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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Preface

My experience at Imperial College has rekindled the relevance of Boyd's Transformation theory in my life.  Throughout the journey, I have discovered that self-reflection; experimentation and replication of success are key to personal development. Additionally, through the module content, I obtained essential lessons in organizational behaviour, strategy and informatics which I believe have left me well-equipped and motivated to succeed in my next chapter within the healthcare industry.

Introduction

As echoed by the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘what lies before us and what lies ahead of us are small matters compared to what lies within us'. I believe my personal career journey resonates this, thus the urgency for self-evaluation. Consequently, for my final MSc dissertation, I am utilising this opportunity to establish structured self-reflection in pursuance of holistic self-development.

Reflection is considered an intrinsic tool for learning, which incites deep deliberation on one's character. As a result, it improves the self-understanding and effectiveness of the individual. In my report, I have used Gibbs 6-step reflective cycle supplemented with psychometric tests to discern my desired career goal; becoming a CEO of an aesthetic healthcare company.

My aim in this report is to carry out holistic reflection with a view to determine my current position and the specific steps required for personal growth in order to achieve my desired career goal. Additionally, through the course of informal interviewing, I aim to expand my network within the industry as well as establish life-long mentors that will assist me to remain motivated and grounded throughout my journey.

Self-Audit and Market Readiness

Self-Reflection

To begin this journey, it is pivotal for me to deliberate on my past educational experiences, future career aspirations and my long-term goals. My undying passion for science led me to obtain a B.Sc. degree in Biological Sciences. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I pursued further education in Health Management, as I knew I wanted a career within the healthcare industry. Providentially, the International Health Management course had broadened my horizons, sensitizing me to the various fields within the industry. My main personal motivation is to lead a passion-filled professional life. Herzberg's motivation theory promulgates that hygiene factors are critical to one's job role. Simply, I agree with the author. (Herzberg, 1959)

Fig 1: Vision board showing personal goals and core values.

Consequently, I am fascinated by the up-to-minute and highly innovative sector of aesthetic medicine.  Aesthetics is a contemporary field within the industry. It is an area, which has resulted from a combination of factors with the key drivers being; technological advancements, the ageing population and marginal regulations within the industry. Thus, it is highly innovative yet highly controversial. (Aestheticmed.co.uk, 2016; American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, 2017) Although studies have shown the aesthetic industry's predicted growth rate to be at 10.8% CAGR by 2016-2022, more recently, market analyses have illustrated that the industry's growth rate has surpassed this estimate. In 2022, aesthetics is expected to generate £56bn revenue, accounting for up to 10% of total healthcare expenditure. This is supported by the 446% increase in the number of procedures since 1997. (American Beauty Encyclopedia, 2010; Marketsandmarkets.com, 2015; Deloitte, 2016; Grandviewresearch.com, 2016) That being said, I believe that this niche sector will provide me with the opportunity to be able to significantly contribute to bringing about improvement within individuals, organizations and in the delivery of healthcare. Thus my desired career goal is to be the CEO of an aesthetic healthcare company.

Harvard Business Review states that, despite the diversity of institutions catering to the various career roles within business, there is no school that exists for CEOs besides real-life experience. In this light, I agree that the best strategy for me is to gain a wealth of experience. I aim undertake a range of managerial and consultancy job roles within the public as well as the private sectors of the industry. I believe this will equip me with well-rounded insight on the key players at the various levels within the market. By so doing, when I come to setting up my own business I would have expertise on up-to-datedness as well as management of healthcare institutions. (Farkas and Wetlaufer, 1995)

Where I am now

B.Sc. Biological Sciences

  (University of Essex, 2016)

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M.Sc. International Health Management

(Imperial College, 2017)

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Entry-level job

(October 2017)

e.g. clinic coordinator, clinic management training scheme, business development manager or other sales roles.

Fig 2: Timeline showing my current career journey

As it holds, I am in the process of applying to entry-level jobs within the aesthetic field. This report has demonstrated that I need to intensify my efforts in my job search. I have now set myself a personal target within the next two months to score a job role in the position shown above (Refer to Fig. 2) My target companies include; Harley Academy and HC MedSpa. These are some of the market leaders within the field. In accordance with my initial career plan, I aspired to obtain a good understanding of various managerial roles. I believe these roles would make me more knowledgeable and propel me closer to my core goals while acquiring financial autonomy.

