Grayce Analyst, Akbar Hussain shares how Grayce’s 70:20:10 learning approach has enabled him to succeed on client site, working as a Business Analyst at an FTSE 100 pharmaceutical organisation. 

How has having a mixture of qualifications, mentoring and client site experience helped you to succeed in your role?

The day-to-day experience you get from client site is invaluable. Most business stakeholders have been in the business for decades so have plenty of knowledge to share and the patience to help you understand. Thanks to this, I now have good knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and GMP regulations that it must abide by. We also have our project team who are well-organised and led by a seasoned Project Manager, so a lot of the time it’s a case of ‘watch and learn’.

This is all supplemented by qualifications that I’ve achieved in Agile Project Management and Business Analysis. I’ve been able to put my Agile and BA learning into practice when deciding which tools and techniques I might use to understand a process. Sometimes I might use what I have learnt in SIPOCs, other times a process map might be more convenient. The learning we receive equips us with an arsenal to be real proponents for change.

I also receive coaching from both my Grayce Delivery Manager and my client lead on a regular basis. It’s good to check-in with them to update on my project deliverables and receive guidance on how I can expedite my work.

What are the most effective ways for you to learn?

This depends on what I need to learn. If it is client or industry knowledge, then I like to take advantage of the client’s internal repository of SOPs which provide all I need to know about the pharmaceutical industry. If I need to learn tools and techniques to carry out my role better, then I often head to LinkedIn Learning where there are loads of great courses.

What types of learning do you use to overcome challenges on client site?

My client is currently working to produce a COVID-19 vaccine. There is a requirement to understand exactly what testing is being done on the release of this drug and have greater visibility over the test results. Given I knew very little about release testing, I headed over to Google, YouTube and the FDA website to understand exactly what release testing is and what data is generated as a result. A year ago, I had limited knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, and I’m now working with some Quality Control laboratory technicians to discuss these tests.

What learning have you done to support your current role on client site?

The client uses Power BI as a mechanism for building data models and visualising this data in a user-friendly way. At one stage I was required to help with UAT, this involved needing to build mock reports in Power BI. Thankfully the Grayce Centre of Excellence has guides on how to use Power BI and LinkedIn Learning also has easy to understand tutorials on getting to grips with it.

What do you think you’ve gained by learning incrementally throughout your time at Grayce?

The Grayce way of learning has suited me so well. Being on client site immediately allowed me the opportunity to learn on the job and gain responsibility. As this has happened, I’ve simultaneously received more training and knowledge exchanges in our monthly catchups which have tied in perfectly to help me perform my job. I’ve been afforded great responsibility, but never felt on my own. I either feel equipped for the task or always have a resource that I can reach out to for help.

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