Lynsey McColl - Statistical consultant

I knew that I wanted to embark on a career after completing an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Durham University. However, since the statistical content in my undergraduate studies was relatively low, I first went to the University of Sheffield where I gained both a MSc and PhD in statistics.

My PhD was in applied Bayesian statistics and I particularly enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspects of my research; for this reason I thought that I would suit a career in consultancy. After finishing my studies I joined the Met Office Hadley Centre where I worked as a consultant for four years providing statistical expertise to the Climate Impacts team. Much of my work was focussed on working with businesses to understand their sensitivities to weather and climate in order to facilitate the development of adaptation strategies. This involved working closely with customers to understand their requirements, tailor the most up-to-date climate science, and to carry out new research and data analysis to meet their needs.

Following this role, I joined Select Statistics as a Statistical Consultant. Whilst I had found the work at the Met Office rewarding and interesting, I wanted to work on a larger breadth of subject-areas. My main responsibilities at Select are to liaise with clients, scope projects, provide statistical training, undertake statistical analysis and deliver projects through client presentations and reports. The role provides a lot of variety as I could be working on many different areas of statistics at any one time; for example business intelligence, official statistics or survey design and analysis. In addition to the traditional consulting aspects of my job, I am also a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador and work with local schools to promote and encourage young learners to enjoy STEM subjects.

I enjoy many aspects of consulting; meeting with clients and finding out about their particular area of expertise, using my statistical knowledge to assist a client as well as training others in statistics. As a consultant you have to be adaptable to learning new subjects and new statistical techniques depending on the problem you are working with, and I find this very challenging and rewarding.

Take a look at our guide to becoming a statistical consultant.