Arthur Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick

Implementation Specialist at Risilience
PhD Management Mathematics, 2021

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your current role.

Hello, my name is Arthur Kennedy Cochran Patrick. I recently completed a PhD in Management Mathematics at the University of Birmingham in the Mathematics department and my role is an Implementation Specialist at Risilience.

My role as an implementation specialist is predominantly a client facing project manager. My main goals are to ensure that the project is well scoped out, key deliverables are set, and the correct resources are allocated to ensure success.

I also spend time doing data implementation, results analysis, as well as training and onboarding to a software as a service user platform. I found this job through a recruitment agency where some previous work I did for a risk analytics company and the suite of training that I did for the university really helped me score the role.

What motivated you to do your postgraduate taught course/research course?

I had always wanted to do a PhD throughout my time at Birmingham but I felt that I wasn't intelligent enough to be able to take on that type of role. However, after the summer of graduating from my Masters, I was offered a position to go back to the University of Birmingham for a PhD. Before I jumped into that, I ensured to have conversations with people in my industry to understand whether it would have been a worthwhile decision and if I was truly going to benefit from it. After the advice they gave me I decided to go ahead and jump straight in.

My advice for anyone considering a PhD would be that while it is a huge dedication of time, potentially four or more years worth of your life, these skills you can get out of it, even outside of academia, can be incredible.

What do you enjoy most and what do you find challenging about your role?

What I really enjoy about this job is being able to provide meaningful results to a client, watching them really dig deep into the amount of hard work that goes into a project and seeing that recognition come from them to be able to share with my team. I do also enjoy being able to use my mathematics sometimes in work, which for a client facing project management role, happens a lot more than you'd expect.

What I do find quite challenging was moving away from the academic PhD work lifestyle, moving away from working all hours of the day, to actually having a set number of hours and ensuring I maintain them. Being able to ensure that I can do that now really respects my own time as a work employee.

Have you faced any barriers during your career journey, if so, how did you overcome them?

The main barrier I faced joining this company was a substantial lack in knowledge of the corporate world. I came from eight years in academia and there were a lot of gaps in my knowledge and things that I just didn't understand or just never really was told. The way I managed to overcome that was just by openly asking any question, even the most dumb ones that you'd think anyone would understand, I made sure to ask that because if I wasn't confident to ask those questions now then I wouldn't have the confidence to ask them later and there would still be gaps in my knowledge to this day.

How did your time at Birmingham help you prepare for this role?

What really helped me from my time at Birmingham was the opportunity of being able to teach during my PhD. What it gave me was a way to be able to explain potentially very complex ideas in myriads of ways to ensure that everyone who was listening to me was able to understand them.

[Careers Network] gave me a way to understand how I can translate the skills that I developed through my PhD into corporate skills that would be able to get me a job.

What advice would you give to postgraduate research students interested in getting into your industry or role?

My final advice for postgraduate research students looking to get into my line of work is that it's completely okay to pivot. I believed that working outside of academia my job would have to be mathematics focused but none of the work I do is really relevant to maths at all. Postgraduate researchers have an amazing ability to be able to learn new skills, new things very quickly and you'll be able to take on a lot more roles than you generally think you could in the first place.


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