Becoming a CEO

Importantly, this brings me to yet another critical stage where I must evaluate my personality type, values and skills sets in order to navigate the industry and acquire a more tailored experience. To support my deliberation, I carried out psychometric tests to understand myself better. For example, the DISC personality test showed that I am a personality Type A, which means that I am dominant, outspoken and friendly. In agreement, the Imperial Simplicity Healthcare page showed that these are complementary skills for success within the healthcare industry.

Furthermore, to able to truly answer if my chosen career role is complementary to me, I took; the Big 5 personality test. This highlighted my fundamental personality makeup. I scored 4.5 on openness, 4.75 for conscientiousness. Patel (2017) in his article titled, ‘7 key personality traits every CEO should have' emphasized that openness to new ideas, a willingness to take risks and a strong sense of self-promotion are critical success factors for every CEO. He also divulges that CEOs must be passionate in order to excel. With my results being comparable with these traits mentioned, I am convinced that my personality type augments my chosen career goal. (Forbes, 2017; Chatuverdi, 2016)

In addition to that, CEOs must have a vision while remaining grounded.  It also holds essential that they possess proficient communication skills.  Introspectively, I have a long-term vision. Nonetheless, I am aware that I need to work on improving my communications skills. Although I felt I already possessed proficient communications skills, during my time on this program, I learnt through the numerous group assessment tasks that I was still unable to convey my ideas effectively. Thus, this highlights a skill set which I need to develop through the course of my professional life. Brennan (2016) also says that success in aesthetic medicine requires leveraging of leadership, management and teamwork thus emotional intelligence plays a big role. In agreement, I have learnt through my taught modules that organizational behaviour is a fundamental tool for managerial job roles and that sound emotional intelligence serves as an advantageous tool when influencing people within the workplace. As Steve Covey highlights in, ‘7 habits of highly successful people', such tools are more difficult to develop.  Hence, one of my ongoing targets is to consistently and simultaneously work on my people skills while pursuing my career goals.

Although the aesthetic industry is a highly controversial field, it has no standard definition (Goh, 2009) remarkably, this does not hold true when it comes to the industry's core values. Constantion (2011) defines aesthetics as an area involving medicine, science and technology with knowledge, experience and continuous learning being important. In agreement, the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) states that aesthetic medicine encapsulates enhancement and improvement of both physical and mental health. (British Medical Aesthetic Council, 2017) These have therefore reinforced what I believe to be the core values of the industry: Core values serve as navigators and guidelines for one's job role. With the industry's main campaign; safety in beauty promoting patient empowerment and education through gaining professional advice and increased awareness, this demonstrates that self-empowerment and education are critical within the industry.  Furthermore, my personal values include; continuous self-development, autonomy and growth, thus I believe I can contribute significantly to my chosen career goal.

On that note, I believe the best strategy for me is to seek professional advice in search of career empowerment. Harvard School of Public Health (2017) states that most successful people had some form of mentorship along the way.  With examples of successful people who deployed mentorship including Clint Eastwood and Maya Angelou, I believe this part of my self-reflection serves timely to my career journey. (Harvard School of Public Health. 2017)   To initiate this, I have identified two women who I consider leaders within the healthcare industry.  My reason for choosing these women is because I believe they hold dominant positions within the industry.  Additionally, with the gender parity figures showing that only 15.7% of CEOs in the world are female, these women really stood out to me.  (Infoplease.com, 2017)

Making connections

Through conducting interviews, I was able to obtain primary research on the career path to becoming a CEO as well as establish life-long mentors within the industry.

Valerie Philips (CEO Medtech Access and Director with affiliations in the Aesthetic Industry)

I have chosen Valerie Philips as my first candidate to complete this part of my journey. Valerie is a director with international commercial business expertise as well as strategy consulting background with over 10 years of experience in the industry. Additionally, she holds vast knowledge and experience in bariatric medical devices, a sector of the industry, which heavily appeals to me. She is also the CEO of Medtech Access; a management consulting company. Having held a range of managerial and consultancy roles within the private as well as public sector, I believe she is a viable candidate with abundant knowledge whom I can to look up to as a role model and mentor within the industry.

