Our Alumni, Rachael Spreadbury is now a Business and Intelligence Analyst at NHS Gloucestershire ICB. Studying the Econometrics modules in Development Economics MSc prepared Rachael with the skills to analyse large sets of data using analysis software – essential for their current role in healthcare analysis.
“I love the fact I am in a role that is contributing to the improvement of the NHS and the local area.”
What course did you study at Kent? What attracted you to the course?
I studied Development Economics because I have always been interested in the driving forces behind inequality and poverty, as well as how culture and failing institutions affect economic progress in developing economies. I was attracted to postgraduate study at Kent because I was aware the School of Economics had lecturers who had extensive knowledge and interest in Development Economics, so I knew this would be the best place to enhance my understanding. The opportunity to enhance my data analysis skills throughout this course, with specialist modules focussing on econometrics using STATA, was also greatly appealing.
What are you doing now?
I am currently a Business Intelligence Analyst for the NHS Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board. I essentially gather data and analyse it using statistical programmes, which can be then translated into useful insights for the consideration of decision makers within the organisation.
How did studying your course prepare you for your current position?
The modules focusing on econometrics provided me with the skills to be able to analyse large data sets using an unfamiliar analysis software, which has been transferable to my current role. Even though I now use different software for analysis, it has been relatively easy to learn because I have the skills from those modules at university. Furthermore, the modules on development economics and sustainability have provided me with a breadth and depth of knowledge, which built the foundation to further understand why there may be inequalities within the health of individuals, and consequently the provision of public healthcare.
Could you describe a typical day in your current role?
On an office day, I usually arrive between 08:00 and 08:30 and begin working on various SQL scripts relating to the specific area I am working on, for example I may be creating reports on topics around diabetes in the local area. However, on other days I may be looking at data focused on health inequalities within the regional areas of Gloucestershire. It is very varied and provides opportunity to specialise in so many areas within healthcare analysis. Throughout the day, I also take part in various meetings with the team where we can share our thoughts and issues with projects we are working on.
What do you love most about your role?
I love the fact that I am in a role that is contributing to the improvement of the NHS in the local area. I get the opportunity to provide decision makers with key statistics aiding them to ensure services are provided in the most effective way to individuals who need it most. I also really like my team; they are incredibly supportive and are always willing to help and offer training in the programming languages we use.
What steps did you take to get into your current role? What was the process during/after University?
In the final term of university when completing my MSc research project, I was carrying out research on healthcare access and inequalities in India and concluded that I wanted to work in a role that would enable me to contribute to improving access to healthcare. In the first quarter of 2022, I took on some temporary employment at the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises as a Guest Relations Assistant. This provided me with a great opportunity to experience an office environment and gain skills that are commonly used in the workplace, which ultimately boosted my confidence and employability prospects. During this time, I was networking with people who would be able to point me in the right direction to roles within the NHS that would be suitable for me and my skillset. Luckily, a job came up within my local area, so I applied and was successful.
What employability support did you get from the University?
About six months after I completed my MSc, I received a phone call from the University of Kent Careers and Employability Service asking me if I could benefit from some career support. From this phone call, I received an email inviting me to sign up to Gradcore, who teamed up with the university to offer free careers coaching alongside the support already offered by Kent. I was given 1-1 guidance on how to improve my CV and succeed in interviews, which I really benefitted from.
What skills did you gain at the University, not just from your course that you use now in your career?
Time management and organisation! Being part of the Baking Society committee meant I had to juggle committee responsibilities, a lot of studying, and a social life. In my current role, these skills are important because there are always deadlines. Also, working with large volumes of data requires me to be organised and detail-orientated to ensure the quality of the analysis remains strong.
What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?
I was based at the canterbury campus and from my experience I would recommend utilising the resources and space in Templeman Library, it is an amazing place to study (especially the silent section!), but it also overlooks a lot of the beautiful green space that the campus has to offer. I would also get involved in societies because there are so many to choose from and it is one of the best ways to meet people outside of your course. Finally, Canterbury is such a lovely place, so I would say it is important to enjoy as much of the city as you can in your free time.
What’s your best memory of studying at Kent?
Most of my MSc was during lockdown, and I was fortunate to live with friends and housemates who I got along with. During exam season, after a long day of revision, we would usually watch TV and chat for a while, which ended in us laughing until we were in tears! My best memory would have to be the bar crawl we did around Canterbury after my final exam; there were so many nice places I didn’t even know existed.
Rachael Spreadbury studied Development Economics MSc and graduated in 2021.