Anna Alexander, Alumni, School of Psychology

Anna Alexander

I joined the graduate scheme in September after graduating. I didn’t actually have the job when I graduated as they had filled all the positions when I got through to interviews. But I wanted to work there so I kept calling and eventually I got an interview in the summer before I started. I don't think I did anything, in particular, to get into Consulting - people come from a whole host of backgrounds before joining.

A degree from the School of Psychology has benefitted me in the workplace as joining a professional services firm, I was quite nervous that my degree would be looked down on next to Economics, Finance, PPE etc. But I found the opposite. I joined with 400 new joiners who had a range of backgrounds and degrees and if anything, having a psychology degree made me a bit different and people found it interesting.

I joined the most people-centred part of Deloitte Consulting - Human Capital - which focuses on the human element of big business transformation (e.g. organisation design and culture and behaviour). Deloitte had recently acquired Kaizen (Now named Deloitte Leadership) a business of psychologists which specialise in Leadership development, so it is a great place to be if you have psychology and business interests. 

More recently I have moved out of Human Capital Consulting and into innovation in Deloitte Digital. We focus on solving human problems and creating amazing experiences, aided by technology. The focus is always on the human aspect rather than the technology - which I fundamentally believe in and it’s great that so many people believe in the same thing. 

Beyond all of this, my ongoing fascination with Psychology and people, in general, has made working relationships really rewarding. Opportunities to develop business relationships, coach junior staff members and support peers with a whole host of personal and professional struggles is something I find really valuable at work. Going forward I think it will help me to build great teams and lead effectively - by really enjoying understanding people better.

If I could, the advice I would give to myself whilst studying would be:

 1. Whatever you do, do what you like to do.

Life is short and you will enjoy it a lot more if you are doing what you enjoy. A friend of mine left Deloitte to set up a yoga business in the Alps - she’s happier than I’ve ever seen her. I chose Psychology despite being told I ‘should really study Economics’. I loved my degree (stats aside..) and I’m so glad I picked what I enjoyed over what I thought I ‘should’ study to get the job I have now. 

2. Don't worry about not knowing what you want to do.

Just do something. Try it, put your all into it and see what happens. Opportunities come out of the weirdest places. Whenever I feel like I should be in a different position in my career, I remind myself that my mum trained in medicine at age 30 after wanting to work for the World Bank.. and 30 years on she absolutely loves it. We have a scary amount of working years.. relax and allow yourself to enjoy it.

3. Don’t prioritise anything over your health and happiness. 

There is nothing more important. No job, no relationship, no money, no degree nothing. Pressures of uni, jobs and relationships are really tough and they don’t get much better. 18-30 are tough years but they’re tough because you learn a lot. Don’t be hard on yourself - we are all working it out and it’s ok to not be ok. Talk about it. You’ll be amazed how open people are to help you. Even strangers :)