Case study

Business analyst — Andrew Slattery

After completing his degree in philosophy, Andrew now works as a business analyst for Birmingham City Council

How did you get your job as a business analyst?

After graduation I spent a year as a sabbatical officer at the Guild of Students. I then moved to Edinburgh and worked at the Scottish Executive as a speechwriter and policy officer.

I moved on to a job with the Birmingham Safeguarding Children's Board before becoming a referral and advice officer. I then gained a promotion to a change agent in a large transformation programme, which redesigned the area of the council I had previously worked in.

What's a typical day like?

I usually have meetings, varying between discussing a piece of work in a café, or board or project meetings with directors, to audiences with the Education Commissioner.

My desk work can vary from writing update reports for managers, directors, councilors or commissioners, to reviewing process maps, requirements documents, or quotes from external suppliers.

My working arrangements are very flexible. When appropriate, I can work remotely from home or from any council building in the city.

I regularly attend meetings with external stakeholders, such as the Birmingham Education Partnership or with local politicians.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I most enjoy working with my council colleagues. I am surrounded by support and mentorship and I have a lot of opportunity to develop and try new things.

What are the most challenging parts?

I find it challenging when dealing with stakeholders. This is a key part of my job and it can be hard if they are resistant. I also find time management difficult.

The ability to think, both on my feet and outside the box, is essential.

I also find the creativity of my role equally enjoyable and challenging.

How has your role developed?

When I left university I tried a few different things. Project and change management felt like a natural fit for me and, as I have become more acquainted with the profession, I feel like I have found my calling.

I would like to progress, develop and continue to become more qualified, and also take on more responsibility and be in charge of larger areas of change.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My degree has limited relevance to my job. However, I draw on my degree every day by applying logic to process mapping or system design, or ethics when working out what is required to tailor services for citizens.

What are the best things about working in this sector?

I'm motivated by helping people so I find working in this sector hugely rewarding.

What advice can you give to others?

In addition to your degree, your work ethic and extra-curricular activities will make you stand out.

Hone your soft skills and gain a useful range of experience. Use your initiative and be pro-active and tenacious. New enthusiasm, ideas and perspectives are important.

Find out more