Analyst Insight: Changing Career From Law to GRAYCE

Project Analyst Oliver Orchant shares his career change story from Law to the GRAYCE Development Programme.

So, I’m sitting on the tube home having just finished week eight with GRAYCE and not sure how time has passed by so quickly! My path to the GRAYCE Development Programme is unusual, but one that I think resonates with anyone thinking about a change in career. 

Making A Change

Prior to beginning at GRAYCE, I was working at a central London Law Firm in the highly coveted Employment Department. Although I was forging lifelong friendships and getting used to the perks of working at a firm that puts their employee rights at the forefront – something was missing. Achieving a First Class Honours in Law, I did not feel like I had secured myself the opportunity to showcase the ability I possessed, nor the potential that I could reach. 

After a great deal of thinking and speaking to those in my trusted network, I came to the realisation that if I wanted exposure to the workings of a multinational organisation, it would be better to do so at the age of 24. As a sponge, with a passion to learn and motivation to add value on a daily basis, I began looking into various business development roles that would allow me to build on what I had already learnt in the world of work. I needed a role that threw me into a sink or swim environment and gave me the challenges I wanted from the very start. This is when I came across GRAYCE. 

My transferable skills and past experience saw me fast-tracked to the second year of a three year programme. With this came the realisation that whilst GRAYCE believed in me, their expectations were still very high. Slightly anxious at this prospect, all nerves were settled following Mobilisation Training that took place prior to arriving on client site. Here, I became familiar with what matters most to GRAYCE, its core values, as well as background about the FinTech/Payments industry in which my first client operates.

Mobilisation Training

At mobilisation training, I sat down with one of the GRAYCE Delivery Managers and created a bespoke Study Plan that ensures I am developing professionally from week to week. I have been completing LinkedIn Learning courses on my commute, attending lunchtime webinars on Coding, as well as studying for my two upcoming exams – Association of Project Management and a Business Analysis exam. For the latter, I have been sent a textbook to familiarise myself with before a trip up to Manchester for a week-long course culminating in an exam on the final day – fingers crossed! 

Day One On Client Site

Day 1, and after a commute into Canary Wharf, I met with the GRAYCE buddy that had been assigned to me. Showing me around the office, I realised that my GRAYCE colleagues on-site were close-knit and going to help me get up to speed very quickly. 

Having a Statement of Work for six months, with the potential of an extension, ensures that I can get to grips and gain specialised industry-related knowledge and network with key individuals. I am adding value by following certain projects through to Execution Phase, rather than handing over post-planning due to time-constraints or client budget.  

I already had an email in my inbox waiting for me from my Line Manager asking me to build a product line using software the company had recently purchased. Instead of having to go through weeks of training, I navigated my way through this software application with a bit of help from colleagues to successfully build this product line and gain subject-matter expertise in the process. 

Support From The GRAYCE Community

In my eight weeks, I have also attended a Quarterly Briefing, where Alumni told us how GRAYCE had set them up for their careers post-Development Programme and a social for the London cohort. A charity trek and annual Conference are also in the pipeline for the next few weeks.

With a PMO Daily Stand-Up, a Weekly Catch Up with my Client Line Manager, and a Monthly Performance Review with my GRAYCE Delivery Manager, the support is there to ensure I am on the right track, and there’s plenty of opportunity to raise and resolve any concerns or queries that I have. 

The day to day will differ from client to client. A typical day for me can involve digesting complex information, building a process or framework to streamline efficiencies, and engaging with key stakeholders to get management buy-in. Along with this, I coordinate benefits-realisation workshops after projects to ensure the acceptance criteria has been met and identify lessons that could be learned for future like-cases. 

When a new starter began a few weeks after me, it gave me the opportunity to reflect. Whilst there’s still a lot of acronyms to learn for all the bodies, governance boards and best practices, I realised that in this short timeframe I had consumed a lot of knowledge. From software development to an awareness of how a multinational’s Project Delivery Framework is put into practice, I am well equipped to push on from here and enhance my professional development further. I can confidently say I’m so glad I discovered GRAYCE and all it has to offer.