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Empired and Intergen Graduates 2020

Kate Phillips
Kate Phillips

Practice Manager, Digital, Data & AI (Intergen Central & US)

Monday 16 March 2020

Empired and Intergen Graduates 2020

The first “proper” week of the new year at Empired and Intergen is always grad camp week - my favourite week of the year.

We’ve already come to know many of our new grads both virtually through their application videos plus in person during their assessment evening and interviews, so it’s always exciting to see them ready and raring to go on their first day.

Here is what Dan Smith, Practice Manager, Digital, Data & AI Western Australia / Head of Data and AI Empired had to say about the grad camp:

“What can I say about grad camp? It was a blast. Over and above what I thought it would be. Not only did it showcase the best of Empired and Intergen to the new grads, but it also highlighted the impressive mix of talents, skills and attitudes the new grads are bringing to us.

Even though the Auckland team got delayed by fog - remember guys, a delay outside the control of a project is a valid change request! - they hit the ground running day two.

The courage of those on the high scale rope course was out of this world. The solutions devised for the end of camp projects were outstanding (even if I feel my team was robbed). 10/10 would grad camp again!”

Now, meet the Empired and Intergen 2020 grads:

Ryan Sue

Bachelor of Creative Technology, Graduate Consultant in the Wellington office

Boot camp was a brilliant experience that I will never forget. It really encompassed the core values of Intergen through a variety of activities providing the opportunity to work collaboratively with other grads and learn about the seniors’ experiences.

There was a diversity of activities in addition to some group projects that we worked on, ranging from the thrilling high-ropes course to engaging in the latest applications.

The camp was an invaluable experience that enabled me to build some great relationships, utilise critical practical skills and establish a smooth transition into the Intergen family.

I am certainly looking forward to the future with Intergen while meeting more amazing people and working with a fantastic team. Everyone has been super genuine here, and I am grateful that they created this tremendous experience.

I would encourage anyone passionate and curious, to reach out as there could very well be a golden opportunity in front of you.

Bevan Shaw

Graduate Developer in the Digital, Data & AI team, Wellington office

The grad camp for the 2020 intake was a great team bonding experience. My only regret was that it wasn’t longer as Monday was the Wellington Anniversary holiday!

We immediately saw the value of “We Unite As One Team” applied by our camp leaders when “Fogmageddon” closed the airport forcing the return of incoming flights carrying grads from Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Activities were organised in each domestic office and workshops connected remotely until the flight chaos had resolved by Wednesday night.

It was fantastic to have the grads and Dan Smith (from the Perth office) who managed to avoid the drama by arriving the day before. They brought great humour and energy to the week despite the cultural differences in chip flavour packaging colours.

The activities were varied and challenging. Everyone was extremely encouraging and supportive, which quickly created a comfortable team environment. The team challenges allowed me to learn a lot about my fellow grads and how they solve problems, as well as learning a lot about my approach to problem-solving.

Personally, I learned how terrible I am as a mime during competitive charades and how to compensate for this by choosing difficult topics for the opposing team, e.g. object = pilon, movie = “Labyrinth”.

I learned that I could block out a 60 ft drop into dense scrub while traversing 80 metres upwards while holding onto only two wires. NOTE: For anyone visiting Adrenaline Forest, #4 course is the one that looks like a beginner level, but then halfway through disappears into the treetops for 30 mins!

Despite living in Wellington for over ten years, I had never been to Adrenaline Forest, Matiu/Somes Island or participated in a yoga session. Experiences of swaying in the trees, seeing multiple skinks basking alongside walking tracks and learning the value of stretching your armpits made grad camp 2020 unforgettable.

Walking into the office on Monday following grad camp, I found myself looking forward to catching up my peers and having a sense of connection to the broader company by already knowing people in other offices. I was surprised at the difference one week had made!

Empired and Intergen Graduates 2020

Kimberlene Sharma

I had the best time ever at grad camp this year. It was a fantastic experience of meeting new people and getting to know them, overcoming my fears and learning a lot about Empired and Intergen, and its values.

It is always intimidating when you have recently moved to a new city (significantly larger than the one you’re used to) and starting a new job at the same time. But everyone has been super warm and made me feel much at home.

