BSc Biochemistry alumni at University of Leeds

Emma Wilcock

About your course/programme

  1. Why did you choose to come to Leeds University to study your course?

There were three main reasons why I chose Leeds University;

  • It was a campus University which provided on site accommodation, along with the University buildings, cafes, libraries and Union. This provided a safe and friendly atmosphere and a great ‘University vibe’
  • Leeds University is a Russel group University with high employment rates and a great reputation. I knew the teaching would be of a high standard, along with the support provided by lecturers
  • The location of the University is right next to the city centre on one side and Hyde park/Headingley in the other direction. This meant you were always close to shopping, restaurants and nightclubs and after first year of University when you moved out of halls, most people would have a house near all the other students, which meant it was easy to see all your friends!
  1. What were the highlights of the course?

I met my closest friends to date on this course. Working with other people during lab sessions allowed you to bond and get to know everyone, along with developing your lab skills at the same time. There are lot of group assignments and opportunities to work through problems with your friends, and it’s really good to have that support network available as you spend a lot of time on site at the University when studying Biochemistry.

  1.  What were your greatest challenges throughout your degree course?

I think the greatest challenge was learning how to manage your time and prioritise your workload. It can be overwhelming at times with many assignments due at once and you have to make sure that you don’t leave everything to the last minute and you are able to priorities which piece of work to complete first! I think also people struggle with maintaining a social life or ensuring they pay attention to their health and fitness, so you again to learn how to manage your time so you can spend time on yourself too.

  1. Did staff support help you throughout your time at university? If so, how?

Staff were extremely helpful throughout University. You are provided with a mentor in your first year, who you meet monthly where you can talk about any issues or concerns that you have. If you have specific queries about any lectures you have had or assignments then you can contact the lecturers who will always respond.

The University also provides lots of mental health facilities and sessions so if you need to talk to someone for support outside of your studies then there is that option too.

  1. How would you rate the facilities that were available to you throughout your degree? How did this enhance your experience?

The facilities were great. I know there are new labs at the University now which makes it great to be working with the latest apparatus. There are 4 libraries available on campus with private and group study areas which provides lots of options when you need to study. There were many options of onsite cafes, shops and bars which meant there was always somewhere to relax, eat and drink. The gym was fantastic and still to this date remains one of the best gyms I’ve been a member of. The classes are run by great instructors, the equipment in the gym is very modern and the pool is huge!


About You

  1. What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?

As soon as I finished studying I jetted off to South East Asia for a month to relax and enjoy having finished my degree! I then did an 8 week summer internship I had already organised in Leeds to get some work experience, earn some money and set up a potential future career. However, I decided I wanted to take a Gap Year first before starting my career, so I spent a year in Australia working in bars and call centres and travelling around the country and SE Asia again. When I came back to England, I got a job at the same company that provided me with the summer internship - NHS Digital. I worked there for a year, and then moved down to London to work at the company I am at now and have been for the past 10 months – Accenture.

  1. What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve? If you are undertaking further study, what are you studying and what do hope to use this in your career?

I work at Accenture as a Business and Technology Associate. Currently my client is NHS Digital (my old company!) and I am a Project Manager managing the delivery of the NHSmail migration project. This involves migrating users at different NHS Trusts into the Accenture run NHS mail platform. This role involves a lot of client interaction, liaising between technical resources at Accenture and the Philippines Delivery Centre and managing risks and issues. I am responsible for making sure that we deliver our milestones on time and guide projects from start (Readiness) to finish (Closure).

  1. Which experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career? (How did your degree benefit your career?)

When I was at the University of Leeds I got involved with a lot of extracurricular activities and I believe this ultimately led me to having lots to talk about in interviews. I was a Student Ambassador giving tours to potential students and I also undertook a part time internship in the recruitment office for Biological Sciences. I was also a Teach First Brand Manager where I would promote the Teach First Graduate Scheme and attend career fairs and other onsite events. These experiences gave me situations where I felt out of my comfort zone and I could make mistakes and learn from them and discover what my strengths and weaknesses were.

  1. Have you any advice you would offer to current and prospective students?

My advice would be firstly, don’t be afraid to ask for help and support if you need it. There will always be people available to listen to you and support you throughout your studies. Secondly, get some work experience, whether it is a part time job or a summer internship or volunteering. It will help you discover what you like and dislike doing. Finally, learn how to manage your time and workload at the start of the year, or in your first year so that you can focus and prioritise correctly in your second and third year!

  1. Do you have LinkedIn profile? Would you like to provide a link?