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Alum of the Month - June 2020

Javad Golzari

At the heart of our business model is my ambition to give young people the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and to build career skills valued by employers.
Javad Golzari

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  • Programme studied: Management and Strategy
  • Year of Graduation: 2013
  • LinkedIn profile

Meet our June Alum of the Month, Javad Golzari. He is the founder of First Step Consulting, a social business that provides clients with an array of professional services, while training young people in the process to greatly improve their career prospects.

Please tell us about your current job.

I am the Managing Director of First Step Consulting, an organisation I founded about five years ago to help young people break the all-too-familiar ‘no experience — no job’ cycle. We train ambitious university students and recent graduates to work with us on management consulting projects as volunteer consultants. They serve real clients under our guidance, gain first-hand work experience and acquire transferable skills.This opportunity has proven to enhance the employment prospects of our volunteers. All our projects are designed to fit around the time constraints of a full-time student. In essence, the projects we run serve as a means to upskill young people.

What made you pursue this type of start up? 

The Office for National Statistics reports that nearly half of recent UK graduates are working in low-skilled, non-graduate roles. This is partly because the majority of employers think that recent graduates are unprepared for work, citing a lack of experience and soft skills. The problem is young people in education are given few opportunities to get work experience, leaving millions of young people in a catch-22 situation.This is a worldwide problem and I personally experienced the difficulty of finding career-enhancing experience during my undergraduate years. My goal is to ensure that as many people as possible do not find themselves in the same position as I had been in.

What is the unique selling point of First Step Consulting and why did you feel it was a necessary addition to the marketplace?

Our company has developed a pioneering model of consulting that I believe to be the first of its kind.Working alongside university students and recent graduates, accomplished business advisors in our team draw upon their own experiences and expertise to formulate practical strategies for clients. In other words, we provide pragmatic, evidence-based advice with the added support of volunteer consultants to help our clients gain a new viewpoint on the hurdles they face.We push beyond the barriers of a traditional consulting firm by uniting industry-experienced professionals with resourceful volunteers. Having completed dozens of projects over the years, I can say that our clients have expressed a keen liking of this model.

What has been your proudest career moment to date? 

At the heart of our business model is my ambition to give young people the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and to build career skills valued by employers. Many of our volunteers are now working at leading organisations and they often tell us that our programme helped them secure these desirable jobs. I feel delighted when I see how much they have gained from the experience, whether it be new skills they have learnt, a fresh perspective on their career plans or simply an anecdote they used in a successful job interview. It is these moments that drive our team.It was also a proud moment when I noticed that we finally had a ‘proof of concept’ and many of our assumptions were validated. First Step Consulting is now a self-sustaining and scalable social venture with ambitious growth plans. We will soon publish more on this on our website.

How has studying at the Department of Management allowed you to make an impact on the greater good or to advance business in some way? 

My entrepreneurial journey has started at the Department of Management. The first time I had a chance to pitch my business idea was at a start-up competition organised by London School of Economics. Dr Jörn Rothe from the Department was one of my very first supporters back then. I was also incredibly fortunate to work on a number of consultancy projects at LSE Consulting and as part of a student-led consulting group. There was plenty to learn throughout the year and I met so many inspiring people during my studies. It really was a life-changing experience.