Investing in bright talent

Over the past five years we’ve made a big commitment to developing graduate talent. As our new set of graduates joins the ranks, we’ve asked last year’s intake to give us an insight into their first year at ABA – here’s what they said…

We saw them in reception; big folders on their laps, visitor passes around their necks, looking nervous and a bit awkward. These potential new ABA graduate starters made us, the 2015 generation, aware of how far we’d come in just a year. Through training courses, experience across the complete project life-cycle, exposure to various methodologies and, of course, the all-important social side, we have all grown so much in both skills and confidence.

Starting our careers fresh out of university, everything felt new and strange (what is a timesheet?!). But, with mentors and a host of induction sessions, we quickly got the hang of day-to-day office life. Interactive training enabled us to contribute to projects from day one – from supporting focus groups to writing our own reports. It has been the perfect balance of being thrown in the deep end and having a support team to help us back on board. We’ve always felt looked after – right down to the ‘naughty drawer’ full of snacks that keep us satisfied before and after our free, daily, catered lunch!

Every fieldwork day has been an adventure. We’ve been sent down the road or across the country (and sometimes even abroad!). We’ve been involved with everything from new product launches and store openings to helping run workshops with senior stakeholders. The people we’ve met have been as colourful as the post-it notes we use to organise our ideas, and the variety has meant it’s been impossible to get bored.

Throughout this time we’ve had our ABA family cheering us on. We’ve learnt just as much from our mistakes as from our successes; thanks to everyone’s support and patience. The company has kept growing alongside us – hiring new researchers, expanding the Leeds office and opening a brand new one in London. We’ve watched as previous generations of grads have been given promotions and taken the lead on major projects – opening our eyes to what might await us in future.


So here we are, one year on, getting ready to welcome this year’s grads. We hope they are ready for the social stories, life-long friendships and invaluable research skills – and the great experience only ABA can offer