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Stephanie Brown: MSc in Biomedical Engineering – National Grid

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What degree course did you study and when did you graduate

I came to Warwick for my Masters, completing an MSc in Biomedical Engineering a few years ago.

Why did you choose that particular degree course?

My undergraduate degree was in Physics, and I really enjoyed the medical side.

Biomedical Engineering provided the perfect mix of my interests. I had no idea what I wanted to do afterwards, but I knew it would keep doors open for me in a wide range of opportunities and provided a host of transferable skills.

Tell us about your employer

I currently work for National Grid in Investor Relations. It's a FTSE 100 company at the heart of the energy transition, owning and operating the high-voltage electric power transmission network serving Great Britain. We also own and operate some of the UK's energy distribution, as well as various transmission and distribution businesses in New York and New England, in both electricity and gas.

As well as this, we have the National Grid Partners business, that looks at tech investment, and National Grid Ventures, that owns and operates interconnectors to various European countries for the purpose of energy trading.

What was the position you were recruited for. Please briefly outline the position you were recruited to within your organisation and summarise the business needs and role you fulfil

I was hired as a Finance grad. Although I have no finance background, the company recognises transferable skills from a wide range of academic disciplines, and fully sponsors chartership on the job.

There are three rotational placements, all completely varied, that offer a wide range of experience as a finance professional in a large organisation. I currently sit in Investor Relations, where I work with a team of 8, looking at how we as a business communicate with the financial community, utilities market, governing bodies, investors and shareholders.

I specifically focus on the financial community, specifically sellside analysts who write research on companies which is then used by investors to make investment decisions. I also work on ESG communication, and also financial results.

What attracted you to this position?

I worked for Starbucks for several years during my degrees in a managerial position. The commerciality I enjoyed while working there, plus my interest in science and tech, just made sense for a role like this. It was also incredibly appealing to me to work in a company that 'does good', so National Grid's role in net zero and the projects I could get involved with were a huge selling point.

After your first placement, you're able to choose where you go next. I wanted a top level overview of the company, enterprise-level finance exposure, and wanted to hone in on my communication skills- investor relations was a perfect fit for me.

What are the key skills you learnt at Warwick that have helped you with your career to date?

There are a lot of 'soft skills', like networking and presenting that were incredibly useful, however I was surprised at the technical skills I could transfer across to a seemingly unrelated job. I found it a lot easier picking up financial software having a had a backing in engineering software!.

What has been your greatest career challenge to date and how did your experience and skills help overcome it?

It's always a challenge moving to an entirely new-to-you company in an entirely new discipline. I approached everything with an open mind, build a fantastic support network around the business, and just got stuck in.

What top tips would you give to students looking for a career in your market sector?

There is a common assumption that the energy sector is only for certain disciplines. In companies like National Grid, a diversity of experience and thought is extremely desirable. Don't pigeon-hole or discount yourself from roles you may assume to not be qualified for.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were applying for jobs?

You will get rejected a lot. It's normal to apply for countless grad roles and it can be absolutely exhausting. It's well worth the process.