Management Consultancy: some insights from our Spotlight Jan 2014

Below are some notes from my careers colleague Dr Sophia Donaldson, who kindly hosted last week’s Spotlight on Management Consultancy.

Both speakers were from Deloitte: Nacho Quinones did his Biochem BSc at Imperial, and a Met Police sponsored PhD in forensic science at King’s. Liked science, but his PhD had focused on improving protocols to make processes more cost-efficient. Consulting offered him more opportunities to do this, as well as (compared with avenues like accounting) a way of really seeing how different businesses function, what works and what doesn’t. He has worked largely with life sciences clients so far, and likes still being involved with science.

Fahd Choudhry did a Pharma BSc, 3yrs in Pharma industry, then King’s PhD in Alzheimer’s research. Went on the City Course and chose consulting as a result. Expected to be used in Pharma consulting; had a few life sciences projects, but has specialised now in the banking sector.

Consulting is “Supporting clients make a change”. Examples of consultant projects that have made headlines: “Roche faces probe over safety data”, “London congestion charge: 15% price increase proposed”, “GSK decides to divest Lucozade and Ribena”. Teams of consultants are brought in to assess the current situation, identify issues, and devise and implement solutions.

Project work. Each project could mean a new team and a new location. The type of project and client dictates the hours. 8.45am-6.45pm is quite normal, but on tough projects or when deadlines are looming, the hours can be MUCH longer than this. Monday to Thursday you are usually expected to be in the client’s office. Nacho has had projects in Paris and Middleborough, and has travelled to Basel a bit recently. Fahd is usually in London for banking clients.

At first you’re just given projects. At the end of each project you get feedback on your performance from peers and managers. As you build relationships with people, you start to be offered projects by people who like working with you, and are better able to pick available projects that interest you.

Skills required: Problem-solving skills, intelligence, strong interpersonal skills, energy and enthusiasm, desire to make an impact, good academic record (regardless of subject), leadership skills, vision, flexibility to respond to the unexpected.

Application process: lengthy and competitive, with psychometric tests and multiple interviews. Fahd and Nacho recommend using the careers service – they both did!

Deloitte: Fahd and Nacho say Deloitte differs from some other consultancies because they see projects through from conception to completion. That’s why Nacho chose Deloitte; he wanted to implement the solutions he was suggesting. Deloitte offers all the professional services, and it’s quite easy to transfer between departments once you’re in. Deloitte is global, and again, once in and qualified, it’s pretty easy to transfer between country offices, on secondments or permanently (although of course, you have to be good enough for the new office to want you!).

PhDs apply to the regular graduate entry level (~£33,000 per annum salary). Might seem annoying, but when Fahd started he was 30 and expected to be much better than 21-year-old new grads. He was shocked at how great they were – age doesn’t matter. Nacho was very happy to go in at new grad level; although he was an expert in his field of science, he knew next to nothing about business.

Want to find out more about Deloitte?  They’re on campus soon: 

Appointment with…Deloitte 13/02/2014 11:00:00 – Careers & Employability Centre Macadam Building
Location: – Careers & Employability Centre Macadam Building

An opportunity to speak, one-on-one, with a member of the Student recruitment team, discussing the opportunities available, applications forms, hints and tips for interviews and answer any questions in relation to Deloitte and graduate selection processes you may have.

To book a 20 minute appointment, please email

Looking for career inspiration? Come and hear these stories

Early Career Researchers

Meet employers. Broaden your ideas. Be inspired.

For all PhDs, Post-Docs and other early career researchers looking for career insight.

Not a presentation, just life stories.

(No need to sign up, please just turn up!)

Programme Overview
 Date Time Room Session
Weds 22nd Jan 2014 5 -6pm FWB 1.70 Career Spotlight: Policy/Think Tank Research with Ann-Marie Brouder from Forum for the Future and Susan Steed from New Economics
Weds 29th Jan 2014 5 -6pm FWB 1.70 Career Spotlight: Management Consultancy with Fahd Choudry and Nacho Quinones from Deloitte
Weds 5th Feb 2014 5 -6pm  FWB 1.70 Career Spotlight: Patent Attorney with Claire Borton from Marks & Clerk and Rob Andrews from Mewburn Ellis
Weds 12th Feb 2014  5 -6pm  FWB 1.70 Career Spotlight: Medical Writer/ Science Communications/Science Publishing with Julia Coleman from Synergy and Pauline Starley from Portland Press
Weds 19th Feb 2014 5 -6pm FWB 1.70 Career Spotlight: Research – Social or Market with Emma Broom from Sociable Data and Jane Colechin from The Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion
Weds 26th Feb 2014 5 -6pm FWB 1.70 Career Spotlight: Life Science Consulting with Muneer Ahmad from Lifescience Dynamics and representatives from Ernst & Young
Weds 5th March 2014 5 -6pm FWB 1.70 Career Spotlight: Turning your PhD into a Business (hosts TBC)

Leadership in science opportunity – good experience with industry

The Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable ( is currently recruiting for several leadership positions in its London team. OBR¹s mission is to foster an on-campus conversation about the healthcare and life sciences industry: We connect academics from across disciplines with each other and supply them with the industry resources and experience to move ideas forward. Since launching 2 years ago, we¹ve expanded to 8 chapters on 3 continents and 15,000 members.

