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.

 

 

 

 

Athena SWAN successes across the Health Faculties

This month three faculties: the Dental Institute, the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery have been conferred Athena SWAN Silver awards by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU). A further four Divisions in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine have been granted Bronze awards.

The Divisions: Cancer Studies, Genetics & Molecular Medicine, Health & Social Care Research, and the Randall Division of Cell & Molecular Biophysics join the five existing award holders in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine that received awards last April.

The awards recognise commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics) subjects.

The faculties who received Silver awards carry out a range of impactful activities that support gender equality for both staff and students. Some of the activities for postgraduate students and postdoctoral staff include:

In Nursing & Midwifery, male staff and student ambassadors are encouraged to participate in recruitment events and outreach activities. The Faculty has seen an increase in male students on PGT pre-registration programmes by 5% since 2010/11. Read the full Athena SWAN Silver application here.

At the IoPPN, the submission noted initiatives such as a PGR parenting network launched in 2014, and a post-doc network to help staff with making the transition to lecturer posts. Read the full Athena SWAN Silver application here.

In the Dental Institute, online promotion of work by women researchers through their Women in Science campaign, is used to celebrate success internally and to make the Dental Institute more attractive to female job applicants. Read the full Athena SWAN Silver application here.

To achieve Athena SWAN awards, applicants sign up to the Athena SWAN Charter and undertake a thorough self-assessment of their practices, and develop measurable action plans to further good practice and address areas for improvement within three years.

The ECU commented that: ‘It is the highest number of awards [across the country] presented to date, with the success rate increasing in this round’.

Throughout 2015 and 2016 Health departments across the university that do not currently hold an award, or which hold a Bronze award, will continue to work towards progressing to Silver status.