Studies show that 56% of children born to career-driven parents also lead career-driven lives (Department of Children, Schools and Families, 2013a) The inception of Valerie's career journey reiterates this. Valerie was born to career-driven parents; her father was a company professional on the board of Irish Steel while her mother was an entrepreneurial dressmaker. This I believe holds pivotal as an influence in the career development journey. Thus at the very young age of 17, she began her career journey.

Valerie enrolled at college where she studied languages, French and German, as she knew at the time that she wanted to work in a big corporation and she was very interested in languages. She then went on to the University of Cork, Dublin (UCC) where she pursued further education in BA German and she obtained a scholarship within her first year.  On completion, she went on to obtain an MA in German Literature at the Universtat de Kontanz (1989). She also held part-time jobs during the course of her studies, for example, she taught English as a foreign language (TEFL) before she went on to obtain a PhD. To these, she attests, supplemented her professional learning experience.

Still in close contact with her alma mater in Dublin, she was offered her first real teaching job where she worked as a teacher for one term. It was at this point that she realized that although she wanted to teach, her main passions did not lie within the academic career path. Thereafter, she left the job and moved to Geneva where she taught French at a private boarding school even though she had not received prior teachers' training. This further highlights the importance of following your passions; a combination of her passion and her previous part-time roles held led to her securing her first real job as a teacher sans any formal teacher training.

After nearly a year in this job, she went on to pursue further postgraduate studies at Michael Smurfit Business School (University College Dublin) where she obtained a Diploma in Business Studies, specializing in International Marketing, as a direct result of her being fluent in German and French. Again, she excelled, taking the lead, she obtained 1st position her class (1992). However, the economy was so bad, yet a company called OMEGA Strategy Consultants approached her, as they wanted someone who spoke languages and could travel. As a result, she was fortunate enough to have her first job within the industry, which also allowed her to live a passion-filled life. So her professional journey in the industry began and she worked her way up.

      Analyst  

 Consultant

Senior Manager

Fig 3: Valerie's steps in working her way up.

Notably, her first real job in business taught her a lot about the industry. From learning how to write a proposal, to making presentations, even the most obvious things of client interaction.

Six years later, in pursuit of extended industry experience, Valerie moved to a global enterprise, Nortel Networks. Nortel was a company which was as big as Google is today back in the .com era. She held the job role of corporate development manager in this company, overseeing over 120,000 people. Her role entailed strategy projects for the CEO, a role that was very supportive in her personal journey. Not only were there considerations for maternity, she also received further professional development on the job. Firstly, a degree from Ashridge Business School in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and the other from INSEAD Business school also specializing in M&A's. This also opened global horizons.

As time went by, the economy changed due to the .com bust and was made redundant. In the same period, her husband moved to New York for work. By this time, her family came first so she moved to New York. However, the company moved them back to London after a few months.

On returning, a wife of a colleague from Omega consultants where she previously worked had now started her own consultancy firm as an outcome of being made redundant. The company was called Centore Consulting and it comprised of about 90 people from previous top consulting companies just like Valerie. However, the company was then sold to Tesen Consulting.

Thus Valerie worked as a self-employed consultant. This allowed her expand her family further while maintaining her autonomy. During this time, she worked for companies such as; Deutsche Bank, Stagecoach and Cavendish Consulting. Notably, her previous network of colleagues served extremely advantageous to her at this time. During this time, she was involved in numerous projects cutting across various industries, including; Mapping and Webb, Symthson and Cavendish where she worked on a project for 6 months. Upon completion, the managing director of Cavendish at the time approached her and offered her a job as Head of Corporate Development of the entrepreneurial consulting firm.

