What is your current role and your main responsibilities?
I am a data analyst for a multinational freight forwarding company. I am responsible for producing a variety of reporting solutions, and maintaining databases to support those solutions.
Please summarise your overall career since graduation, but in particular, what was your first relevant role to the area in which you work now and how did you secure that position?
I've worked part time since I was 14, and throughout my time at university I worked in bars to support myself financially. After graduation, I started a PGCE Secondary Science, but I quickly realised I didn't enjoy teaching teenagers at all, and soon abandoned that idea.
Still eager, but now completely aimless, I enrolled with various recruitment agencies and took the first generic temporary office role that came my way. After a few months, I started a temporary analytical admin role for a multinational IT company, which lasted much longer than expected, and I soon became a senior member of the team involved with process development.
When that contract ended, I took another temporary specialist admin role, this time in customer services working for another large multinational.
Eventually, they offered to pay for a training course in Advanced Excel. Realising that I clearly enjoyed and excelled in analytical work, I started looking for similar roles and soon landed my first permanent job with my current employer.
I further developed my knowledge of Excel and VBA in that role, and was lucky to be head-hunted for a new role within the company that would make better use of my analytical skills. I was sent on a SQL training course, and have naturally progressed to using Access databases as my role has grown around me.
How has your qualification helped you in your career?
It has certainly opened doors higher up the career ladder. Any academic degree will open doors, but a chemistry degree looks particularly good on paper.
Having an MChem means employers tend to look beyond my unimpressive degree class! However, I still needed the years of work experience under my belt to earn myself a 'good job', not just on paper, but to demonstrate my aptitude for various roles.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Despite not choosing to leave any of my five prior jobs, I've only been unemployed for a total of 3 weeks in the last 10 years!
What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing a similar career route and what skills/experience do you consider to be necessary?
Graduate jobs are available, but they are often ultra-competitive, particularly at times of high unemployment when employers need to quickly narrow down hundreds of applications.
One cannot know exactly what any job will entail until one does it, so like me, many people realise they've chosen the wrong career after five or six years of study in that subject. You might feel pretty helpless. So unless you are absolutely certain about the career path you want for yourself, always look to take on transferable skills through any job.
What did you most enjoy about your time at Manchester?
Largest library outside London, a world famous reputation for its high standards of graduates, varied night life, increasingly affordable city centre living (it's not just 'halls' and 'student houses'), regular, affordable bus services running day and night along the linear campus corridor into the city centre, superb national transport links if you want to pop home or visit another city for the weekend (Manchester Airport is also very close by).