Bethany Hill: Biomedical Science - PwC
What degree course did you study and when did you graduate?
I studied Biomedical Science in the School of Life Sciences and I graduated in July 2020.
Why did you choose that particular degree course?
Did you have a specific career path in mind?
I chose Biomedical Science because I had really enjoyed studying biology at GCSE and A-level. At this stage it was purely my fascination for the subject and how it can be used in so many multidisciplinary settings, which cemented my love for it.
I never had a specific career path in mind when I started university. However, during my time at Warwick I attended many different careers talks, company ‘Insight’ events and internship opportunities. This was primarily to explore the different options available to me, and to identify which might potentially suit my interests and match my skillset post university.
Tell us about your employer
I work at PwC which is one of the largest professional services companies. They provide a range of services to clients, but I sit within their Management Consultancy practice. This is where we solve our clients’ largest and most complex problems, through a variety of approaches and channels.
Tell us about the position you were recruited for
My first real experience of PwC was through their ‘Women in Business’ scheme. This enabled me to spend time with a variety of people at the firm and to get a glimpse of the range of opportunities available. Following completion of the scheme, I secured a place on their Management Consultancy Graduate Programme.
On the Graduate Programme you can gain a breadth of experience by rotating around different sectors, areas, and capabilities within the firm. You are encouraged, and supported, to get involved with several client projects, whilst also spending time in more formal training and development. So far, I have been able to explore a number of different areas, such as: healthcare and social work; local government and policy; education; and human behavioural aspects of consulting.
What attracted you to this position?
I always knew that I was keen to incorporate biomedical science, policy development and education in my career in some way, and PwC has enabled me to explore these fields before I start to specialise. On top of that, I have also been able to experience other business areas which I had not previously considered. This is one of the real benefits of working in a larger organisation.
Another aspect which attracted me to PwC was the culture and its people. It has a strong focus on personal development, coaching and knowledge sharing; all of which are crucial when you are starting out on your career and trying to find your feet in the business world.
What are the key skills you learnt at Warwick that have helped you with your career to date?
Many of my technical and transferable skills were developed during my time at Warwick. In particular, my scientific degree, with its research and project work, helped equip me with the ability to synthesise large volumes of information, analyse data, create representative models, and present complex information. All of which are required as a management consultant!
However, there was one particular opportunity at Warwick that certainly helped shape my business insight and understanding. That was joining the School of Life Sciences Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC). I got involved with the SSLC in my first year as a student rep, then as Secretary in my second year, and lastly as Chair of the committee in my final year. This gave me the chance to develop and hone many business skills, including facilitation, report writing, managing forums, and organising / delivering events.
And although technical and business skills are really valuable, there are just as many soft skills needed in the workplace. Those that stand out for me include, commitment and dedication, time management, presentation skills, and an inquisitive nature which is so important!
What has been your greatest career challenge to date and how did your experience and skills help overcome it?
Although I am only in the second year of my career, I suppose the transition from university life to starting work always creates a degree of challenge. Not just in the way you find your day-to-day routine changes, but the different expectations placed on you. Getting involved with lots of extra-curricular activities at Warwick certainly gave me a real sense of time management and the importance of multi-tasking, but taking on responsibility for the SSLC helped ease me into my eventual role at PwC. So, I would say, get as much relevant experience as you can, preferably as closely aligned to whatever you are hoping to do in the future.
What top tips would you give to students looking for a career in your market sector?
For anyone looking for a career in Management Consultancy I would highly recommend researching your options, getting involved in as many insight events as possible, and asking lots of questions! Everyone’s journey within consultancy is different due to the wide range of work available. There is not just one single set of skills or past experiences you need to be successful, just bring with you an enthusiastic approach and a willingness for flexibility.
With over 200,000 clients spanning sectors, industries and markets, PwC could have a team and role that might be perfect. And even if not, then you as an individual can bring to the firm your own set of skills. So, it’s a win-win for you whatever your ambitions.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were applying for jobs?
This is a slightly tricky question to answer as consultants are always reflecting, adapting and improving – hence I have learnt a lot about the role, and what it is like working for a large organisation since I applied.
But what is important is that I have learnt to bring myself, my personality, my way of thinking and working, to my role at PwC, and across all the projects I have been a part of. PwC, for example, values individual perspectives, collaboration and new approaches, so show your passion throughout the application process. Provide a sense of who you are as a person, and demonstrate what you, and only you, would be able to bring to that role.
Do you have any additional advice or comments?
Starting your career involves change. A lot of change. Change in the physical settings that you are used to, change in the people around you. Change in what you do and how you do it. So, my advice would be to get ready for the change and enjoy the opportunities that come your way.