David Casserly, Senior Associate, PwC
What is your name, employer and job title?
My name is David Casserly, I work in PWC in the risk-insurance Department and my title is Senior Associate.
What are the main tasks you do in your job in a normal week?
I work in the data analytics team within risk assurance so typically day-to-day we go out and help clients with their data needs. For example a client might have loads of data but they don't know how to analyse it or get insights from it, we go in and help them build these analysis for them or a client might have built a process - they want to test and see if it's correct we go and help them with that. Typically, day-to-day that would involve emailing the client and going out to meet them, getting the data, building these analyses using our various tools and then producing reports for the client then.
How did you get into your job?
I have a bit of an unusual back storey for my role. I originally studied biochemistry and then I actually went on to do a PhD in biochemistry focusing on the immune system which was great, and I really loved doing that but by the end of the four years doing the PhD I realized that I kind of wanted a break from academia. I realized that my favourite part of the PhD was analysing the data and writing it up so I thought maybe I could apply these skills to maybe more of a business type setting. PWC we're looking for a data analyst role and I thought I had the right skill set for that, so I applied. When I finished my undergrad there wasn't a lot of jobs available in my sector so I had to think really hard about what I wanted to do and I was really lucky that the college that I did my degree in, they were offering a structured PhD program where you could not only do the science and learn about that but also they offered courses in business and statistics as well so I was able to kind of get skills in both and then I was hoping then that I would be able to use that together and grow afterwards.
What advice would you give to a college student?
I would definitely encourage people to just take their time to figure out what they want to do. I mean in my story I did a PhD which took four years, but I think the skills I learned from that are invaluable to my current role so even things you wouldn't even consider like presentation skills and problem-solving, I use those every day in my job now. I think the advice I'd give to my younger self would be don't be afraid to ask questions and don't be afraid to put yourself out there and apply for everything because you never know what's going to happen.
What skills do you need to be successful in your role?
I think the main skill you need for the job that I have would be problem-solving. Day-to-day I face many problems that I'd have to solve and sometimes the right answer is not necessarily the most obvious so I think being able to kind of take a step back and look at the bigger picture will definitely help you. The PhD helped me a lot with my problem-solving skills but when I got to the job at PWC they focus a lot on learning on the job as well, so I was able to apply that knowledge I'd learned during the PhD into my career role. I also think being able to interact with people and building good relations will always stand to you in any job you have as well.
What do you love about your job?
My favourite thing about working at PWC is that it's constantly changing. The project that I might be on today may not necessarily be the project that I'll be on in a month's time and because of that I'm constantly learning.