Sophia Graham Francies is a Corporate Security Consultant with Deloitte. She Graduated in 2017 from the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, in BA Politics and International Relations, and worked for Red Sift – Email Security Start-Up (2017) Senseon (a Cyber Security Startup) (2018) before joining Deloitte’s Strategy Consulting in Cyber Security (2018-Present).
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
The cyber security start-up world was great in so many respects. There was a lot of versatility and flexibility, I was able to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. It felt really exciting to help grow a business, working closely with the founding team, and I was able to learn a lot across a broad range of topics.
Deloitte is a reputable firm with a graduate scheme that has the capacity to invest in training and professional growth. In addition, I felt it was important to have a recognisable brand on my CV at an early stage in my career. Many reasons why I enjoy my role some of which include:
- Working with, and connecting with hugely interesting and talented people, both fellow graduates, senior leaders in Deloitte and clients.
- It’s also been a nice balance between being super exciting and also tackling challenging client face.
- I’ve had the opportunity to experience the programme with a group of like-minded people.
- Build my own path and form my own connections – everyone’s experience is unique which is unlike many graduate schemes where you are put on a series of placements or rotations as a pseudo-intern: in consulting from day one you’re doing the job, and you’re interacting with clients.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
The programme taught me to listen to my peers, engage in discourse, be open-minded and flexible in terms of the way I approach with problems. I particularly enjoyed all the environmental politics, philosophy and human security modules. It’s a very special place that I look back on with very fond memories. Living by the beach and all the extra-curricular activities the campus and surroundings had to offer!
“What matters the most is that you show you’re enthusiastic and eager to learn and whatever it is that you try or do, you do to the very highest standard to the best of your ability.”
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
It’s useful to understand yourself and your preferred way of working with other people and be able to articulate it. For example, do you perform best when you work with a team live or do you prefer to go away and think about a problem independently and come back and present it to the team. There are lots of different tools to help you do that for example the Myers-Briggs – Personality Test that you can do online.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
When you start working, remember you’re not on your own: You’re not expected to solve problems on your own, instead your job is to use the people and expertise around you. At school you’re spoon-fed, and they don’t let you fail and to a certain extent at University. At work however, you quickly learn that you’re on your own. You find your own opportunities, and organisations will take and take and so you have to set your own boundaries. What matters the most is that you show you’re enthusiastic and eager to learn and whatever it is that you try or do, you do to the very highest standard to the best of your ability. For example, you should include on your CV if you have played ultimate frisbee for England, or cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats, it shows, drive and determinate which is important in whatever you do.