Name: Macarena Blanco
Degree and university: BSC Physics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
PhD Nanotechnology, University College London, UK
Work Title: Consultant at CHP Consulting.
What do you actually do? I am currently part of the development team on one of our projects. Typically, I would be working on the development of a software solution engineered to optimise the business processes employed by our clients. It is a well organised team effort. The work of each member of the team must fit in like the pieces of a complex puzzle. To be able to do this effectively, you have to be in constant communication with the other members of the team, make sure that you finish your work in time, and never lose sight of the bigger picture.
What attracted you to this sector? What attracted me most in IT consultancy is that it offers the opportunity to learn how the core dynamics of businesses really work, and it allows you to make an impact across a whole organisation and see the results of your work in a relatively short time.
How did you find out about your course? I looked for PhD positions in London related to my speciality in Physics, Electronic Devices and Control. The position I took was advertised by the London Centre for Nanotechnology in www.jobs.ac.uk.
Would you undertake further training to progress your carer? Yes, of course – there are plenty of training opportunities at work, both internally and externally. At the moment I use these opportunities to strengthen my technical abilities. Further ahead, I will look into courses which enable me to improve my managerial skills.
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides? The atmosphere at work is very good. It is a challenging environment – as soon as you feel comfortable with what you are doing, you are thrown into learning something new and you are expected to pick it up quickly. You are not on your own though – there is the right amount of support for you to succeed.
It is a consultancy job and most of the time you are expected to work at the client site and this might not always be in a glamorous location. However, working directly with the client gives you a much better understanding of what they really need, which is a great advantage and allows us to deliver a higher quality product.
What skills do you think you need to succeed? I think that having strong analytical skills was crucial but what really made the difference was having a very positive attitude and a natural tendency to persevere until a solution is found and a problem is solved.
What advice would you give other graduates coming into this sector? Firstly, look for a company that will invest in your growth and, secondly, use every opportunity to learn something new.