Being part of the leadership team would allow you to work with blue-chip companies like GSK, Roche, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson and help organise events such as our annual £100k business plan competition. We are currently recruiting for the following positions:

Chapter president: Oversees all of OBR¹s activities within London. A high-profile role perfect for a candidate looking to hone their leadership skills and dramatically expand their network in the industry.

Events lead: Responsible for planning and executing high-profile seminars, debates and networking events.

Outreach & marketing lead: In charge of OBR¹s outward presence, via our website, social media, and email communication

Consulting project manager: Leading 8-10 week strategy consulting projects for mainly biotech and pharma clients.

You can find out more about each of these here:

All roles are available immediately and will require a 10h/week commitment through Sept 2014. No prior experience is necessary.

Please apply by the 20th of January to


PhD 2 Consulting event

Notice has come round of this year’s event:

‘The PhD to Consulting group provides expert career advice and networking opportunities to current PhD and post-docs pursuing a career in management consulting. A highlight of our activities is the PhDtoConsulting conference, which gives delegates the unique opportunity to gain direct networking access to leading consulting companies and colleagues and provide a platform for discussion to PhD students/graduates and representatives from consulting firms.

We are delighted to invite you to the forthcoming PhDtoConsulting 2013 Conference, which takes place on the 27th of September at University College London, United Kingdom. This year’s conference will focus on:

  • Explore how receptive the UK consulting industry is to PhD students/graduates.
  • Sector/industry specific demands for PhD students/graduates.
  • What the consulting industry expects from PhD students/graduates.
  • Key skills a PhD recruit should have (quantitative, qualitative, etc)
  • Recruitment and assessment procedures including an opportunity to practice solving a case study.

Applications to the PhD to Consulting conference are competitive. Please go to our website for more details:

We look forward to welcome you to the PhD to Consulting Conference 2013!

Best regards,

PhD to Consulting Committee.



Panel event for SSPP PhDs this Friday, 11-12.30pm

Hello SSPP people!


Final speaker for the panel on Friday confirmed, so the full list looks like this:

Amir Smailbegovic, RBS

Having obtained Masters degree in Immunology and a PhD in Pharmacology (Effects of glycosaminoglycans on inflammatory cell function) at the Sackler Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology, King’s College London under Prof Clive Page, I started working as a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellow at the School of Pharmacy, University of London. Although my education was science oriented, my other interests were international affairs and finance, something I developed while working for the World Bank in New York during my Gap year. Upon finishing postdoctoral fellowship, I joined Mitsubishi UFJ, largest Japanese bank as a derivatives trader, where I spent 6 years. In 2010, I moved to Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong tasked with setting up a new derivatives trading desk, however, decided to move back to London a year later. I joined Royal Bank of Scotland’s investment banking arm in 2011 as Senior Business Manger within Global Trading.

Tom Huskinson, IPSOS Mori

Tom was awarded a PhD in Social Psychology by Cardiff University in 2004.  His PhD  was concerned with the psychology of attitudes: Tom researched the extent to which individuals differ in their tendency to base their attitudes on factual versus emotional information, whether these differences can be measured, and how these differences relate to aspects of attitudes such as attitude strength and susceptibility to persuasion. 

Tom joined Ipsos MORI (then MORI) after completing his PhD, and since then has managed surveys and research projects for a wide variety of clients, including the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Education, Victim Support, and the government of Trinidad and Tobago.  Tom currently works in Ipsos MORI’s ‘Research Method’s Centre,’ which serves as the company’s internal hub of expertise in survey design, research methodology, and statistics.  The RMC applies the latest developments from academia to Ipsos MORI’s work, generates primary methodological research for dissemination in journals and conferences, and offers training and support internally and to clients on research methods.

Sara Fazlali, Secret Me Ltd

Sara Fazlali is the co-Founder and CEO of Secret Me Ltd, a high-end luxury invitation-only programme where individuals learn key personal protection skills that are then also applicable to real life and business from ex-Special Forces and Intelligence personnel. She is also the Founder and Director of Areté Club, a private members club that brings together different generations from the worlds of politics, military, business, law and the arts and hosts small intimate events to discuss and develop on today’s pressing issues. It brings people together to make valuable introductions and connections and fixes or brokers business problems around the world for Club members and contacts. She is currently still studying for her PhD at King’s in War Studies. 

Chris Mackmurdo, Foreign Office

Chris Mackmurdo is Head of the National Security Research Group at the Foreign Office. He leads a team of expert Research Analysts responsible for providing strategic analysis and advice on national security issues, such as international terrorism. Prior to joining the Diplomatic Service, he completed a PhD in international relations at the London School of Economics and was awarded an MA (IPS) and BA (War Studies) from King’s College London.  

Jamies Gillies, Bain

I joined Bain just over 2 years ago as an Associate Consultant, after finishing my doctorate in which I looked at how eagles control themselves in flight. Since joining Bain I have worked on 13 different projects, which have ranged from helping an Airline alliance to assess whether its financial model was sustainable, to running a survey of 5000 women in 5 countries to understand what they wanted in a pair of hair straighteners.

11-12.30, Friday 24th May, War Studies Meeting Room.

See you there!