Mia Baker

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Healthcare
Job title: Partnership Implementation & Project Manager
Subject of study: Mathematics
Year of graduation: 2016
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Prenetics

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After leaving Exeter, I spent just over 10 months working for an Employee Benefits firm, MAXIS GBN, a joint venture between AXA and MetLife. Here, my role was PMO (Project Management Officer). This involved managing the conversion of reinsurance treaties for over 127 countries, being involved in commercial agreements, and various other ad hoc duties. Whilst spending my time at this company, I built strong relationships with the leadership team, as well as my colleagues around me. Although it was not the job of my dreams, I learnt many key skills that I was able to take forward with me when joining my graduate scheme with Deloitte. So a year later, I joined Deloitte’s graduate scheme in London as a Technology Consultant. I decided (since my previous role), one of my main goals, was to try and make the most of the training provided, as well as creating my own network and making new friends for life. This meant I had to learn to say “Yes” to more or less everything. I didn’t want to miss up an opportunity and I wanted to make the most of my time during the induction. Being more introverted than extroverted, I knew this would be a more difficult challenge, however I didn’t want to regret not putting in my all in the early days. Whilst working as a consultant, I underwent an intensive training course, which was incredibly fun, as well as hard work. It wasn’t long until I had qualified with the BCS qualification (British Computing Society), and was working on various projects. My projects varied throughout the year. I worked on a large scale platform implementation in the digital authentication pod as a Business Analyst for a wealth management firm. Following this, I spent some time working on a Salesforce as an Underwriting platform solution for a Reinsurer based in Bermuda. Finally, my last project at the firm was for a global Insurer working as a Business Analyst on a digital web platform based in Paris (yes…I commuted to Paris every week for a number of months!). Besides work, I was able to make the most of the opportunities Deloitte provided, which included being a part of PeopleLikeMe (WISE Campaign), which focused on helping young girls take up STEM subjects which involved me going to schools and helping facilitate PeopleLikeMe sessions. I was also able to get involved with the innovation lab as well as attend various technology events with Deloitte Digital. During my time with Deloitte, I realised my true interest lied in new innovative technology, I wanted fast pace, and the opportunity to bring new ideas to the table and make it happen. I was extremely lucky to be approached through a recommendation by my old boss at Maxis to Prenetics, my current company (networks really are key!). Prenetics are a global leader in genetic testing and digital health solutions. I was employed in October 2018 as a Partnership Implementation and Project Manager. Joining a start up was probably one of the most exciting things I could have done. I have a whole wealth of responsibility, enabling me to truly make things happen and bring it to life. My role vastly differs on a day to day basis. What my role involves, is more or less similar to a Product Manager for B2B (Business to Business) white labelled solutions. What white labelled means, is that we take our digital genetic platform, and turn it into a platform in the style and design of our client, adding or removing different genetic testing categories, customer journey experiences and others in order to create truly personalised solutions. I have the opportunity to discuss with clients their business requirements, as well as continue the relationship with them to ultimately create the final solution. It goes without saying, with responsibility comes hard work, but the achievements and milestones you complete are truly worth it. As much I project manage, I also am able to get involved in many different parts of the business, as I am curious to learn and understand (and would suggest you ask as many questions as well wherever you are to explore the business, and understand it from various angles to obtain a real 360 view of the company). This means I can get really stuck in with the detail of the products (and I didn’t even study biology!), or perhaps I will be working with designers on creating something more visual, or even working with developers to build a new web page! I never knew this role would suit me so well, but I have seen my growth progress considerably, and I think the key to that is probably because I constantly ask myself – how can I make this happen? And then I make it happen. One of my most recent achievements, was the launch of a brand new genetic testing product for Bupa, called Bupa SmartDNA. I was really able to see my hard work come full circle, the complete E2E solution (and yes – I was a tester at some point too!). I am also working with a number other clients simultaneously, including one based in Indonesia. There I attended a launch event for their brand new product iSignature DNA, where I presented to their customers about the product (something I never thought I would have the courage to do..), as well as starring in a Panel discussion with a celebrity doctor and the CEO of the company. A truly impressive moment for myself, just over 2 years out of university! In addition to my work, I also feel it’s important to understand different ways in which you can give back to the community. I am continuing my involvement with the WISE Campaign, as well as making the most of my Deloitte Alumni network and events they hold. Additionally, I recommend making the most of the events held in London (if you are based there) to explore your career opportunities, or find out what you may, or may not like so you can land yourself a role in a firm that gives you meaning, and where you feel inspired or motivated on a daily basis. If I would offer any word of advice, it would be to say ‘Yes’ to more or less everything in your first couple of years. Capture any opportunity that comes your way, and only once you really start learning what makes you happy and you can truly say ‘this isn’t for me’, should you then learn to say ‘No’. Before then, keep saying ‘Yes’. The transition from University to the working world, is a life changing leap, but one that can bring real meaning and value to your life if you learn how to make it work for you. Everyone you meet is willing to help, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice along the way.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I believe this career chose me, as much as I chose it. From the get go, I knew that I wanted to be in new technology. Why? I thought it was the most interesting thing out there. I didn’t know how much I enjoyed product management until I started doing it. The main point I think to note, is that I am making my roles work for me. I am learning all I can in whatever I do, exploring other opportunities and things that interest me, taking the leap and adding it to my work load (without compromising my current work load), and proving to others, and most importantly myself, that I can do XYZ and that I like those type of tasks. You’ll quickly find, if you do a good job, people will be giving you more of those type of tasks in future, and you’ll start moulding your perfect role! What I love about my work is the variety. I would also say, I create the variety, because that’s what I like!! I love working with clients, and I love helping them create a product that fits their needs. I also enjoy getting my head down and focusing on a specific task in hand. I mean, of course, everyone has certain aspects of their work they don’t enjoy (yin and yang), but if the people around you inspire you, and you are creating work that is adding value and giving you a sense of meaning, then I think that is the real key.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

