Four previous participants in our Analyst Programme describe what’s involved in the application process, share their tips for success and explain how their careers have progressed at CF.

 

 


Jack Pickard

Analyst 

I completed a PhD in cardiovascular medicine at University College London before applying to CF. Transferring from a PhD to consultancy is a well-trodden path. I was personally motivated by the opportunity to work on real-world problems, within whole healthcare systems, in contrast to the narrower focus of academic projects.

I won’t lie, the change in working hours was a bit of a shock! But CF doesn’t have a hothouse culture that demands you spend all your life here. There are days when you work long hours but if your work is done – and you do have some capacity to manage what happens when – you are positively encouraged to leave the office. This is a young business so there are always people to socialise with, particularly on a Friday night.

My first major client project was working with a healthcare system in Qatar. I enjoyed being involved and the wide range of interesting people I met. The project vindicated my decision to become a management consultant.

I also enjoy the data analytics side of my role. I completed a Python course before joining CF and my expertise in analysing data and drawing insights has grown massively since being here. Presenting robust recommendations based on data is a really rewarding aspect of the role.

You do start on projects pretty much straight away – whether that’s internal CF projects, new business or client ones – but you’re not left to sink or swim. There’s always help at hand. The induction sets you up well. You stay at a hotel with the other new joiners, get to know each other and the senior leaders of CF, and learn an incredible amount about consulting. I enjoyed it.

 

Tips for success

The CF website has helpful information on the different stages of the interview process, as well as descriptions about what the analyst role involves.

Make sure you read the supplementary information sheet, which includes detail on the assessment centre tasks, including the example project – referred to as a case – that you need to prepare a response to.  Practice, practice, practice. Being fully prepared will help you get through.


 


Asha Patel

Senior analyst 

I completed one year as a junior doctor before discovering a video of Dame Ruth Carnall speaking about healthcare. From there I found CF and culture and approach I thought would suit me, very different from the big four. I joined two years ago now and was promoted to senior analyst last year.

CF genuinely makes an impact, because of the people in the business, particularly the leaders, have worked and led healthcare organisations and know what it takes. There’s a very human approach to our consultancy – we connect with people and recognise the difference positive change can make to them, whether they’re patients, clinicians, leaders or other staff.

I’ve recently been working with a hospital to develop its clinical strategy for the future. It’s exciting to work because I can see that what we’re doing with them will be truly transformational. My role has been supporting the development of the clinical content to form the basis of the strategy.

The experience I had as a junior doctor means I’ll always think about the healthcare professionals who are trying to make change happen with us – people with day jobs, often just trying to keep their heads above water with the health and care they are relied upon to provide.

There is real expert knowledge here and it’s humbling to be amongst people who’ve made such important change happen. Everyone here is very bright but grounded, and 100% willing to share what they know to help you grow and develop. They want you to excel but also find meaning in your work. If healthcare isn’t your passion, then CF is not the place for you.

 

Tips for success

Don’t be afraid to be bold and brave! CF offers a supportive environment where everyone, no matter their role, are encouraged to ask questions. From the first day, you will be in meetings with our senior leaders who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. It can be daunting but take advantage of this by asking all your questions. You will rarely have such a unique opportunity to learn from senior health and care figures. Similarly, if you think something is incorrect or can be improved, speak up! You won’t be chastised for asking questions or sharing your opinion, instead, you will gain respect.

 


Guy Cochrane

Senior analyst 

After graduation, I worked as a communication officer for a set of clinical commissioning groups and acute trusts which gave me broad exposure to several parts of the NHS. I applied to CF following someone’s recommendation and throughout the interview process discovered impressive, knowledgeable people, really committed to healthcare.

There is no other place like CF if you want to become an expert in this sector. Healthcare is what we’re focused on every day. So, you learn a lot very quickly and feel like a consultant from day one.

I quickly became involved in some major projects. One identifying the levels of provision required for a hospital being considered for redevelopment. I supported engagement and analysis sessions with clinicians to achieve a shared understanding of the challenges involved.

On another project I supported the production of a surgical strategy for 21 specialities across five sites, leading the quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify gaps in care and assess the optimal configuration of services, as well as the impact of implementing the new configuration.

We’re expanding into more international markets which are opening up other opportunities. Everyone can put themselves forward for locations they’d like to work in. It’s the same with every aspect of CF. If you put yourself forward the opportunities are there.

 

Tips for success

Everyone knows at CF that skills can be learned but passion and personality aren’t things you can make up or acquire. When you meet with us, make sure you share your commitment to working in health and care and let your personality come through.

We like the different things diverse people bring to the business.

 

 


Melissa Egle

Consultant

CF is a unique place. I was convinced I wanted to work here from my first interview onwards. Nowhere else is led by people who are so respected in the healthcare space. Having ready-access to their knowledge and experience is phenomenal – invaluable to helping you progress in your role.

I joined when the company was only two years old and in the following 12-18 months, we grew incredibly quickly. Within a year I was promoted to senior analyst and a year later to a consultant. The opportunities ahead are even more exciting. We’re expanding into more international markets, engaging clients in our award-winning analytics offer, and growing our services to support life sciences and pharmaceutical businesses, as well as healthcare organisations.

I recently finished a project in a large NHS Trust in the South of England. We supported our client with their performance improvement objectives and several projects they had identified. It was a multidisciplinary project including work in finance, on service design and activity, as well as leadership and organisational development. I was involved in very varied work.

I helped design and run a couple of workshops where we took the finance team out of their comfort zone and got them thinking about how they work together as opposed to what they do. This received positive feedback and was not something they had done before!

Being given new challenges is motivating and the trust CF has in you spurs you on. Your buddy and development sponsor support you when you need help, and they can also help with your requests to try other things. It’s good to put yourself forward.

 

Tips for success

Be proactive and ask for feedback whenever you can. Feedback is an important element of working at CF and you will receive detailed feedback at the end of all your projects. However, you don’t have to wait for formal feedback. Your peers and managers will be more than happy to help you better understand your strengths and areas of development, just ask. Use every meeting, presentation or report as an opportunity to learn and to improve.