jessica melville

jessica melville
MEET Michael McConnell

Data Services Consultant

(former Data Services Graduate)

Team Data Services

Segment Human Capital & Benefits

Location Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Program Graduate program 2016

University University of Virginia and McIntire School of Commerce

How did you come across our Graduate program offering?

In 2015 I was in my final year of university and decided to apply to companies where I could see myself working and building a career. I was drawn immediately to Willis Towers Watson for its breadth of career opportunities and business portfolio. That paired with the organization’s inspiring values made me feel from early-on that Willis Towers Watson would be a great place to work and begin building a career. I joined Willis Towers Watson’s Graduate program in 2016 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which concluded two years later.

Tell us a bit about your key responsibilities when you were a graduate

Upon joining the company, I began working in the Data Services team. My responsibilities included growing our annual surveys by managing a list of United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia-based existing and potential clients, supporting clients with salary benchmarking and contributing where needed on proposals and projects.

What were some key things that you learnt during your Graduate program?

The Graduate program was an excellent learning experience for me – I hadn’t written a proposal, made an outbound call or managed a client relationship before joining Willis Towers Watson. By the end of the two year program, I had strong client relationships, acquired new clients and gained greater confidence as a Consultant. This combined with the great client diversity in the Middle East, the different types of sectors, industry sizes and geography has made my experience very enriching.

Do you recall your best memory? Tell us about it!

It’s hard to choose a best memory since I have many. If I had to name one, I would say it was my first CEO presentation with my Line Manager, Laurent Leclère. The two of us were working on a project for a major oil and gas company in Saudi Arabia and were invited to present our findings to the Board of Directors. As a new colleague, I was grateful for the trust I was given and the unique opportunity to participate in a senior client presentation. I hadn’t heard of many people at my experience level to be given that opportunity at other companies. This is part of what I love about working at Wills Towers Watson – we are truly empowered as colleagues.

What did you like the most about our culture and values?

While I could emphasize the values themselves, which are certainly inspiring in their own right and help make us a successful company, the actual implementation and living of these values day-to-day is what I like most. After having worked with colleagues from across the world, I realized that every single one of them truly lives up to our values. It’s one thing to have values as part of your brand, but it’s another thing to put them in practice, which is the most impressive in my view.

Which other position(s) have you filled since you finished your Graduate program and where? Did you ever imagine you would fill these positions when you were a graduate?

I’ve only been a Data Services Consultant, but I have been able to work on a variety of projects that have given me exposure to other work in Rewards and even some Talent projects. I expected to work in Data Services, of course, but I didn’t expect I’d have the exposure to the other lines of business as I’ve had.

How did being a graduate help you prepare for your current position at Willis Towers Watson?

Certainly as a Data Services Consultant my graduate years on the team were indispensable for me to better understand the position and to be more successful. That early exposure also made the job more fun as I’m more comfortable and confident in the role now.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or who was integral to your experience?

There’s many people I could thank, but the key people who have helped me are Dr. Ahmad Waarie, Roman Weidlich, Tom O’Byrne, Lea Farhat, and Eungchang Lee. I also owe a special thanks to my Line Manager, Laurent Leclère, who has taught me a lot about data services, client relationship building and how to be successful in the Data Services team. They say good line managers are key to an enjoyable and successful career and Laurent has certainly been that for me.

What advice would you give to someone who’s eager to apply to a Willis Towers Watson Internship program?

Simply put – I’d say definitely apply. Whether unsure of your desired career path or about which company you’d like to work for, I can only say Willis Towers Watson is a great place to begin your career. The skills you learn, the network of talented, authentic colleagues and the opportunities are all excellent. Working for a global company allowed me to experience countless learning opportunities – such as my own story of coming from the United States and working in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Learn more about our early careers programs here.