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Four GRL students participating in Deloitte Project

14 May 2021

A unique opportunity for four students to participate in a corporate project team in the field of Artificial intelligence and data. In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, Deloitte conducted research into sustainability components in the party programs of the ten largest parties in the Netherlands. Deloitte's global partner and UCF ambassador, Jacques Buith, presented the results during the Women Executive network. In this project, four ambitious GRL students contributed to make this a success. We asked the students some questions to gain insight into their experience.

How did you experience this project overall?

Max:
While the project was of course only a small scale and our involvement was of a more technical nature, I think it is a really great experience to get a little insight into how consultancy firms operate. While the work itself was not that interesting and I would at the moment not see myself working in this field, having done this and having made some connections in the process is very valuable for me as a bachelor student.

Tabio:
Overall, the experience was valuable as I could gain an insight into the working mode of a big consultancy such as Deloitte. The atmosphere was friendly and I had the impression that we could contribute in a meaningful way even though the work itself was rather simple

Tomas:
The people from Deloitte were very friendly and nice to work with and seemed to value our input. The work itself was quite easy. In the final meeting we could not be part of the discussions and the rest of the presentation was known to us so not very interesting.

Roel:
The experiences I gained during the Women Executive Project were very valuable because it gave me new insights into the working atmosphere of a large consultancy company like Deloitte. During the brainstorm sessions there was a pleasant atmosphere and people listened carefully to each other's input. Although I feel that my qualities have not been fully utilized during this project, this was a first step in the direction in which I later want to specialize as a professional.

What was your specific contribution to this project?

Max:
We carried out a sentiment analysis of the party programs of the different political parties. As such I went through the party programs of the ChristenUnie and Forum voor Democratie, to tag each sentence and whether the sentiment towards sustainability expressed in this sentence was positive, negative or neutral. Additionally, if any concrete propositions were done in the sentence, I tagged which the main actors responsible for carrying out/being affected by this proposition were. Maybe a little less specific, but during our meetings I brought input into the discussion about how we should tag the sentences and how other aspects of the process looked like. It was great to see that in these situations our input was valued as well.

Tabio:
For me it was hard to contribute as I could not participate in the main task so that I was limited to some coordinating work and composing shorter summaries towards the end next to participating in the brainstorming meetings.

Tomas:
I tagged sentences from the sustainability part of the party programs of D66 and the PVV. I tagged whether they were positive, negative or neutral on sustainability and who the policy would affect if applicable. In addition I summarized the position of various parties on the EU Green Deal.

Roel:
For the Women Executive Project, I conducted a sentiment analysis on the way in which various political parties have translated the EU Green Deal into statements in their election plan for the Netherlands. For this I looked specifically at the VVD, PvdA, CDA, GroenLinks and SP. Subsequently, I drew up a document in which I investigated the perspectives of all parties on natural gas. This document has also been included in the final presentation for all participants of the Women Executive Project.

What went well in this project?

Max:
The main goal of this project was of course not to do detailed and in depth scientific research into the party programs of Dutch political parties or to test any hypothesis, but more to get an overview of the situation. Based on this overview the attendees of the Women Executive Network event could then discuss and give their opinion. As I heard afterwards this discussion was very interesting and participants were positive about the event. Additionally, we had some interesting findings that might be a starting point for future research. As such I would say the whole project went quite well as the outcome of the project was very good.

Tabio:
Overall, the project seemed like a success to me which was also communicated eventually. Apart from that specifically communication and punctuality were always good.

Tomas:
The overall communication went well and the tagging was successful.

Roel:
The entire project went smoothly, there was good communication, and the results were promising. There is really nothing else to add to this.

What was it like to work with the professionals of Deloitte?

Max:
Given the status and image of Deloitte as a company, working within such a company can seem a bit intimidating at first, however after all there are all people like us. The atmosphere was of course professional, but much more relaxed than you would expect based on the image of Deloitte. As I said already before, I was also pleasantly surprised that they seemed to really value our input in discussion, while we of course mainly were there for the groundwork which did not require a lot of skill. Taking into account that taking students so seriously is certainly not a given these days, I think it was an overall very pleasant experience.

Tabio:
Due to the very relaxed and friendly atmosphere there was hardly any difference from working for our studies apart from the thought in the back of my mind that this is slightly more serious and goes beyond my own interests. Additionally, the type of analysis which was presented in the end would not have been possible with students’ resources in the given timeframe.

Tomas:
Honestly it was very similar to working together with students, just the setting was more professional.

Roel:
To be honest, I initially had the assumption that there would be a very formal work atmosphere. This was partly correct: everyone had a constant professional attitude, which meant that the project was taken seriously at all times. But this was partly not true: there was a very informal, friendly and accessible atmosphere which was very pleasant. In other words: a very strong combination.

What did you learn which is interesting to share?

Max:
I think the most interesting point was the insight into the way work is done at Deloitte, often within small teams working on specific tasks or projects. When there is some overlap between different projects you use each other's work or make some time to sit in on each other’s meeting. This way you can tailor the output to the needs of a specific client or project, but you do not necessarily need to do a lot of double work.

Tabio:
I gained a lot of insights in the Dutch political landscape with which I was rather unfamiliar previously due to my international background. Apart from that I have learned that I should not be too concerned about the future as this consultancy work seemed not very different in terms of content and quality from what we do on a daily basis.

Roel:
I would say that the answer to the previous question can serve as an answer to this question.

Were there any findings that were interesting to you (content wise)?

Max:
I think there were not any specific findings that really stood out to me, but I think the overall overview of the Dutch political landscape in regards to sustainability which we created is worthwhile to have a look at. But I’m sure you will add this at the end of this piece as well.

Tabio:
I gained a lot of insights in the Dutch political landscape with which I was rather unfamiliar previously due to my international background. This is certainly interesting as Dutch politics also influence my daily life here in the Netherlands. Besides there were no particularly findings as I am sufficiently familiar with the topic of sustainability and the European Green Deal.

Roel:
Personally, I found it striking that some left-wing political parties (e.g., SP, GroenLinks and PvdA) scored relatively low in the sentiment analysis at sustainability level. I noticed that some political parties had set up their election program in such a way that it would consciously score high. Some kind of "green-washing" almost seemed to have been applied to the election manifestos. In addition, this result can also be explained by the length of the election programs: some political parties only had a relatively small piece of text devoted to sustainability, but in percentage terms they have a high sustainability percentage. In other words, the political game seemed to have taken on a new dimension.

Last modified:03 June 2021 4.16 p.m.

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