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18 months ago, Oxford graduate Kate moved from a consulting role at OC&C to working for the strategic planning group at BSkyB.

Here she describes the best bits about working for a media giant and why you might consider a move from professional services into ‘industry’.

Where do you work?

BSkyB in the strategy group

Where did you start your career?

OC&C, Strategy Consulting. Before that I studied Geography at Oxford.

How long did you stay in that job?

2.5 years

How many years into your career are you?

4 years

How many hours a week do you work (on average)?

45 hours (and it doesn’t vary too much – I’m pretty much always home for dinner).

Who do you report into?

The Director of Strategy heads up my team. On each of my projects, I report into the senior strategy manager who’s leading that piece of work.

Why did you decide to leave your previous job?
I really enjoyed my first job and certainly learnt a lot at OC&C. There were two main reasons that I decided to leave:
  1. Moving to Sky meant that I was working solely in the Media and Telco sector, and I wouldn’t have been able to specialise for another 3 years at OC&C.
  2. I was keen to move to a job which would allow me to enjoy the evenings in London…I was fed up with working long hours!

What are the best bits about your current job? 

Sky is a great company to work for as the business has so many different products (TV, broadband, phone, betting etc.). Consequently there is never a dull moment and I’ve worked on a huge variety of projects with lots of different parts of the business.

One of the main benefits of working for a strategy team in a large company (in addition to free Sky TV!) is that I have been able to develop real working relationships with senior colleagues. The head of my team is on the Exec (reporting directly to the CEO) and I regularly present to members of the Executive team.

Overall I feel that I am far more involved in the decision-making process than I ever would be working as an advisor. 

How does your experience from your previous job, help you in your new role?

I learnt a number of key skills during my 2.5 years consulting, notably advanced excel and powerpoint skills, and I use these on a daily basis.

How does working in ‘industry’ differ to working in professional services?

Although working in-house you still work hard and have deadlines, the dynamic is very different to working in professional services; you are not at the beck and call of a client and you feel your efforts contributing towards a great product that people buy and use and that you can be proud of.

Where do you see yourself at the height of your career?

Hopefully in more of a commercial role with P&L responsibility.

What advice do you have for talented young people building their career?

Early on in your career, I think it’s difficult to understand the range of roles and career paths available outside of professional services (accounting, consulting, banking etc.) – they’re so well advertised through the university milkround! Such companies certainly provide great training – I wouldn’t have wanted to start my career anywhere else – but after a few years I was frustrated at ‘advising’ and keen to join a company that produced and sold something ‘tangible’! If you’re in the same boat, I’d recommend speaking with people in as many sectors as possible in order to widen your horizons and help you to understand the number of different opportunities available and which of those would suit you.

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