Eleanor B.

Digital Delivery / Project Manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Eleanor B.
English and Related Literature
English
Undergraduate
Langwith
2015
United Kingdom

My employment

Digital Delivery / Project Manager
Experian Plc.
United Kingdom
Digital and IT services
Large business (250+ employees)
2018

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A day in the life of a Digital Delivery / Project Manager in the United Kingdom

Don’t underestimate the skills you have developed just from being in a university environment. Work experience and committee involvement are obviously valuable, but you will have learned a lot of transferable skills from your course as well.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

Experian harness data for the benefit of individuals, businesses and wider society. With over 17,000 employees in 37 countries, their remit is huge.

After a few years working in Experian, I recently moved to HD Decisions, a startup which was acquired by Experian Group. HD are part of the Digital division of Experian, and provide credit eligibility services to Banks and Aggregetors (for example loan search websites).

What do you do?

I work as a delivery manager, which is 60% project management, 20% supporting the business, 10% people management, and 10% driving business development strategies.

I work with experts across the business to deliver digital solutions to customers in an efficient and controlled way.

My role covers budget management, people management, scheduling and forecasting, stakeholder management and internal/external communication at all levels. I am often a ‘firefighter’, and proactively find ways to avoid issues or blockers.

I also get involved in the more technical side of things, and having a level of technical understanding is crucial to ensure projects can be accurately planned and stakeholder expectations managed.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I interned with TSYS during my time at York which introduced me to the financial services industry. After completing Commercial Finance graduate scheme with Nationwide Building Society, I moved to Aldermore, a new digital bank, where I was a business analyst before a project manager. After refining my project management skills with Experian, I accepted a promotion to Delivery Manager with HD Decisions.

Moving from an English degree into financial services isn’t a natural move, but the skills I learned at university have been critical to my success - keen critical analysis skills, an ability to communicate, delivering under pressure have all been essential.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Yes - I thought that I would move into publishing or marketing in some capacity, but after falling into a graduate scheme with Nationwide, I changed paths!

Describe your most memorable day at work

Delivering my first client project at Experian comes to mind.

On my first day at Experian, as a Junior Project Manager, with about a year of real project management experience under my belt, I was assigned a high profile client project. I was told I was taking over from a Senior Project Manager, and there was a huge list of issues to fix.

It was a true ‘sink or swim’ moment, so I had to find a way to muddle through. I set up the project team, re-engaged the client, and managed the senior stakeholders.

10 months later, my briliant project team delivered the project, the client relationship was recovered and I had been lined up for promotion. The feeling of sheer relief on the day the project was delivered was unlike anything else!

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

There are new challenges every single day! Managing difficult stakeholders, juggling the budgets, handling the immense amount of client expectations and requests, often juggling multi-located teams and different time zones. I can honestly say I learn something new every day because of the challenges we face.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

I would describe it as a friendly corporate.

There are certain professional standards and we have to adhere to the governance and regulations.

The people are the best bit - everyone has time to help, available for a chat, and are always friendly.

Wellbeing is a big priority, so flexible hours and working from home are encouraged where appropriate.

The pressure can be high in short bursts, but for the most part it is a laidback and friendly place to be.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I chaired the International Creative Writing Society (formally the York Juba Anthology), was involved in Brand Management with Careers and also interned each summer.

I gained so many skills, and opportunities to develop skills through these experiences. People management skills, effective communication methods, time management skills, motivating a team, prioritising workloads, professional conduct.

What would you like to do next with your career?

I would love to see where my new role in the Digital world takes me, Experian have been a brilliant employer so far, so I would love to continue to develop there, in a project or product role.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Don’t underestimate the skills you have developed just from being in a university environment. Work experience and committee involvement are obviously valuable, but you will have learned a lot of transferable skills from your course as well.

Read up on key transferable skills, really think about which are your strongest skills and what working environment would best suit you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to land your ‘dream job’ straight out of university, but think about what steps you can take to get there.

It’s also fine not to have a ‘dream job’! If you don’t know what you want to do, that’s perfectly normal.

Speaking of normal, that first year out of university can make you feel a bit displaced or confused. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have it all. These things take time.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Transitioning from university to working life; Alternative careers for English Graduates; Working in Financial Services; Time management; Career planning; Professional qualifications - anything really!

Next steps...

If you like the look of Eleanor’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Eleanor a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Eleanor to be your mentor.

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