A headshot of a young woman who works at Accenture smiling at the camera. She stands against a plain white wall.
Lara Sommerville. Image: Accenture

How this biomedical graduate is using her knowledge outside the lab

27 Sep 2022

Accenture’s Lara Sommerville knew a laboratory setting wasn’t for her. She explains how she is now using her life sciences knowledge instead.

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Having studied biomedical, health and life sciences in University College Dublin, Lara Sommerville went on to work as a consulting development analyst for Accenture in Dublin.

“I knew when I finished my college degree that working in a laboratory setting was not for me. However, I still wanted to make use of my knowledge of biomedical science degree and stay within the life sciences sector,” she told SiliconRepublic.com.

“I had heard of Accenture but didn’t know that they had a life sciences practice until a college career counsellor suggested I consider applying for the graduate programme. Once I saw the breadth of work Accenture does with its pharmaceutical clients, I knew that the graduate programme would be a good fit for me and would direct my career where I wanted it to go.”

‘I’ve learned a huge amount in a short space of time’

With this programme, are you now working in the industry that you wanted?

Yes. Once I finished my orientation with the graduate programme, I was aligned straight away to Accenture’s life sciences practice. I think what’s great about my job so far is that, although I am working in the industry I wanted, the job is quite different to what I expected – but in a good way!

The work we carry out can be quite technical at times and it requires me to learn more about a specific type of software that allows companies to better manage their labs. Although it has been a bit of learning curve, I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of the industry.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

My work typically revolves around master data management of the software that we are implementing for our client. This can include modifying the existing master data to adjust to client requirements or creating new master data entirely to adapt to the growing needs of the client.

All of these changes will then have to be tested and validated, which also makes up a large part of my work. As well as this, I am involved in modifying any existing documents, like standard operating procedures or design specifications, which may require ongoing updates as projects progress.

Have your responsibilities and workload changed as the programme progressed?

As I’ve grown in my role and become more comfortable with the work I’m carrying out, I have started to take on more responsibility.

Within the consulting stream of Accenture’s graduate programme, there is a certain career roadmap we are able to follow and with each level comes greater levels of responsibility and work capabilities. As part of this, I’ve been able to interact with senior people within my own department, which has given me great insight into the work that they do.

How do you think this programme has made you more prepared for working life?

One of my favourite things about this graduate programme is the amount of training and learning opportunities made available to you. There are regular workshops and seminars that aim to increase your understanding of important topics or develop your skills as a consultant, like agile ways of working for example.

Working at Accenture has also significantly improved my ‘soft skills’, which has enabled me to work efficiently with those who may have a different working styles. All of these elements helped my personal development and made me better prepared for any working environment.

Would you recommend the graduate programme at this company to others?

I would definitely recommend Accenture’s graduate programme to others. I’ve learned a huge amount in a short space of time and have learned a lot directly from senior leaders in the organisation.

Accenture is a very welcoming organisation and people are always happy to help when you have a problem. Above all else, it is a fun, engaging company to work for and I have made great friends along the way.

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