By Maite Eraña Salmeron
We could call it a stroke of luck, really. The placement process was rather ambiguous, which is why I still can´t believe how well this position suits me. I am a recent graduate from Boston University School of Hospitality Administration and I came to Madrid to complete a study abroad program that includes an internship and coursework components. You can already tell I have had a positive experience, but the real question I hope to answer with this blog post is the following:
How is the commitment to customer experience expressed within the walls of this leading consulting firm?
I should start by explaining more thoroughly why I find my position here so valuable. In my opinion, to be an intern means you learn to actively develop any company´s most valued competitive advantage: employee commitment. As an intern you often ask yourself nervously, “Will I be doing something meaningful? Do I have enough experience to be here?” And while it´s absolutely true that you want to quickly get adjusted to doing your job effectively, I would not underestimate the opportunity to embrace the ambiguity and take in how the company makes a difference in the lives of its employees. This time is crucial because the newness can help you be objective and honest about your expectations and your employer´s expectations. In this competitive business environment, employee commitment is not only the result of the appropriate strategies and support systems, but that of each employee internalizing how he/she can encourage intentional care of all stakeholders. As I reflect on my internship experience, I keep in mind a question I like to share with my employer:
How will you help me be a better version of myself today?
As an intern the most crucial thing I can do is to make a habit to always be learning, because this is how I challenge my employer to think differently, to embrace change, and to want to invest in me as much as I want to invest in them so that we may both be successful.
So how does Buljan & Partners respond to this? I think the most impressive way they address customer experience is through their commitment to empower others. The Madrid team has a culture dedicated to raising the standards within the individuals who work here so that the firm can be innovative and adept to the opportunities that come with change and diversity. Their expertise in customer experience recommendations is in fact an initiative they first live by example within the office. We could talk about all the details that help them be so successful, but I would like to focus on a few ways in which they have impacted me the most, and through which they have addressed my previous perspective on being an intern.
Since the minute I got here, I have been considered a valuable team member. My main responsibility is to support the team of consultants with their projects, which involves a variety of tasks including developing offers, creating presentations, translating documents, etc. They have made me feel proud of the experience I have, and they have given me an opportunity to apply such knowledge. There´s a great balance where I am encouraged to share my insights, as well as to receive guidance to apply them to the established frameworks.
The team wants to collaborate with me and they express that often. This is not just encouraging, but it allows me to connect with each team member more personally. As a result when it comes to networking, the relationships I am learning to build here take on a whole new level of depth. The relationship is valued for more than what each party can provide; it is based on bringing the best out of people and seeking through collaboration to make a difference that is tangible and influential in our businesses.
There is also an emphasis to communicate honestly and often.
More than one person a day will check in with me to ask how I am handling the workload, to offer me an opportunity to collaborate, as well as to get to know me. I find such awareness for a team member the first of many intentional ways to foster trust and loyalty. Buljan & Partners also offers great flexibility to express our ideas, which promotes our personal responsibility to lead and keep each other accountable. These efforts may seem simple, but their effects are lasting and is what I will remember most as I continue to develop professionally.
In conclusion, my experience at Buljan & Partners has been one of profound impact.
I can confidently say that what they do every day for their clients only scratches the surface in comparison to the dedication to customer experience they foster at the core. They take seriously how to invest in their own employees so that they may grow as people. Customer experience is an attitude; one of servant leadership that must be lived fully in order to make a difference, and one that I am grateful to experience so passionately while working abroad.