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Junior Analyst In A Health Marketing Agency

Updated: Jan 20

✍🏻 Olivia Laughton | Junior Strategic Analyst at SOLVE(D), a IPG Health agency


At Workflow Weekly, we are showcasing stories of individuals with life sciences backgrounds, who have worked in non-lab-based science/healthcare roles. We want to raise awareness of the incredible careers and organisations that are immersed in science and healthcare, but outside of the lab.


Story Spotlights: Junior Strategic Analyst

Grace Binney at her BSc Neuroscience graduation at the University of Birmingham

Olivia is a BSc Microbiology (with Industrial Placement) student from the University of Leeds.

For her year in industry, Olivia has been working as a Junior Strategic Analyst, for SOLVE(D), an IPG Health agency. Olivia has kindly shared an honest account of her experience as well as tips for students looking to pursue a career in a non-lab-based role.!

I’ve come a long way since the first day of my industrial placement. With only two months left to go, I’m here to tell you about my time at IPG Health; the highs and the lows. Hopefully, this article will encourage anyone who is trying to decide whether a year in industry is right for them, to go for it!

What work did you do at the start of your placement? 👩🏻‍🦰

I started off as a Strategic Business Intern at IPG Health Consulting. Don’t let the corporate words scare you; this just means I worked within a team of consultants in a wider marketing agency.

I loved my time with consulting, being in a team of passionate and intelligent individuals who inspired amazing work.

Although this was at the beginning of my placement, I was gladly thrown right in the deep end.

I worked on portfolio positioning for medical devices and supported the assembly of competitive simulations.

Following a change in business structure, I was moved to IPG Health's data analytics and media agency, SOLVE(D).



  • Strategic consultancy: A type of consultancy where a team aim to solve a client's problem by using their expert knowledge of the market landscape, to tailor a specialised method/solution.

  • Portfolio positioning: When a client wants to assess their portfolio of products with an aim to optimise their overall performance

  • Competitive simulation: The analysis of the client's competitors to identify strengths and weaknesses, and how the clients can differentiate themselves to gain a competitive advantage in the market.



Who are SOLVE(D) and how did you feel when you joined? 💻

I took on the new title of ’Junior Strategic Analyst’.

SOLVE(D) is a behavioural science and data-driven marketing speciality agency, designed to deploy the latest marketing techniques to personalise the healthcare professional (HCP) customer journey. Using data/behaviour science modelling, they want the right messaging to reach the right people at the right time, via the most appropriate channels.

Olivia in a lift at IPG Health offices, London

Whilst SOLVE(D) is currently small, it is very quickly growing. The team is specialised but highly diverse, consisting of experts in multiple capabilities including media, behavioural science, data science and analytics.

It was a bit daunting at first, starting afresh, meeting a new team and having new responsibilities.

However, looking back, it was a smooth transition, and I am now confident and proficient enough to be a key member of the media team, specialising mainly in search engine marketing and paid advertisement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

With behaviour science being so integral to SOLVE(D), I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with the behavioural science team in the summer, which I’m really looking forward to!


What challenges have you encountered during your placement year? ⛰️

Adjusting to work-from-home life wasn’t too much of a stretch from virtual learning at university, but it did come with the same social limitations, so it naturally felt a little difficult to fit in with the consulting team since I'd never met them in person.

Jumping into, and adjusting to a new team was also quite hard; it required flexibility and adaptation.

Luckily, our team at SOLVE(D) meets up every 6 weeks, which means an exciting trip to the London office (which has an amazing view of the London skyline).

Over time, this has also given me the opportunity to get to know my team and other people in the IPG Health network.

Although I had a bit of a weird start, I’ve learnt so much more about the industry because of this experience.

Olivia in the bathroom at IPG Health offices, London

By no means am I saying my experience is normal for an industrial placement, but the current economic landscape and the fast-paced nature of the industry mean that sudden changes like this are not uncommon. Whilst I'm hopeful, I know that this could potentially happen to me again in the future, when I am without the safety net of being a placement student. However, seeing how companies can change, often at breakneck speeds, has been really beneficial.

Before my placement, getting a job in the pharmaceutical industry away from the lab felt really inaccessible.

I didn’t know which paths I needed to take to get there, or if I had the confidence and skills necessary to excel. Now, having a year in industry under my belt, not only makes me more equipped for work after graduation, but I feel more prepared too.

It’s also given me time and opportunities to explore the industry, as well as more thinking room. I’m going into my final year of university with a much clearer mind than my previous stressed-out, second-year self, able to make choices more specific to my aspiring career path in medical communications.

If you have the opportunity to do a year in industry, go for it!

The experience has allowed me to meet so many people, make amazing connections (which will likely be useful for my future career), and gain a better understanding of the industry I hope to be a part of when I graduate.

Even the placement application and interview processes themselves, including being rejected from positions I’d applied for, helped me learn more about professionalism and helped me develop a determined attitude. I know I can face anything the future has in store for me!


What are 5 key learnings from your year in industry? 👩🏼‍🏫

1. Keep applying, even if you’re getting rejected.

I know it can be quite disheartening, but this is just as much of a learning experience as the placement itself. Remember that a lot of the time the company may be really impressed by you, but may not think you're the right fit for them. That's okay; keep going!

Writing applications and attending interviews is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone, boost your confidence, and get great practice for when you're looking to apply for graduate jobs or other future roles!

2. Ask questions!

3. Talk to as many people as you can.

4. Never be afraid to ask for help.

5. Write down the types of projects you've been involved in.

Mandy Pickersgill, Clinical Lead for Pathology at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Written by: Olivia Laughton (Content Writer)

Edited by: Grace Pountney (Editor-in-Chief)


Career Conundrums

Each week, at Workflow Weekly, we answer your Career questions!

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Q: Does a year in industry make you more employable?

A: Yes!

Having a year of work under your belt is incredibly beneficial when it comes to securing a role after you graduate. This will also help you work out what you like and what you don't like, giving you more clarity about the type of career you want after you graduate.

You'll also develop a wide range of transferable skills including confidence, teamwork, and communication, which are essential to all roles, and will definitely help you in your final year of your undergraduate degree.

Although some year in industry roles may be competitive to get, there will be a significantly smaller number of people applying for placements, compared to the number of people looking for full-time roles after you graduate. At that point, you'll not only be competing against other graduates with undergraduate degrees, but you may also be competing against graduates with higher qualifications and other people with greater years of experience.

Therefore, we highly recommend you apply for a placement year if you can!

Stay tuned for further issues on year in industry benefits, application tips and more!


Thank you for reading Workflow Weekly!

We hope you found it interesting. We look forward to seeing you next time!

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