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Janine on technology consulting and the brilliance of Oxford’s Careers Service

Published on
10 Apr 2015
Written by
Private: Tim Davies

Janine Braithwaite arrived at the OII in October 2011, having completed a BSc in Economics at the University of Essex, and left a year later as a Graduate Technology Consultant for Capgemini UK. Janine caught up with Tim Davies to discuss her new role.

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Tim: What first attracted you to the OII?

Janine: During my undergraduate degree, as part of an external module in Government and Politics, I wrote a final year dissertation exploring the relationship between the level of democracy in a nation and the internet penetration level. I used latent curve modelling to investigate the relationship for over 100 nations over a 10 year period. It was an extremely interesting dissertation to research and write. But it was a research area which no-one in my department at Essex had experience of, and, therefore, I reached a stopping point in my learning once library research was exhausted. In contrast, the OII’s MSc course offered the ideal opportunity to expand my knowledge base, and gain an in depth understanding of internet research within the social sciences. My thesis focused on internet censorship within the UK (tracking the trend in UK citizen’s views towards censorship, in comparison to trends in the level of actual censorship of the UK cyberspace). Additionally, in the second term, I submitted coursework for the optional modules, exploring price determinates of used clothing on eBay auctions.

Tim: Where has life taken you since leaving the OII?

Janine: I started a Graduate Technology Consulting role in Capgemini UK. My role is essentially a Finance SAP Consultant, meaning that I work as part of a team to implement SAP within large businesses. As a consultant I work from the design phases, through to testing the system, and then to the stage of rolling it out across the business. Average projects take 1 year to complete from start to finish. Currently I am working on a project for Rolls Royce in Derby. As I do not have extensive experience in SAP my role currently involves mainly training, both formally (through training courses) and informally (through shadowing whilst on the client site). Day-to-day, I mostly use more “soft skills” in people management, conducting meetings and producing reports, rather than technical coding within SAP.

My role is not your typical desk job and requires a lot of travel. I currently work in Derby Monday to Thursday, living in a hotel for those days, and then return home to Essex from Friday to Sunday. My role with Rolls Royce is likely to end within the next few months, and my next role could be located anywhere in the UK. My role also requires travelling abroad, particularly for training, and in February and March this year I spent 5 weeks in India training in preparation for my SAP Finance certification exam. The job I have isn’t for everyone, but I am enjoying the variety and flexibility of consulting and see my current job as a career for life.

Tim: Did your time at the OII prepare you for this role, and if so, how?

Janine: Yes, the most important way the OII prepared me for my consulting role is through experience of presentations and public speaking. Before coming to the OII I was extremely nervous about speaking in front of large groups. However, during the MSc there were a lot of opportunities to speak in front of the department and through this I gained much confidence over the course of the year. In addition to this, I learnt to code in Python which has made it much easier to learn other coding languages, and has aided me in the technical aspect of my role.

Tim: What job-hunting advice you would give our students?

Janine: If you want to get a graduate job, then apply early. It is a very long process with a lot of recruitment hoops to jump through. Also the University of Oxford’s Careers Centre is a brilliant resource which is waiting to be utilised. They can help with updating your CV, and give you contacts with Alumni currently working in the field you are interested in applying for.

Tim: What do you miss most about Oxford?

Janine: Punting, the OII Library, the Lamb and Flag, College meals, BOPs, riding a bike everywhere, opportunities to wear ball-gown dresses. This list goes on… I even miss wearing the silly subfusc gowns. But I also miss academia – and the opportunity to debate global issues with such interesting people.

Tim: Finally, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Janine: Within the next five years I plan to be a Certified SAP Finance Consultant, with an additional qualification as a Chartered Accountant. I hope to be working as a consultant on a free-lance basis, with the flexibility to travel around the world.

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