Due to the diversity of industries she worked in, she became sensitized to Med Tech industry and she realized that her actual interests lied there. In that same period, she was then contacted by the CEO of Randox Ltd, a global healthcare company. She worked as a manager of their subsidiary company, Randox Health for a few years. She then moved on to an American Med Tech company, Reshape Medical where she worked as their European Marketing Director. In this role, she was involved in the management of the strategic and commercial activities in the company that invented the first FDA-approved gastric balloon for bariatric. This further expanded her expertise in within the medical devices sector of the industry. Ultimately, as a result of her accumulated expertise within MedTech, she was stimulated to create a med tech consulting company, Med Tech Access.

That being said, her reflections and advice were:

• Becoming a CEO was something that was realized along the journey. Even so, she had always had the initial plan of working in a big company.

• Furthermore, although she held many job roles, which were beneficial to her long-term career strategy, they were a reflection of the economy at the time, which was also evolving with the singular driver being the evolution of the .com era.

• As an individual, it is key to remain flexible while being extremely nice to everyone on your way to the top because these are the same people you will meet on your journey down.

Also, I was able to concur that a combination of her personality and interests played a massive component in her overall career journey. This, she also attributes to work demands in the industry. Nonetheless, being able to deal with uncertainties and changing environment proved very pivotal in her journey.

Withal, from the interview, I gained further career strategy insights; from overall career navigation to personal insights of a career-driven woman.

Geeta Siddhu-Robb (CEO Nosh Detox Ltd and Nosh Infusion Clinics)

By the same token, I approached my second candidate, a CEO of a healthcare star-up, Geeta Siddhu-Robb. Geeta is a healthcare entrepreneur and the founder of Nosh Detox Ltd and Nosh Infusion Clinics. Geeta's philosophies stem from her life experiences. Hailing from a traditional family structure, her father, the breadwinner of the family worked as an entrepreneurial farmer. Undoubtedly, her career path was also entrepreneurial. Geeta possesses over 10 years of experience of running a market leader in the healthcare industry that specializes in innovation in nutrition and aesthetic techniques. (Department of Schools, Families and Children; 2013b)

Geeta's academic journey began at the University of Buckingham in 1987 where she obtained her undergraduate degree in LLB Law. Upon completion, she took up her first job as an intern in the House of Commons as this was where her main interests were. After this, she went on to pursue a postgraduate degree in International Finance Law at London School of Economics in 1992 before going on to work as a lawyer for 10 years.

She then got married and went on to start her family. Here, she had 5 children. Unfortunately, life took its toll and she ended up divorced with 5 kids to look after.  Thus she became the sole carer to a son with severe allergies. Spending most of her time between hospitals, she was forced to give up her job working as a lawyer. Her personality came into play and she mustered a ‘never-give-up attitude'. This was how she garnered an interest in nutrition. This external influence served pivotal in her career journey. As a result, in 2007, she founded her own wellness and lifestyle company called Nosh Detox. A philosophy, which is built on raw and unprocessed nutrition to give the body, its best form so that we are able to perform optimally.

Alongside, she pursued further formal education from The Living Light Institute and became a Certified Raw Chef.  She also went on to obtain training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, one of the largest nutrition schools in the world, becoming a Certified Health Coach.

That being said, her reflections and advice were:

There is no such thing as a bad situation, only life lessons. Her biggest driver was refusing to be poor; as a result, she never gave up. Coupled with this, her responsibility towards her children enabled her maintain drive and motivation.

To summarise, her motivational message was, ‘just do the things you need to do when you need to and never give up'.

Take home message

Valerie's Career Path Geeta's Career Path My Proposed Career Path

BA in German and French

(University College of Cork, Year)

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Part-time teacher

(TEFL course, Germany)

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MA in German Literature

(Universtat de Kontanz,)

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PhD  

(Universtat de Kontanz, 1989)

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Teacher at UCC

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Diploma in International Marketing

(Smurft Business School, 1992)

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Analyst

(OMEGA Strategy Consultants)

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Manager

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Consultant

(OMEGA Strategy Consultants)

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Senior Consultant

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Director

(Nortel)

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Ashridge Business School

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INSEAD Business School

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Self-employed Consultant

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CEO, MedTech Access

(July 2017-present)

LLB Law

(University of Buckingham, 1987)

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Intern in the House of Commons

