How I got hired by Alfa
Catriona Munro is a consultant at Alfa. She studied biochemistry at the University of Warwick and completed a PhD in molecular oncology at Imperial College London.
My employer recognises the need to keep everyone connected.
What made you choose consulting?
I was keen to find a role which would give me opportunities for travel and involve team work, rapid problem solving and client contact.
Did you do any work experience before starting full-time work?
As a PhD student I honed my project organisation, time management, leadership and of course analytical skills. I also undertook a six-month internship in technology transfer, which allowed me to experience a professional working environment, quite a contrast to academia.
What was the most challenging part of the application process?
The final interview round, which is designed to test your knowledge about the industry and what Alfa does, and our approach to problem solving. I had no technical background or experience of asset finance but it was okay because they don’t expect you to be an expert!
What is your role at the moment?
I am currently part of a two-person team working on client site four days a week. My role is probably a 60/40 split between software development and interacting with the client to identify areas where we can change the software to better fit their needs, improve the efficiency of their business or automate processes to streamline certain tasks. As a team we also provide support for any issues that arise relating to the asset finance software solution we provide. I am also responsible for releasing code changes to the client which involves liaising with multiple teams to ensure changes are smoothly introduced to the business.
What is your work/life balance like?
Occasionally I do work extra hours when there are approaching deadlines or software releases to the client system are required out of hours. My employer recognises the need to keep everyone connected – we have a company meeting every quarter where there are updates on the business and all projects. This is also a great excuse to do something fun all together, such as dragon boat racing or go-karting.
What are the most exciting parts of working in this area?
Seeing developments you have made to the software being used by the client is very satisfying.
What training and support have you received so far?
My employer is very used to taking on graduates from a wide range of backgrounds and has invested heavily in teaching the required skills. In the past 18 months, including the initial induction program, I have attended training in consultancy, Alfa software, multiple programing languages and two external courses on the asset finance industry.
What skills in particular do you think you’ve developed?
Working closely with the client I have definitely developed my communication and consulting skills. On the technical side, I didn’t know any software coding languages before I joined and I am now able to work across three different languages.