Inside Scoop: Npower Forecasting Challenge
As you may or may not know, applications for npower’s ‘Forecasting Challenge’ are now open! The Forecasting Challenge is a task aimed at 2nd year university students, where they will be required to exercise their analytical wits and accurately predict npower’s forecast from 3 rounds of weather data. The successful team of applicants will be offered a paid summer internship with npower and will also share a cash prize of £1000!
Now, rather than have us natter away at you about the challenge, we thought that it would be a much better idea for you to hear about it from an actual participant. At this point we’d like to introduce James! He was a finalist in the Forecasting Challenge last year and recently completed an internship with npower. Here is what James had to say about his experiences prior, and during, the Forecasting Challenge (which for the sake of brevity, we will refer to as “FC” from now on) …
Q: What initially drew you to the FC and specifically npower as an organisation?
A: I first found out about the FC at a careers fair at my university; this was at the start of second year and I was interested in getting an internship for the summer. I had a chat with the guys at the stand and they explained that npower liked to use a different recruitment process, preferring the FC to more standard processes of filling in forms and online tests. It was this different approach which attracted me to the FC and npower itself, as I felt even if I wasn’t successful, I would still feel I’d achieved something through taking part.
Q: How easy did you find it to get a team together to apply to take part in the FC?
A: Very easy! After the fair I talked to some of my friends from my course and they were all on board very quickly. We all wanted to gain summer placements that year and saw the FC as an interesting alternative way to apply for one.
Q: Which part of the process did you enjoy the most?
A: Probably the final round of forecasting, as by this stage we knew we were doing quite well on the leader board and another good performance would put us in the final.
Q: Were you able to apply the skills you learned through participating in the FC in a way which benefited your degree?
A: Yes, I would say so. The initial rounds of forecasting were a good chance to use and develop problem-solving and team working skills, which are useful attributes to have no matter what career you find yourself in. Last year I had to complete a university module which required working in a group and writing a report detailing a solution to a real world problem. Having already participated in the FC, I found that the skills I developed were really useful there too. I also have to give a presentation as part of my dissertation this year, so presenting to the judges in the final was great practice.
Q: What would you say to applicants who are considering putting forward an application to take part in the challenge?
A: I would say not to hesitate, especially if they are the type of people who enjoy problem solving and challenges. It is a really good chance to win a fantastic prize and participate in a national challenge. Even if you don’t make it to the final, it is still great to put on your CV.
Q: What were your thoughts about making it through to the final of the FC?
A: Mainly of excitement but also I was quite nervous. Initially we were extremely happy as a team to have made it to the final as we really felt we had achieved something in getting that far. I don’t think at the start we’d thought too much about winning to be honest. However, as the date approached and it seemed possible that we could win, a few nerves definitely crept in. In the end we finished as runners-up, but the final was still a great experience. Npower did their best to create a relaxed environment and the day of the final was a good insight into the company.
Q: So you were a finalist last year, completed the internship; and now you are currently in studying. What are your current career aspirations? How do you feel this experience with npower has helped you pursue these aspirations?
A: I’m in my final year now at university and, consequently, have just started applying for jobs. Before my experience with npower I had no real idea about what I wanted to do – I probably would not have even thought about applying to npower had it not been for talking to them at the careers fair a year ago. Now I feel like I have a lot more of an idea about what I’d like to do when I leave university and that’s definitely almost entirely down to my experience throughout the challenge and internship. The Forecasting Challenge helped me to realise I’d like a job which involved analysis and could provide opportunities to solve problems and the internship was the first proper experience I’d had of a working office environment and definitely helped me decide what type of graduate jobs I’d like to apply for after university.
James has kindly offered his time and advice to help future entrants to the FC by becoming an npower digital mentor. You have until the 2nd of November to submit your applications and I’m sure you will agree from hearing about James’ experience, that this in an opportunity too good to miss. So if you want to find out more about the challenge, npower and to speak with mentors like James – then register here.
Best of luck!