the challenges we are facing and find a solution to these together as a team. This meeting helps plan the rest of my day.

My current work involves finding a solution to get data from a single source or multiple sources, transform the data and load it in a requested database, where I keep track of client requirements on data quality. This process needs to be scheduled to run at specified times in the future. My job is to automate the process and keep track of the pipeline.

If not working from home, my typical day involves small coffee breaks with my colleagues every two hours, just to stretch my legs, and an hour-long lunch break. Occasionally there would be fun activities arranged for the whole ACIA team, which help us to take a break from our busy work and interact with the rest of our colleagues.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?

During my first few months at ACIA, I was learning from various experienced colleagues to understand how things work in data engineering. Once I was comfortable, I was given the same tasks that experienced employees were working on.

Apart from that, more experienced colleagues will interact with clients, break down projects into multiple tasks and assign these tasks to their team members.

Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?

Yes, after completing the programme I gained a lot of confidence at work. I have improved my communication and teamwork skills by being actively involved in team meetings and fun activities.

Throughout the Aon graduate programme we get to improve our skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, leadership etc.

I had the freedom to experiment with the latest technologies during my graduate days at ACIA which allowed me to come up with unique solutions and my colleagues encouraged me to present my work to the entire office which boosted my confidence in pitching and storytelling.

In short, this programme helped me to gain both technical and soft skills while I was working on a real project.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at ACIA?

ACIA is one of the pioneers in the data and analytics domain. If you are really interested in building your career in these areas the Aon graduate programme is an excellent way to kick start your career.

ACIA provides you with the necessary training that you need before you start any work and takes care of its employees like a family.

Graduates work both in small and large diverse teams that are knowledgeable, passionate and innovative. This programme will also help you to develop your skills, grow your career, and expand your reach across businesses and geographies.

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