Data analytics graduate Asmita Satpute of Aon is standing on a balcony and smiling into the camera.
Asmita Satpute. Image: Aon

What to look out for in a data analytics graduate programme

14 Sep 2020

According to Aon’s Asmita Satpute, it’s important to research a company’s culture and its opportunities for hands-on learning and experiences as a graduate.

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Asmita Satpute is a recent data analytics graduate, having completed her master’s in the subject after specialising in electronics and telecommunications engineering.

Here, she explains why a diverse environment and opportunities to learn drew her to the graduate programme at Aon’s Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) after she completed her studies last year.

‘Graduate programmes which offer grads the chance of rotating with different work areas was something that appealed to me’

With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?

Yes, I am. Moreover, as data is such a highly valued entity of this decade, I made a conscious decision to pursue my master’s in this field and was actively seeking opportunities to start my career in this industry

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

In my final master’s semester, I attended a number of graduate employment fairs across Dublin. One such event which was organised by my college had over 25 companies present, Aon being one of them. I had an insightful conversation about opportunities the company has to offer, a broad overview of the type of business Aon operates in and, in particular, how data and analytics underpins everything it does.

After the event I remember actively researching ACIA in my quest to know more about the company.

To answer this question of what drew me to Aon, I would say that among all other companies present that day, Aon felt more relatable and welcoming in terms of work for a newcomer like myself.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

I was looking forward to getting practical work exposure after completing my postgrad, keen to learn new skills and explore popular analytics tools and techniques. As I am non-native, I was also seeking a diverse and friendly work environment.

The speciality of graduate programmes which offer grads the chance of rotating with different work areas was something that appealed to me. Last year around this time I joined ACIA, and was fortunate enough to transition between squads and try different things. And it has been a fulfilling experience ever since.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

My first couple of weeks involved shadowing fellow colleagues and helping them with small tasks. Simultaneously, we kickstarted with our graduate induction under Aon’s early career development programme in London. This helped me to understand Aon as a global organisation, its several functions and business lines.

At ACIA, my duties involved articulating new client queries, learning the process of tackling client requests and focusing on networking. Based on my exposure with analytics and visualisation tools, I was given tasks to interpret data insights. Overall, the beginning was more of striking the right work balance in things I knew and adapting to new business practices.

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

Yes, it did. My understanding of the business improved and that reflects in the variety of work I do. Responsibilities increased in terms of undertaking all sorts of tasks that will channel my professional skills, like customising results as a data analyst, visualising business-intelligence solutions and reviewing regular work and processes to provide client services. With this varied scope of work, I was able to deal with diverse and complicated business queries.

Can you describe a typical day in your role as a data analytics graduate?

My day starts with a scrum stand-up, which I think is a prolific way to get started. This is where the entire team gets to address new client requests and discuss their ongoing tasks. This practice helps me plan the rest of my day – for example, if I need to arrange meetings or calls to deal with a new request or an ongoing piece of work.

My work includes dealing with data requests from business partners and colleagues across the globe. I start by understanding the requirements and make sure it falls under ACIA’s compliance policy. Every request is different, often requiring data gathering from several platforms that ACIA hosts and making sure an analytically reasonable output is provided.

Doing this requires practise and knowledge of ACIA’s different data repositories and using programming skills, along with several data insight tools.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?

Initially, for three months it was more about learning and getting to know business 360. The learning was a combination of experience (70pc), feedback (20pc) and planned business education (10pc). After that, I was given opportunities similar to experienced colleagues and would have someone from the team review my work before finalising.

Personally, this greatly increased my confidence as I was progressing. There were times when I struggled to understand certain tasks but constant work review, feedback and team-engagement activities like scrum stand-ups, retrospective team meetings etc helped me in learning.

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

Yes, I do. I feel confident. This programme gave me opportunities to develop business knowledge and professional skills. I have understood the importance of networking and team-working.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at ACIA?

ACIA is an expert in data and analytics. For anyone who is planning to start their career in this industry, the graduate programme is a great opportunity. It has tailored training on personal branding, soft skills, networking, freedom, and a chance to work in varied teams to explore several areas of business.

This helps an individual to grow professionally and personally with hands-on experience in tools and technologies used in the industry. An activity worth mentioning is AonIQ study hours, which enables interaction with leaders from different business sectors. The practical work training is well structured to enable the acquisition of technical knowledge and skills.

Also, you get to have weekly catch-ups with your manager and Aon connector (informally called your ‘buddy’) to discuss performance, roadblocks, if any, and feedback that makes it more than just a training course. To summarise, it is a complete package for a beginner.

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