Work Based Learning Lessons: Own your mistakes and learn from them
Avni Kerai, a 4th year Bachelor of Commerce student spent her Work Based Learning (WBL) hours at The Consulting Group Limited (TCG). The WBL is carried out by all students who have completed their third year to gain experience and skills they have learnt in class. She shares her experience and lessons learnt.
How was your experience during the WBL?
I had a valuable experience at TCG for about two months. I acquired knowledge in performing basic office tasks such as document management, creating ETR receipts amongst others. I also boosted my communication skills because I was given the opportunity to attend to and interact with customers. In addition to that, I really appreciated how my boss and colleagues were very helpful when I needed assistance; the respectful and appreciative nature of the team mesmerized me.
Why did you choose to work at The Consulting Group Limited? Who or what inspired you to work there?
I chose to work at TCG because when I went to ask if they provide internship opportunities, the administrator asked me from which University I was from. When I said Strathmore University, without asking for more information, she told I was welcome to join them for the internship. Furthermore, when I handed in my CV, they emphasized that they hire candidates based on their character, and not on their CV only.
What activities did you carry out?
During the internship, I was required to multitask. TCG has 2 businesses; Bwana Pesa services which provides printing/photocopying, binding, and scanning services to clients, and The Consulting Group, which provides management consulting services to its SME clients within Kenya.
Tell us about any of your supervisors who guided you in your work. How did they make an impact on your experience?
Mrs. Serah, my supervisor, was very helpful throughout the internship. Whenever I made a mistake, she advised me to own it and make the necessary amends, including notifying the boss. I remember once sending an erroneous invoice to one of our clients. I quickly rectified it and had to inform my boss. Being honest helped me learn not to be afraid of making mistakes.
What new skills have you learned so far/did you learn? What are your takeaways?
I learnt how speak in Swahili as well as in Spanish to Centunion clients (Spanish Construction Company). Through this I learnt that speaking to customers in different languages allowed them to express themselves fully and confidently. In addition, from a mistake I made – delaying delivery of printing and binding services – I learnt how time is of the essence and how to prioritize work based on urgency.
What are some of the challenges you have faced so far/did you face in your work?
Sometimes I would lose focus when I would be given a multitude of tasks for both TCG and Bwana Pesa Services, both with urgent deadlines. Also, I was not able to carry out some tasks with 100% certainty as I did not have real world experience.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience?
In business, make data driven decisions; work for people who appreciate your work; focus on solving problems that arise instead of wasting time blaming each other; in life, make money with an objective; and lastly, no effort is futile: Perform each small task with sincerity, love, and a positive attitude.
What advice would you give to any student about to immerse themselves in work-based learning?
As Mother Teresa said, “We cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” I would advise my peers to perform each task with positive attitude. I know it is quite annoying when we are given menial tasks to perform as interns, but these small tasks may be meaningful to us in future. We need to enjoy the path of the experience not the reward. I’d also encourage them to improve their proficiency in Microsoft Excel!
This article was written by Cheryl Wambugu.
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