This October, we’ve held two events for researchers to explore careers outside academia. Focussing on the consulting and economics, finance, and quantitative analysis industries, we heard from speakers at Accenture, EY-Parthenon, JP Morgan, Deliveroo, and Deloitte, among others. In case you weren’t able to attend, here’s some of the key takeaways we learnt:
Consider your soft skills and achievements
If you’re interested in a role in consultancy or finance, you should consider the soft skills you can bring to that employer. Across the board, speakers mentioned key soft skills crucial to these industries: communication, stakeholder management, cultural sensitivity, professionalism, collaboration, and an ability to challenge and be challenged, and a willingness to learn.
When considering your achievements, one speaker recommended bringing in a friend to help you decide what’s important. They recommended, “Write all of your achievements on a piece of paper – tell a friend. What you think of as your most memorable achievement may not be. You see things from a certain prism, and what you think is outstanding for you may not be outstanding for someone else. Have a third party help you in that part of the recruitment process”.
Use networking to prepare for the interview
You are likely aware that networking can help you land an interview, but don’t count it out once you’ve reached that stage. Networking can also play a critical role in understanding a role and company. A website can tell you generic information, but speaking to someone in that sector, or better yet, at that employer, will give you a huge advantage. Demonstrating your knowledge of the opportunities and constraints of a role can make you stand out amongst a crowd. According to our speakers, in the consulting world, “A recruiter may see 10-20 people in 3 days, you need to stand out”.
Know what to expect
Roles within consultancy can be well-paid, but very busy. As one consultant put it, “It’s not work-life balance, it’s work-life integration.” Although it may be busy, the added “companies value developing you as an individual, as you cannot be a successful consultant without meeting new people and building new relationships”.
In the economics, finance and quantitative analysis world, the hours can vary. If you are client-facing or in a role impacted by financial market changes, you may be looking at ten hour days (or ore). In a background research or economist role, you could expect a more typical work pattern, but this will change depending on your employer.
You can find more workshops and employer-led events through the Autumn Term Researcher’s Careers Calendar.