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I graduated from Imperial in 2015, holding a degree in Biology with Management. I was part of the Joint Honours Business School cohort where I spent an intensive year studying Management modules after completing my science degree. Since graduating, my career has taken many different turns and I’ve experienced working in business roles in various science-led industries. Studying at the Business School helped lay the foundation for my career success and I’m going to share with you how.

Biology to Business

I’ll start with telling you about the time I was studying for my Biology degree. I chose to study Biology because I absolutely loved the subject during college. It was also where my strengths were and the subject I was getting the highest grades in. When I was at university, I still maintained this strength of interest in the subject. But I started to wonder what I would do once graduating. As I did experiments in the lab for projects, I didn’t picture myself staying in the lab after graduating.

I’m sure you can relate to the sense of panic you feel when you lose clarity on your path ahead. Studying a pure science subject doesn’t necessarily lead to a vocation (as opposed to studying something like Medicine or Pharmacy). The options you have career-wise can seem very vague and blurry. I wondered whether I could do something science-related that wouldn’t involve me trying to steady my hand using a pipette!

During the final year of my Biology degree, I decided to switch to the Joint Honours programme which allowed me to study at the Business School and effectively add another year onto my degree. This ended up being one of the best decisions I made. Not only did I get to spend another year at Imperial, I was also about to study subjects that would be directly relevant to my experience in the jobs I would get later on.

Batool Raza (BSc Biology with Management 2015)
Batool on her graduation day

My first job

I knew I wanted to do a business-focused role in a science-led industry. So my dream came true when I was offered a place on the GSK HR Future Leaders Programme. As I started working there, I realised the relevance of some of the modules I studied at the Business School as I experienced the theory coming to life. Subjects like Organisational Behaviour & Human Resource Management were directly applicable, but I also made connections between Business Strategy, Innovation and Marketing and the projects I was working on.

It was so valuable and satisfying to have the theoretical grounding and be able to apply it in the workplace.

Outside the Lab

There’s a lot more to my career story which I’ll share later. It’s all led me to creating my own business, Outside the Lab, which helps science graduates find jobs and develop their careers outside academia. I started Outside the Lab to provide a platform that brings together all of my experience across science-led industries. My foundation in HR, together with knowledge of these industries, made me keen to share my experiences with others who want to get into these companies as an alternative to academia. You can see an example of some of my work in this webinar: How Science Graduates Can Get a High Paying Job Outside the Lab Even if You Have Little to No Work Experience.

I wanted to share my insights into successfully getting these roles as well as how to continuously develop your career through building transferable skills, networking and finding opportunities to learn. I share valuable content around these topics to give an insight into various science-led industries and roles, as well as tips on building the skills to get into them. I also provide more tailored support for individual situations.

I’m very grateful for my time at the Business School which was fun and educational at the same time. Everyone wants to know that their time studying will add value to their future profession, and  I can say with confidence that this has been the case for me as I transitioned from my degree to the workplace.

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About Batool Raza

BSc Biology with Management 2015
Batool Raza (BSc Biology with Management 2015) is the Research Activities Manager at World Cancer Research Fund International, as well as Founder of Outside the Lab, which helps science graduates find jobs and develop their careers outside academia.