The highlight for me was our experience at Adrenalin Forest. I was nervous when we found out that we would be going there, as I am afraid of heights. At the first flying fox, I spent ages contemplating if I should stop at that point or if I was going to be able to make it to the other tree.

My fellow grads behind me were so encouraging and motivating that I just couldn’t give up. They made me believe that I could do it. I ended up making it to level two (successfully making it through several flying foxes on the way) for which I was very proud of myself.

I also realised at that point how important it is to belong to a team that is united and extremely motivating. Grad camp gave me a sense of belonging to the Yellow Team!

Zoe Stewart

Bachelor of Computing & Mathematical Sciences (Hons), Digital, Data & AI team, Auckland

My five-word summary of grad camp would be: outdoors, challenges, friends, values and adventure.

What I enjoyed most about grad camp was meeting my fellow grads. It was nice to get to know them, and now I feel like I have friends across all the Empired and Intergen offices.

I also really enjoyed working with the other grads on team projects. I loved the ultimate challenge, which required us to create an art piece which reflected how we relate to Intergen’s values. It was fun to be creative, share ideas and go shopping together.

Some things I learnt from that challenge were to identify and make the most of each team members’ strengths and always to be prepared for changes in the plan – luckily for us we hadn’t blown our entire budget on craft supplies by the time we were asked to provide afternoon tea for our clients.

The hardest part of grad camp for me was when the grads from the other offices went home (I miss you all!), followed very closely by my terrifying journey across the lowest bridge at Adrenaline Forest.

Some things I’m excited about going forward with Intergen are getting to know my team, learning about what technologies we use and how we can best help our clients.

My suggestions to keep in mind for future grads and anyone looking for a job would be: don’t give up because you will get there, keep an open mind and mistakes are ok – they are just another form of learning. Don’t be afraid to showcase your strengths and passions.

Alex, Lumsden

Waikato University, Developer/consultant Digital, Data & AI team, Auckland

My five words describing my boot camp week would be fog, values, collaboration, passion and yellow.

Coming into grad camp, I held no set expectations, the schedule was very hush-hush, and I wanted to keep an open mind and take on whatever it was involved. Following a rocky start (explained further down) the grad camp kicked off - a jam-packed week of team challenges, meeting the other grads, late nights (working of course) and a wealth of knowledge to absorb.

The highlights of the week consisted of the entire product challenge and hearing the passion in how Intergen and Empired employees talk about their work.

The product challenge involved teams designing and implementing a solution for a client by rapidly prototyping their proposed solution using the Microsoft Power Platform. As we had all just met, having to collaborate, offer ideas, delegate and debate together was an awesome challenge. I imagined it was a taste of what life within Intergen may involve post-grad camp.

To conclude grad camp, each team presented their solutions to a panel of judges, seeing our late nights during the week come to fruition was a proud moment.

The biggest surprise of grad camp was the weather. The phenomenon was aptly named ‘Fogmageddon’. Fogmageddon was due to the un-forecasted Wellington sea fog causing our flight to turn around and land back in Auckland. To our horror, the next flight available wasn’t until 3 pm the following day! Thinking this was cancelling the start of our grad camp, it was a pleasant surprise to discover Intergen had a contingency plan in place and we were able to virtually join all the grad camp activities from the Auckland office.

Another surprise for me was just how significant company values are in day-to-day operations. My prior perception was that these ‘values’ were somewhat a marketing/HR gimmick without substance and slapped on just for show. My perception was swiftly altered, and It was inspiring to hear (and see) how each value is reflected upon within all aspects of work and with each carrying equal weight in the solutions delivered by Intergen.

The biggest takeaway from grad camp was learning how the company perceives clients, treating these as our partners and not merely a customer.

Coming directly out of tertiary educartion I am accustomed to not thinking about the larger picture from a business perspective. Grad camp opened my eyes to how aligning yourself with a client and understanding their key values and requirements leads to a successful partnership and helps ensure maximum value or impact is achieved.