(1988)

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MSc in Financial Law

(London School of Economics, 1991)

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Worked as a Lawyer for 10 years

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Bad situation/Divorce

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Certified Raw Chef

(Institute of Living Light)

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Certified Health Coach

(Institute of Integrative Nutrition)

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CEO, Nosh Detox Ltd

(2007)

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Opened Nosh Infusion Clinic

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continuous formal education e.g. certifications in health coaching

BSc Biological Sciences

(University of Essex, 2016)

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MSc International Health Management

(Imperial College Business School, 2017)

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Entry-level job

(eg clinic coordinator)

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Analyst

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Manager

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Director

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CEO of an aesthetic clinic

Fig 4: Comparison of candidates' career journey

My first candidate, Valerie Philips, a CEO and director, coming from a career-driven background knew she was going to take up the educational path. In addition, she wanted to work in a big company and lead a passion-filled life. While my second candidate, Geeta Siddhu-Robb also emanated from a career-driven background and was raised to be ambitious. Thus she sought formal education. All in all, both candidates' career journeys illustrate that their career-driven backgrounds could be the probable influence for their decision to follow formal education. Furthermore, both leaders pursued education up until postgraduate level and obtained qualifications through their careers. I also observed a pattern in both leaders of ambition as a guide, coupled with working in job roles, which agreed with their personal values and interests. During the course of my research, I learnt that a majority of the entry-level jobs within the aesthetic industry require professional qualifications. With beauty therapy level 3 being the most attractive to employers. In that light, this has encouraged me to obtain further qualifications as a career development strategy. I recently obtained a level 3 NQV qualification in venipuncture as a direct result of this coursework.

Conclusively, these leaders have imparted in me that;

learning to deal with uncertainty is a key for success. Added to this, as a female, motherhood should be incorporated into my career plan as this can sometimes serve as a driver. Lastly, never give up and remain kind to all those you meet on your way up.

Conclusions and Reflections

Thus this brings me to the final pivotal point of this career journey where I reflect on my findings and insights, which I have gained. I have learnt several lessons along the way. However, I have highlighted what I believe to be keystone lessons.

As Warren Buffet once said, ‘to never work a day in your life, do what you are passionate about everyday'. These words could not ring any truer. Ubiquitously, I observed in the leaders that the zeal to do what motivated them was what led them to become CEOs. My take home message from this is that I am reassured that gaining a range of experience within the industry is the right step for me. That being said, I am aware that as the aesthetics industry continues to grow, it will become increasingly innovative. Thus, in accordance with my mentors' career path, my strategy is to acquire managerial and consultant job roles in both private and NHS markets, in order to stay updated in healthcare management challenges so that when I come to running my own business, I am equipped with strategic experience and expertise in consumerism so that I am able to establish a exemplar clinic with a level of excellence just like shouldice hospital.

Furthermore, as a direct result of this coursework, I have begun to obtain further qualifications in tune with my interest to make myself more appealing to employers. I currently hold an NQV Level 3 certification in venipuncture. I also aim to obtain a beauty therapy level 3 qualification, as this is another commonly sought after qualification by employers.

So my step-by-step breakdown:

MSc IHM

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Beauty Therapy Qualification/Job Application

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Clinic Manager

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Consultant

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CEO

Fig 5: Steps in Career Path

I also want to gain global experience as I mentioned in my initial career plan. Once I attain the title of manager, this will be my next step. Mentors reinforced global experience is necessary because of the type of industry I am in. With the US being the global industry leaders, I believe this will serve advantageous in my career journey. I believe I have been equipped with valuable skills during the course of my taught modules. For example, in my global business strategy module, I learnt that local knowledge is valuable as a strategy when maintaining competitive advantage. Within the next 3-5 years, I plan to apply to job roles within consultancy firms with global affiliations with the aim of working my way up the ladder. This will provide me with global experience. Research shows that such companies recruit people with global cultural competence. (Currencyfair.com, 2017)   In agreement with my personality type, consultants require confidence and a strong work ethic.  (Moo.com, 2014) Thus, over the next few years, I believe I can gain competence as well as global expertise.

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