Case Studies: Consulting Careers

Three King’s alumni tell their stories about their different experiences in consulting.

Dr Fahd Choudhury, Deloitte

Fahd defines management consultants as ‘people who help a business implement a change’.  He moved from a PhD studying Alzheimer’s disease as he found that it wasn’t really bringing enough meaning: there wasn’t really a point where there was a yes/no answer.  After spending some time at Merck & Co, he moved to Deloitte where he spent six months in the life science consulting division before moving into banking.  Here he was worked in some of the most profile banking mergers of recent years and is able to say ‘I helped build TSB’!  He built the credit risk function, which took 2.5 years to do and cost over £1bn.  He also gets involved in look at the conduct of sales staff and how TSB brings on new customers.  He advises the company on how to defend itself or collaborate with technology affecting credit card providers.

Through the opportunities Deloitte gives to employees to do some pro-bono work, he has been able to get to know the CEO and Head of Research at the Alzheimer’s Society, thus giving and outlet to his science interest.

Dr Shirley Wong, Sociable Pharma

Shirley’s PhD is from the Dental Institute.  She took 18 months to move into the role that she wanted and she did some work for the Oxbridge Round Table to help her get some relevant experience.  She started off working for a small competitive intelligence company and then moved to be an analyst working for Sociable Pharma.  Here her work is not to change business structure, but to help them to be more competitive.

Work might include looking at the ‘landscape’ of particular therapy areas: what drugs are there, what are the regulatory checkpoints that competitors have reached, comparing the situation in the UK, EU and US.  She has been to two conferences since starting in June where she gets to talk to clients and key opinion formers.

She feels she’s learning all the time, particularly the jargon of the business and how better to do stakeholder engagement.

Dr Catie Rousset, Prescient Healthcare

Catie’s post-doc was in the medical imaging department at St Thomas’s.  She moved into Prescient about 18 months ago (you can read more about Catie’s journey here).  Prescient works in partnership with 16 of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical firms in three areas: new product planning, brand planning and mature brand planning.  They do this through stake holder research, workshop moderation and arranging conferences.

She feels it took about six months to understand what the job is and how to get the right information from people.  It’s different from academia in that there is a different kind of pressure: each client brings its own pressure.  You develop a broader knowledge rather than having a deep expertise.  You HAVE to work with people, rather than on your own!  You learn new skills, particularly in presentation and learning about new areas.  So far, it has not got boring, there are no labs to work in, and there is some travel!

Smaller companies may appreciate a speculative approach to them.  Language skills help (her company works 24/7 across Asia, Europe and the US), and there are roughtly 50/50 women/men.  She works more or fewer hours depending on the time of year.  Ad-hoc projects from clients increase as the financial year proceeds and at conference season days can be very long.  Otherwise, you can decide how much of yourself you want to invest in the role.





Meet with employers who want to employ PhDs/post-docs

PhDs and research staff often say to me ‘What are my options outside academia?’  One way to find out more is to attend one or more Career Spotlights.

By attending a Career Spotlight, you can

  • hear from PhDs who have moved into careers outside academia, now working in firms that are household names and less-well known
  • find out what different jobs actually are, what people do day to day
  • be clear on the differences between academic study or work, and what it’s like ‘outside’
  • find out how your advanced level research and other skills are valued in the workplace
  • challenge yourself to question a non-academic employer.

All events are free, don’t need booking, are informal and don’t require you to commit to that career forever.

First Career Spotlight: Management Consultancy

Weds 27th January, 5.30-6.30pm

FWB room 1.70

Confirmed speakers so far: Dr Fahd Choudhry and Dr Ignacio Quinones, both from Deloitte.


Deloitte employers over 14000 people in the UK, in tax, audit and consulting and Fahd and Ignacio both work within the consulting division.

Other speakers may be confirmed closer to the time – keep an eye on the blog.

See you there!


Arts & Humanities PhD Case Studies: Corporate World

This interview, and the others to follow over the next few weeks, are with the employers represented at the recent King’s College London Arts & Humanities PhD careers event. They have been written by PhD candidate Valeria Valotto, to whom we are very grateful!

From Ancient History to Energy and Resources Research Manager: The Corporate World

Dr Netti Farkas

Current position: Netti is Research Manager in Energy & Resources at Deloitte. She works in the Insight Team, the firm’s research unit.

Where did you start from?

