Gaining skills to make a difference

Emily Gowers, Analyst, UK


University of Oxford

BA (Hons), Neuroscience

After graduating from a degree in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, moving into the world of strategy consulting seemed an unusual step. Although my degree had given me strong analytical and problem-solving skills, I was daunted by the prospect of meeting clients with my lack of business experience. Since I joined Eden McCallum in 2018, it has been a huge learning curve. From the initial 3-week Induction to regular training sessions to talks by external speakers, I have been equipped with vital skills for my project work and I’ve enjoyed seeing the impact that my teams have been able to achieve.

One highlight has been an all-day workshop on public speaking delivered by an external trainer. Although embarrassing at first to see yourself recorded on video camera, learning tips and tricks during this session proved useful when I was later delivering a final presentation to a group of Investment Directors at Eden McCallum’s NGO partner, Impetus. I was also lucky enough to be invited to a talk on “How to Own the Room”, designed to empower women to make their own opportunities to speak in public. Inspired by this, I volunteered to deliver workshops at both Oxford and Cambridge universities as part of our recruitment drive.

During our analyst training, we also covered how to conduct a good client interview, including everything from writing a good interview guide to dealing with hostile interviewees. This was put to good use when I joined a project for a global education provider. Our team travelled to multiple education centres in the UK and we interviewed numerous people to uncover what daily activities they were doing that were painfully time-wasting. It was great to take their concerns in a structured form to senior leadership and help formulate an initial plan about how to reduce workload for these stressed teachers and administrative staff.

In the last year, I’ve also received training sessions on finance and accounting, strategy and operational frameworks and quantitative skills in Excel and Tableau to name just a few. It’s great to know I’m investing in skills that will make a difference, deliver real value to clients and contribute to my career development.

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