Degree/university: MChem in Chemistry and French from Heriot-Watt University and a PhD from the University of Basle in Organometallic chemistry
Year of graduation: 2003 (completed PhD in 2007)
Occupation: Graduate scientist with ICI Paints
What do you do in your job?
I am working in the gloss laboratory, working on the reformulation of gloss paints. Because of the confidential nature of the work I can’t go into too much detail. Basically a typical day could vary – I will formulate on the computer and come up with ideas on how to improve paint, which could take a while. Then I actually make the paints, then do tests.
What was your motivation in applying?
I wanted a job that would be challenging. Having done a PhD I did a lot of research, but what was lacking was seeing why the research is useful. Here I am making something that is useful. I was also motivated by the information I had about the graduate scheme at ICI – they always push you forward to help you move up the ladder and become a manager.
What did the application process involve?
For me it was slightly different. I applied for a different job at the start. The person who interviewed me suggested I reapply for the graduate scheme. So I filled in an application form. Normally you would then have a telephone interview then one face-to-face. But because I had already had a face-to-face interview I was invited directly to the assessment centre.
What do you enjoy about your job?
It is hard to say as I have only been in the job a couple of months. I like making paint and it will be exciting to see it in production and then on the shelf. That’s what I like about science – you never know if it’s going to work and that’s what’s exciting. I am getting the challenge that I wanted and I am doing pretty much what I expected.
Most challenging part of your job?
For me, on the graduate scheme, it’s the fact that when you start the job you are thrown in at the deep end. It is not as tough coming from a PhD as it would have been from a degree. With a PhD you are expected to manage your own project. But here it is completely different chemistry from what I was doing before.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
It is not essential to do a PhD, but if you like research it’s a good start. A PhD is good for presentation skills and time management, but you’ve got to really want to do it. Another thing that helped me was being the president of the Swiss Young Chemist Association.