Reece Lincoln

PhD Graduate - Transitioning from a PhD into Consultancy

The Journey of a PhD Graduate into a Consultancy. 

Hear from Reece Lincoln, a PhD graduate, tell his story about his journey from his PhD in Aerospace Engineering to his role in the Strategic Modelling group at Frazer-Nash. 

Tell us about your career journey so far.

I joined Frazer-Nash in February of 2023 having completed a short post-doctoral stint at the University of Bristol (UoB) following my PhD and MEng in Aerospace Engineering also at UoB. I was loosely aware of Frazer-Nash as ‘an engineering company’ but wasn’t aware of other areas of work that they operated in. Having been in Frazer-Nash for 8 months now in the Strategic Modelling group within the Data Science area, I am really pleased with my decision to take the role as the work I have been able to do has been varied, exciting, and rewarding.

Through my undergrad I generally enjoyed all aspects of learning. I particularly enjoyed being able to take a problem that I knew little to nothing about, learn about it, solve an aspect of the puzzle, and show the results in a report or presentation. This process of ‘learn, solve, present’ was the main driver for my desire to enter research and do a PhD.

How did your PhD assist with your transition to working at a consultancy?

The PhD gave me a greater understanding of how to solve problems in a complex environment where no one person knew the answer. It was often a process of trying a potential solution or method, seeing what happened, evaluating, and trying again. This was sometimes collaborative and sometimes a solo venture. I believe it is this deep-dive into problem solving, coupled with my enjoyment of learning new areas, and presenting answers to complex situations that enabled me to thrive in a consulting environment.

What work have you been involved with so far at Frazer-Nash?

Whilst working at Frazer-Nash I have been able to work on projects where we have: modelled the cost and performance of a 2 km-diameter satellite to beam energy to earth; visualised possible pathways to net zero with policy decisions; estimated the weight loss of graphite bricks within the cores of nuclear reactors; modelled the cost and time of rolling out gigabit-capable internet throughout the UK; and mapped the UK’s energy and water resilience to enable Government stakeholders to understand critical dependencies. The clients of these projects have been for have varied from large corporations to small start-ups. The business side of consulting, recognising that we are providing a service to help the client, has been a great learning curve to experience.

Why work at a consultancy?

The projects I have worked on have been an excellent mix of individual effort and collaboration both within Frazer-Nash and with the client. We have regular meeting to discuss progress, identify next steps and update the client for a transparent working environment. The tools we use to solve these complex projects range from off-the-shelf data science packages in Python to bespoke and interactive tools for the client to use after the project is finished. It is this variety in topic and tool that is extremely rewarding and why I would recommend consulting to anyone who is looking for a consistent challenge in a dynamic environment.

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