Our People

Napanari Charoensuk

Water Resources & Catchment Management Consultant
Charoensuk, Napanari BW

Napanari's Story

Can you give a brief overview of your internship (team & length)?
I did a summer internship (3 months) in the water resources and catchment management team, based in the London Office but hybrid working as I was still finishing my final year at university. I primarily worked on nutrient neutrality/BNG projects, providing GIS support.

How would you describe your overall experience doing your internship at Ricardo? 
I loved it, hence why I’ve continued in a permanent role after. It was a great opportunity for learning and gaining professional experience after graduating, particularly when you are a bit unsure of what to do with your degree after university. It was a great introduction into consultancy and the type of work and skills needed in my role/team, which aligned with my skill set, experience, and career aspirations.

How did your internship contribute to your personal and professional growth?
It enabled me to grow personally and professionally, simultaneously, very quickly. I was building on my skills and experience right when I started, communicating, and working closely with colleagues and clients on projects. There were many opportunities for me to learn, build and show confidence in my work and develop my skill set throughout. In addition to building on key skills such as communication, leadership, time management and team work.

Can you share any memorable experiences or projects you worked on during your internship?
The first project I was fully embedded in was a wetland feasibility project for nutrient neutrality, in which I provided support in the GIS methodology and analysis. I was able to utilise my skills and knowledge of GIS to aid decision making, while learning new skills and methods along the way. This is a memorable project because I was already familiar with the GIS method as I used a similar approach within my BSc studies and in my dissertation, however my team leader was able to help me adapt what I know to the aims of the project while also helping me learn new skills in data management, processing and analysis. The skills I developed in my internship, I now use daily in my work as an analyst.

Did you receive mentorship or guidance from experienced professionals during your internship?
I received so much support and guidance throughout my whole internship, from my team leader, my buddy and other colleagues in the office and within my team. I felt really comfortable asking for support and always received helpful advice and guidance.

How did your internship align with your career goals or aspirations?
My internship was my ‘make or break’ experience in terms of deciding if consultancy was a career path for me. I graduated university unsure of what to do with my geography degree and had lots of different career paths in mind but without any experience in the sector, I had no idea what to do. My internship helped me develop and think about my career aspirations and what my goals were whether it was in consultancy or not.

What was the company culture like during your internship? Did you feel supported and included?
Even though I was hybrid working throughout my internship, I always felt supported and included in my team. Being in the London office, I was also introduced to colleagues from different teams and office socials really encouraged me to feel included in the workplace. The company culture in the office was a key factor in helping me to feel welcome and included.

Were there any opportunities for networking or building connections within the industry during your internship?
There were opportunities for networking right when I started, the water team is quite a big team and immediately I got to communicate and work with everyone in different projects. There were also opportunities for networking beyond my team, within the office and the office socials which were a great way of building connections with other members of Ricardo who you may not get the opportunity to work with.

Were there any challenges you faced during your internship, and how did you overcome them?
One of the main challenges I faced at the start of my internship was confidence building and having imposter syndrome. I started the internship in the summer of my last year at university, before I had even graduated and felt like I was too young and inexperienced. However, I was able to build confidence really quickly as I was always made to feel like not knowing or not having experience but willingness to learn and try things was all part of the job. I always felt like I could ask for support or clarification without feeling embarrassed, and that there was always an opportunity for me to build confidence within the role.

How did the internship experience compare to your expectations before starting?
I really enjoyed my experience as an intern, I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was my first experience in the sector and in a consultancy, but it exceeded every expectation.

How has completing your internship influenced your career goals / aspirations? 
It has enabled me to focus on a career path that I enjoy and aim to grow in. It’s influenced me to think about my goals and aspirations in this role at Ricardo and how, what and where I want to develop my skills and experience in further.

What advice would you give to someone considering an internship with Ricardo or in a similar field?
Just go for it! Learn and experience as much as you can, there are no negatives in doing the internship. Even if there’s the chance you might not enjoy the sector or the job role, at least you will now know from personal experience and can build on developing a career path for yourself through the experiences and opportunities gained from the internship. It’s a great opportunity to work in a professional environment, to learn new skills and develop on previous ones, and to gain first-hand experience through learning on the job within an encouraging and supportive environment.