Reflecting back on my experience as a student on the hunt for employment, the biggest tip I can conjure up would be to have an arsenal of business/company-specific questions ready and have the confidence to ask them. I witnessed many times when students (myself included) would be at a meet and greet, and after some quick small talk with a potential employer, awkward silence takes over. Aside from being awkward, I imagine it comes across to the prospective employer that you are disengaged or uninterested in the company itself. If you can show that you are keen and want to work at a company that’s the first foot in the door, after that your skills can do the talking!

Empired and Intergen Graduates 2020

Chris Chung

In five words, grad camp was: enjoyable, intense, challenging, exciting and united.

Grad camp was a great way to kick-off 2020! Working under pressure and learning a lot of information in a short time was challenging. Also meeting fellow grads from other offices gave us a good connection. Working with different team members for different challenges really encouraged me to look forward and stay connected with all of them.

I am not a big fan of heights, but I managed to complete four stages at the Adrenaline Forest. Thanks, Aaron for encouraging me!

The biggest lesson I learned was to have an open-minded and be prepared for everything because you won’t know your timetable!

Advice to students looking for a role at an IT field: keep training and learning, preparing for interviews, and showing that you are passionate to work for a company.

Chanell Jenkinson

Boot camp was a great experience. From flights being cancelled, to getting lost in the streets of Wellington, through to spending a solid week with people I had never met before, we were challenged and taken out of our comfort zone from day one.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I took my first steps into the Wellington office on day one, but I’m happy to say that I can’t think of a better way to start my journey at Intergen and to get to meet and bond with all the other grads from around the country.

Boot camp was mentally and physically challenging and taught me a lot about myself and the other grads. From learning all about the company’s values, through to seeing which grads were brave enough to conquer the high ropes course, boot camp was an experience I will remember.

The biggest lesson I learnt from boot camp was to ask for help when I need it. Everyone is willing to teach you what they know, and the best way to figure something out is not to struggle for hours – its to turn and ask the person next to you for a hand (whether they are a fellow grad, or member of the BLG team). I look forward to seeing where my time at Intergen will take me, and how I can grow my skills and learn some new ones along the way.

Empired and Intergen Graduates 2020

Patricia Liu

University of Auckland, BE(Hons) specialising in Mechatronics Engineering, Developer

If I were to describe grad boot camp in just five words, I would say “overcoming challenges, making new friends”.

The start of grad camp had a bit of a rocky start for us Auckland grads. Our early morning flight gave us some nice views of beautiful Wellington below us, before turning around and flying us back to Auckland. It seemed that despite our excitement to meet the other grads and get stuck into our week of activities, mother nature had some other plans.

Fortunately, the Intergen team wasn’t about to let this small mishap get in the way. We were whisked away in an Uber to the Auckland office and joined the other grads (that did make it to Wellington) via video call. Through the miracle of technology, we were still able to engage in the planned activities and discussions.

We finally made it to Wellington the next day. The afternoon traffic made it a slow journey from the airport to our accommodation, but luckily our shuttle driver entertained us with his plans to create a sugar-free ice cream and the book he was writing.

Despite the bumpy start, the rest of the week was filled with lots of fun and challenges. We were finally able to meet the other grads that we had only previously seen through video calls. We bonded quickly over late-night board games, drinks and snacks. We had some fun exploring Wellington while we ran around collecting materials to complete the Ultimate Challenge. We had a peaceful walk around Somes Island with its beautiful wildlife, and creepy abandoned quarantine buildings (that in my opinion are almost definitely haunted).

Even considering the unexpected challenges that we had faced; I still think the grad boot camp was a great experience and well worth the effort. It was really inspiring to see that the Intergen company values weren’t just pretty words that are taught on the first day and never referred to again, but they were actually core beliefs that can be found ingrained into every level, every task, and every person that works here.

My advice to students who are looking to enter the IT sector is to be picky with the company culture. Find a company that will surround you with supportive co-workers and inspiring mentors.

As one of my mentors have already taught me in my short time here, “IT is less about technology and more about people”.

Aaron Anderson

Otago University, Bachelor of Information Science, Graduate Consultant, Dunedin

Using only five words to describe my boot camp week: Intense, Hilarious, Rewarding, Connecting, and Challenging.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect of grad camp as I made my way up to Wellington from Dunedin. It turns out I also became a casualty of “Fogmageddon” along with the Auckland grads. But once I was finally in Wellington and got into the swing of things, I absolutely loved it.

