UK: A Day In The Life Of… Elizabeth Hollinger

In the first part of an occasional series looking at what it's really like to work at Deloitte, we speak to Elizabeth Hollinger, head of our Analytics Lab in Scotland and a key figure in setting up our Digital Studio and client Greenhouse space in Edinburgh. In a brief interview, she talks about her love of learning, beginning her career in actuarial services and what it's like to always be on the move.

Here is a day in her life:

My alarm goes off...

...at around 6:30am each day. I give myself one snooze and then get up. I'm usually out of the house in 20 minutes and grab some porridge or fruit on the way to the office. I'll be at my desk for 8:00am and start the working day by responding to any outstanding emails from yesterday before meetings start at around 8:30am.

I'm responsible for...

...helping clients to make data-driven decisions. That can range from helping establish a technical infrastructure to collect and analyse data efficiently, to translating that data into meaningful insight, which helps them to make better and more informed decisions. Over the last few years, I have focused on developing the analytics business in Scotland and run our analytics lab. For the most part, that's meant helping clients identify the key business challenges where data can achieve new breakthroughs, identify opportunities for innovation and improve performance. 

I got my job...

...after realising that a consulting role in analytics combined being able to work with data and people in equal measure! I studied maths and stats at university and always loved trying to understand patterns of information in large sets of data. I began my career in the insurance industry, studying to become an actuary and first joined Deloitte in the actuarial consulting team. However, I gained exposure to other teams and projects and quickly realised that I enjoyed the challenge of working across a variety of industries with different sets of data, communicating the messages contained within them and making a real impact on decision-making.

My typical day...

...sees me work across a variety of projects for a wide range of clients; so there's truly no such thing as a typical day. On client projects, my day might include meetings with key stakeholders, helping them to understand the benefit of analytics and how it can help to improve their current processes and decision-making – analytics is a journey that some of our clients haven't been on yet. Or, it might include meeting with the technical development team to build a solution which meets business needs and fits with the budget available for the work. If I'm in the Deloitte office, it might involve running an analytics workshop, helping clients identify the key business challenges where analytics could add significant value and find innovative ways of leveraging their data towards successful solutions.

An interesting project I have been involved in...

...was helping to establish a new platform in graduate recruitment. It helps employers make contextualised reviews of applications to ensure they employ the right graduate with the right skills for the right role. My job involved developing the methodology and technical build of the matching engine to pair candidates with job opportunities. I worked with cutting edge technologies in artificial intelligence and linked data to produce meaningful insights for graduate employers, which helped them to better benchmark performance against their peers and extend their reach to a diverse pool of candidates. I loved the challenge of developing a product from idea to reality, in an area which has the potential to add true social value. 

The worst part of my job...

...is not always knowing where I'll be each day. Working in consulting means I regularly travel around the UK to support clients wherever they are based, meaning that I am not always at home and often on a plane, train or car to the next place!

The best part of my job...

...is that I'm constantly learning something new. I haven't changed much from my five year-old self, when I told my first teacher that "I love to learn!" and analytics gives me the opportunity to continually do that. The growth in big data, and the technologies we now have to analyse data, mean it is a dynamic and ever-changing sector with the opportunity to continually learn, which really appeals to me.

After work...

...I like to meet friends to catch up over dinner and a glass of wine. I'm not very good at going to bed early, but I'll try to be in bed before midnight to read a little of my most recent book (I'm currently engrossed in Daniel Khaneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow") before dozing off.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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