Career Journeys: working in Technological Consulting
Rachel Miller studied Physiology and now works at technology consultancy Accenture. Here she shares what led her to this role and her tips for people also interested in working in the sector.
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences (Physiology)
|Year of Graduation
What path has your career taken since graduation?
After finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked at RBS (via Manpower) in the Data and Analytics department as a personal assistant and business analyst. This allowed me to learn about the basics of Data Warehousing, and use some SQL. I then went on to study an MSc in Bioinformatics, where I learnt a variety of programming languages and statistics. I continued to work part time at RBS during this time, and also applied to work at Accenture on their Analytics Graduate Scheme. Since joining Accenture, I have worked on a variety of data science projects across multiple different industries (financial services, communications and technology, public service, and products).
What experiences do you feel helped you get to your current position?
I think the most useful was my time at RBS, as this allowed me to build connections and learn about business context for data problems. This is closely followed by the computing and statistical skills I developed during my MSc. My undergraduate degree, while in a different area, taught me many transferable skills such as good scientific practice for running business experiments, reading scientific papers about new techniques, and explaining complex ideas to a range of audiences. I think the work experience, and other extra-curricular activities I took part in while at university also helped to fill my CV with extra skills I could talk about during the interview, as well as giving me a broader understanding of how the working world works – from being treasurer of a university society, to completing the Edinburgh Award for volunteering which taught me CV and presentation skills which were extremely valuable.
How have you used the skills and/or knowledge developed during your degree in your career?
I use the statistical programming experience daily, and it helped me develop the right type of mindset when approaching problems and how to solve them. The skills I gained in presentations are always helpful when explaining work to a client (who can be of a variety of levels – seniority and technicality) or even passing the knowledge I have gained on to other Accenture employees. Learning to write scientific reports means I find it much easier when documenting my work as I have good practice at explaining processes in a way that is easy to understand.
What advice would you give to students who are interested in your area of work?
Being able to talk to people at different levels and translate your knowledge in a way that they can understand is vital. Generally having practice presenting to an audience makes this so much easier as it’s not something that can be easily learned through reading. I think one of the key things is being able to translate your learning into real scenarios, so if someone gives you an example situation, how would you apply your knowledge to that situation. Accenture or other technology consulting firms are keen for you to have an interest in solving business problems, and using technology to do so, expressing this through experience is always the best so if you have any examples of times you used technology to solve problems this is always useful when applying.