Healthcare and Life Sciences Consultant – Product Owner

IBM Consulting

Journey to the centre of consulting:

Rewind back to July 2018. I’d just finished up with 1st year university and I thought – what do I really want to do with my Biotechnology degree? Even though I came from a science background, I knew that my future lay beyond labs – so I set up my LinkedIn profile with the hope of expanding my horizons. Fast forward eight months to a casual LinkedIn scroll when I see a recruitment post from the tech giant IBM. One application, three online tests and four interviews later – I joined the company on their placement scheme. After an incredible year as an operations analyst (through the pandemic), I applied and successfully joined back on the consulting associate programme. So here I am today 4+ years later, as a healthcare and life science consultant.

If you told me back in 2018 that I, a student growing up in Manchester, would wake up and go to work with a view of the London Eye outside my window – I wouldn’t have believed you. In my day job, I’m currently working on delivering projects for Nationwide Building Society as a product owner. We focus on staying at the forefront of innovation, as we work to implement Generative AI into the bank off the back of the Chat GPT wave of the past few years. I get the opportunity to work closely with my clients, senior stakeholders, my team in the UK and all the way in India.

What’s the scope of the consulting life?

On a typical day, I’ll catch up with my teams every morning to check in on progress and highlight any issues that may impact our delivery. I scope and break down the work with the client stakeholder, and then feedback our priorities to the development team as we progress towards our delivery milestones. What surprised me most about the consulting roles I’ve had, is the responsibility you’re given from an early stage – if you’re willing to put in the time to develop yourself. I get to lead the team my way, working to foster a safe and inclusive environment where everyone is motivated to deliver our projects successfully.

I’d call out that my pathway into consulting has required me to push myself out of my comfort zone to build my confidence, especially in leading teams. Don’t get me wrong, imposter syndrome is very real, but with the help of incredible mentors/teams, you get the opportunity to beat it and become confident in your abilities.

Beyond my projects, one of the things I enjoy the most about being a consultant is the scope of what you can get involved in. I’ve been able to undertake a variety of roles in different sectors to build up a credible amount of experience. One area I spend my spare time in the week focusing on is channelling my passion for Diversity and Inclusion to champion change in IBM. I work with my teams to improve prayer/reflection spaces, run allyship workshops/events and lead our Media team to produce quality video content promoting the trailblazers of IBM’s D&I groups. If time permits after work, I do try to factor in film shoots for my videography business or the occasional crazy activity like a bungee jump/skydive for charity.

Overall, I’ve loved my consulting career progression so far. My advice to anyone interested in consulting is to dive in and try different roles to help govern the path you want to take whilst in your early years. Now’s the time to try out new things and see what you really enjoy. Always remember that your career is YOUR STORY! It may start with something small like setting up your LinkedIn profile, but regard every step as experience to learn from as you grow on your journey into becoming a successful consultant.