I’m Dr Adrian Clark and work for Tessella, I’m operations and project manager with the company. We are an analytics, technology and consulting organisation.
Fundamentally we solve complex problems for our clients across a wide range of sectors and over 50% of our staff have PhD’s, as many as 70% are educated to Masters level. So we very much value the contribution that Postgraduate study can bring to the commercial world.
Reasons that we recruit from Postgraduates is primarily three main areas, one is technical skills going through Postgraduate study you pick up numerous technical skills including from disciplines we recruit from things like programming languages and data analysis tools and things but also other things from other disciplines, but as well as those specific technical skills you also pick up the main knowledge which is absolutely key to helping us solve problems for our clients.
Some people say a PhD is so focussed that the information you learn there is not of relevance in the wider world, but actually that’s not true because you need to have a very broad knowledge of your subject area to solve those focussed problems and fundamentally if you immerse yourself in a subject area in a university department, a vibrant university department for several years doing a PhD, you pick up information, you pick up knowledge by going to lunch time talks and sharing knowledge with your peers which gives you that much broader knowledge base which is useful to us in helping our clients.
The second area that we are interested in is analytical skills, so we need to understand problems and we need to analyse those problems and find solutions to those problems and that is what postgraduate students do every single day. They are confronted with problems which they which potentially they are not known solutions known to them, the world over. No one else has done this before and so this is a skill they develop over time which we then make use of throughout the career.
Finally, the main area is communication, communications skills are so important in the modern world, they are fundamental and postgraduate study take that to the next level, you write reports, you write PhD thesis, hopefully you write peer review journal papers as well as going out and giving presentations to your colleagues and hopefully international conferences and that kind of foundation of skills is something that commercial employers will want to give you if you don’t have them, but if you have built that up before you join, it’s fantastic.
We primarily recruit for science and engineering, so all the sciences physics, chemistry, maths, biology, computer science and also engineering, but hopefully you know these postgraduate skills will see you in good stead regardless of which domain you go in to, which employer you join.