As much as I enjoyed my course (mainly the statistics modules – as they felt more applicable to real life scenarios), I actually enjoyed taking the opportunity to add some free choice modules into the mix. This meant I was able to take Mandarin in my second year, and 2 business modules in my 3rd year. I felt this would make me more rounded as a person, which I still believe is the case now! In addition, I particularly enjoyed taking part in the sporting societies. In my first year, I was in the 3rd team in Netball, competing in BUCs weekly (which was extremely fun!). In my 2nd year, I decided to join Cheerleading, where I went to Cheer nationals with my stunt team (again, amazing experience!). I also got involved in RAG (Raise and Give) society, where I individually raised £3,000+ for Worldwide Cancer Research, trekking over 82 miles to Machu Picchu in Peru. As much as you join uni for the course, don’t forget that exploring your wider curricular activities are just as important, especially focusing on those things that matter to you.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose to study at Exeter because it was campus based, and they excelled in their sporting achievements. What this means, is that I was able to continue to compete in my favourite sports at a high level. I also decided to join Exeter because of it’s relationship with various large firms, where I was able to make the most of the events held, and would be a desired candidate as Exeter is a member of the Russell group.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

In terms of the skills and experiences at Exeter, I think learning to juggle multiple opportunities at once is really key. What this means, is join those extra societies! Because once you leave, it will give you the motivation to continue giving back to society.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Probably one of the most key pieces of advice I would provide, is talk to as many people about their career as you can. This doesn’t mean you are approaching them to join their company, take their role etc. What this means, is engaging in truly valuable conversations to ultimately understand what their role involves, what they do on a day to day, understand whether it sounds like something you would be interested in and build your network. If you come out with an offer for an interview – that’s a bonus! But never go in to those discussions with that in mind – go into those meetings with the idea of coming out understanding someone’s story and making your own decision as to whether this is something you would like to pursue.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for future, are to grow as a leader and add value back to my community. I believe it is in my uttermost interest to encourage as many women to embrace STEM subjects, as well as give women the courage to stand up, and showcase their true abilities. Women need more courage and confidence in their skills and abilities, and I want it to be my mission to truly transform the way they perceive themselves so they can achieve great things – no matter what that may be.

 

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