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CMCE Consulting Research Conference: The enduring impact of COVID on the training and development of young professionals

Many new starters since March have rarely seen their colleagues face to face or visited their offices. Casual contact has disappeared and with it the opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues and to form the social networks vital to performing well within the informal organisation.

The same applies to education and training: remote learning has much to commend it but cannot wholly substitute for face-to-face sessions.

COVID has created a burning platform to accelerate adoption of new ways of training and developing young professionals. Smart technology can help to bridge the gap. Virtual and augmented reality tools have been widely used in some industries for years; the current crisis will hasten their adoption and widen their application elsewhere. But previous experience shows all the usual barriers to introducing new technology stand in the way: reluctance; little capability; lack of finance; poor states of readiness. And technology may help but is not the whole answer.

This year’s CMCE Research Conference brought together five commentators with different perspectives that illuminate this important subject. Our focus was on management consultants, but the issues arising in their training and development now and in the future apply equally to all who are in the professions.

Jeremy Dalton leads PwC's VR/AR team, helping clients understand, quantify, and implement the benefits of virtual reality and augmented reality technology.

Steve Asher will be bringing his consulting experience across a large spectrum of industries and organisations to consider the challenge of developing professional skills in a variety of environments, countries and sectors.

Kelly Matos has recently gained an MSc in Management with a research project on productivity and work experience post Covid-19 in the consulting industry. She brings an immediate interest in this topic in her search for an internship or full-time consulting role.

Dr Christine Rivers is Co-Director for the Centre for Management Education and Director for Learning & Teaching at Surrey Business School, University of Surrey. She has extensive experience in consulting business schools and educational providers in the areas of blended learning/ hybrid education and staff development.

Dr Peter Chatterton is a chartered physicist and digital innovator in the UK Government’s digital modernisation programmes for universities, in programmes to enhance teaching, learning and assessment. He has been a prime mover in setting up industry/education partnerships and in developing student employability.

After input from our speakers there was a Q&A session. And as this is a large topic and we had only a short time, we will be convening a follow-up special interest group to continue the discussion.

You can obtain the full Proceedings of the Conference by clicking the link below.

CMCE Consulting Research Awards

We had a first-class list of nominations for this year’s CMCE Consulting Research Awards and announced the winners of this year’s Awards at the Conference.

Urwick Cup

During the Conference this year's winner of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants prestigious Urwick Cup was also announced.


Jeremy Dalton, Head of VR/AR, PwC

Steve Asher

Kelly Matos, MSc Management student at The Business School, City University of London, 2019-2020

Dr Christine Rivers, Co-Director for the Centre for Management Education and Director for Learning & Teaching, Surrey Business School, University of Surrey

Dr Peter Chatterton, Principal, Daedalus e-World