My highlights included being able to meet and connect with my fellow graduates who were all as eager to get started as I was. I also loved being able to talk with everyone about their life experiences as well as projects they’re working on.

I was pleasantly surprised at how all the graduates started getting on with each other almost immediately. I thought it would at least take a little bit of time, but we really hit it off. I was also surprised by how applicable Intergen’s values are in various scenarios throughout the week and how they’re helpful when you are implementing a solution or interfacing with a client, for instance.

The biggest lesson I took from grad camp was the importance of telling a good story when presenting to a client. Coming from a development background, usually when I’m presenting it’s all about showing off what you have that works right now and hope that it makes the client happy. The great presentations I saw on the final day from my fellow grads showed their applications briefly but focused more on walking in the client’s shoes and the overall vision for the application. It has changed the way I think about making presentations.

I think my main tip to students looking to work in IT is to work on projects outside of your study area so that you can gain valuable experience. These don’t even necessarily have to be IT related at all, so long as it shows you’re growing and continuously learning. Having hobbies that encourage you to socialise with new people is a great practice for when you eventually find yourself having a conversation with a potential employer. Be prepared to give things a go and apply your learnings to your future.

Empired and Intergen Graduates 2020

Sophie Rossiter

University of Auckland, Bachelor of Commerce, Graduate Consultant, Auckland

My five words to describe my Boot camp experience are “Fogmageddon”, teamwork, enjoyable, friends and fun.

It was a great way to start off my career. It helped me understand the Intergen culture and how Intergen works behind the scenes.

I had no idea what to expect with boot camp as we had a packing list that covered almost every kind of activity and a completely unknown agenda. After a few logistical problems and a bit of shuffling of activities we were able to join boot camp with our very first countrywide Teams call. Through this, we learnt the importance Intergen places on their values and how they are used every day to influence how they operate.

Once we got down to Wellington, I loved getting to know all of the other grads and meeting others in the same position as myself but from entirely different walks of life. I enjoyed the product challenge and getting to use the Power Platform to create a proposed solution that could help solve some problems for our “client”. I also enjoyed the games night with previous grads and getting to hear about their experiences and all the different things that they have done with Intergen.

I am looking forward to working on projects and being able to make a positive impact.

For students looking for jobs in IT: find a place that fits with your values, show how passionate you are and that you are willing to keep learning and refining your skills. Also, make sure that you ask questions, so there aren’t awkward silences. By asking questions, you can learn more about the business, but it also makes you seem more engaged and interested, which is always a positive.

Conor Quin

My experience on the 2020 grad camp was one I will not forget. To summarise it in a few words it was: enjoyable, challenging, educational and all around an awesome experience.

I had a great time getting to know all my fellow grads from the other NZ offices and a couple from the Perth office. It was a week of unexpected happenings and great team bonding. With not knowing the itinerary until the activity started, you had to be prepared for anything, and that was half the fun!

We really got to know one another and build great relationships with one another in the short week that we spent together and I’m truly grateful for the experience.

I learnt a lot about working collaboratively, making sure that you stay focused on the bigger picture. Always remember what your overall project goals are, as you can quickly lose focus in the nitty-gritty detail, especially when you’re pushed for a deadline.

After the grad camp I was looking forward to starting my first week of work as the boot camp really showed me how amazing it is to work as a team member of the Yellow Team! Experiencing the culture and what it truly means to be an Intergenite, I left the boot camp with a positive outlook and excited to get to work and get my training underway!

Conor Hanavan

The Empired/Intergen grad camp was a fantastic experience - a perfect start to a career with Empired and Intergen. The boot camp was a great way to get to know grads from different offices and build some foundational support for all of us. There was a solid mix of technical, creative, and adventurous challenges to bring us outside our comfort zones and expand our horizons.  Bonding over what we had in common, as well as what made us unique, we each brought various skills and talents to the team. It was awesome to see how we could build each other up and grow!

Sign me up to help out next year!

If you would like to be part of our 2021 graduates intake, please let us know here.