Emma Gin made the career switch from Organic Chemistry researcher to Technology Consultant and hasn’t looked back since. Despite the differences in these fields, Emma draws on the problem solving skills she developed during her time in research to achieve the best client solutions.
In Emma’s current role as a Technology Consultant for global technology consulting firm Accenture, she works with clients in the Communications, Media and Technology sector. Emma develops change management strategies for businesses going through digital or technology changes. “Problem solving is the number one skills you can have as a consultant, and that goes hand-in-hand with having a research degree”, she says.
Emma’s colleagues at Accenture come from a diverse variety of backgrounds, and Emma believes this allows for a great input of ideas from people with different thought processes. “A lot of people in science go into consulting – it’s a logical jump,” she says.
Emma completed an Honours Degree in Chemistry, where her research project focused on the synthesis of a new molecular chip for biological and medicinal applications. Emma also started a PhD in natural product synthesis, but ultimately decided that research wasn’t the right field for her. “I had a really good time at university, both during my studies and in my extracurricular role as a laboratory demonstrator. I don’t have any regrets and it really helped develop my lateral thinking skills.”
Emma draws on the STEM skills she developed in science, from the communication skills needed to write her Honours thesis and journal articles, to data analysis skills, deriving meaningful insights from data obtained from experiments. “In any business, you need to quantify results and performance metrics with data analysis. Finding the best way to collate and visualise the data is also important.” Emma files communicating with clients and colleagues under “general life skills which are essential in any role. It’s almost like translating to another language for different audiences.”
Originally apprehensive about making the change from science to consulting, Emma now credits her career switch as the best decision she’s made. “Don’t feel like you’ve invested a lot of time in your studies or training for nothing. People change careers all the time, go for it!”
> > Bachelor of Science (Hons), (Organic Chemistry) & Diploma in Japanese Language, University of Canterbury
> > Summer Research Scholar, Chemistry, ANU
> > Researcher & Laboratory Demonstrator, ANU
> > Technology Consultant, Accenture
“Problem solving is the number one skill you can have as a consultant. It goes hand-in-hand with a research degree.”
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.