I hold a PhD in Ancient History from King’s College London. My research topic was ‘Leadership among the Samnites and related Oscan-speaking peoples between the fifth and first centuries BC’. While a PhD student at King’s I had the chance to do some teaching. Upon submitting my PhD I knew academia was not the right place for me.

What was your first step outside academia? – Industry Research

My first move was to secure an internship in an industry research firm, New Carbon Finance.

How did you make it?

Thanks to my humanities background I was able to write about data comprehensively, and the PhD provided an excellent training in in-depth data analysis.

The second step – Auditing and ACA at Deloitte

This was my first non-academic job experience and while I really enjoyed it, I realised I wanted to deepen my financial skills. I applied as an audit trainee for Deloitte and was assigned to their St Albans office, where I stayed for two years.

How did you make it?

I think I managed to get through the selection process mainly thanks rather to my logic skills than to my (non-existent) maths.

I built good relationships with my line manager and the team leaders in St Albans, who understood my background (I was NOT their typical 21-year old audit trainee) and appreciated me enough to want to keep me in Deloitte.

The third turn – Research Manager at Deloitte

While I enjoyed studying for the professional qualification (ACA), I found the day-to-day job of auditing pension funds and local authorities (my office’s specialism) less inspiring and I also knew that I would look for a job in financial research after I qualified.

I had a conversation with one of the lead partners of the St Albans office about my concerns and she put me in touch with the head of the Insight team (my current boss). I had two interviews internally with members of the Insight team and moved from audit to my current role within a month.

How did you make it?

My skills complemented the team’s skills: there was no-one who could do balance sheet/cash flow analysis well (from my ACA background) and be able to write about it (from my humanities background).

PhD to Consulting Conference 2015

PtC Conference 2015September 18, 2015, Imperial College London

The PhD to Consulting (PtC) conference is a one day annual event targeted at doctoral and post-doctoral researchers interested in pursuing a career in consulting.

The PtC conference provides a platform for discussion and networking for PhD researchers and professionals from top consulting firms. The conference will focus on topics such as:

  • Exploring how receptive the UK consulting industry is to PhD students/graduates
  • Determining the scope for PhD recruits in consulting
  • Defining the consulting industry expectations of PhD students/graduates
  • Outlining the skills that PhD recruit should have for a career in consulting and how they may apply
  • Establishing any sector/industry specific demands for PhD students/graduates
  • Analysing typical recruitment and assessment procedures, including case interviews and competencies
  • Confirmed firms include: McKinsey, Strategy&, EY, Deloitte, Accenture …and more

If you are a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher and interested in participating in the conference, please visit their registration page for details:

Calling all KCL Arts & Humanities PhDs! This one’s for you….

Please sign up for our inaugural Arts & Humanities PhD Careers Event, 2-6pm, Wednesday 24th June.

The line up for the event is now confirmed and we are delighted to welcome so many KCL alumni back to talk to you about what you might do on completing your PhD.


2pm Welcome and An Academic Life, Dr Emily Butterworth, Senior Lecturer, KCL French Dept

2.30pm  The Oakleigh Report: Life post-PhD, Dr Sue Carver, Head of Research Careers, AHRC

3pm Researchers in Schools: a new route into teaching, Dr Bryn James, Researchers in Schools teacher

3.30pm Break (drinks sponsored by The Graduate School)

4-5.30pm Speed Meet.  You will have the opportunity to talk to PhDs working in a variety of fields, including:

  • Laura Speers,  Researcher developer at QMUL
  • Nina Saeidi, Charity fundraiser in a call centre, luxury retail assistant for an architect, music journalist and photographer
  • Georgios Regkoukos, Tour guide and tour director for EF Cultural Tour, Welfare Manager at a summer school, and GTA
  • Megan Murray-Pepper, Teacher North London Collegiate School
  • Pyi Phyo Kyaw, Postdoc at King’s
  • Netti Farkas, Deloitte
  • Victoria Tuke, Policy Advisor – Defence Strategy & Priorities, Civil Service
  • Andreas Stradis, Campaigns & Operational Strategy, Civil Service
  • Molly Rosenburg, Royal Society of Literature
  • Dom O’Mahony, Boston Consulting Group
  • Bryn James, Teacher, Researchers in Schools
  • Rosie Andrious, Teaches New Testament Greek at King’s College London and Chaplain for Imperial College Healthcare Trust

We look forward to seeing you there! Sign up to attend via the Eventbrite page now.

Please email with any queries.

All the slots for CV checking are now filled.