Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Edel Butler from Irish Tax Institute to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Edel Butler

Administrative Officer

Irish Tax Institute

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  Edel Butler
I think a career in tax is very rewarding and is an enjoyable career. There are a varied number of jobs which are available to someone with a tax qualification, including private practice, industry, Revenue, lecturing etc. The role of a tax adviser in practice or indeed within Revenue is, in my experience, extremely varied and challenging.

I would advise college students who are considering a career in tax to look into placements offered by their colleges / summer internships. I know from my time spent in private practice that a great number of the bigger accountancy / tax practice offer such positions to college students. This is a great way for such students to get a feel for what a career in tax entails and will help them in making a decision as to whether or not tax is something that they would enjoy.
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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Devin Scannell - Engagement Manager

Devin Scannell is an engagement manager at McKinsey & Co in San Francisco. He works as an advisor to pharma, medical devices and health insurance companies as well as academic medical centres, health systems and public health organisations. Devin primarily focuses on personalised medicine and “Big Data” in healthcare.

Describe your typical day

As a consultant, I work with global public health organisations. I also do some high-tech work. For example, a company has three molecules that it could put forward for clinical trials, but can only choose one. I help them decide which to choose. At the start of a project I do a lot of research. Then I have meetings with experts, including doctors and scientists. After that, I meet with the people within the company. During a project, you address specific questions and build a consensus as to whether molecule one, two or three is the best.

What’s cool about your job?

Each project lasts six to eight weeks. I’ve also a lot of control about what projects I work on. Every eight weeks, I learn about something that is fairly new to me.

What are the main challenges?

I work to very strict deadlines and the hours tend to be very long. It can be very fast paced and sometimes it is a little bit stressful.

What subjects did you take in school and did they influence your career path?

Everything I do now was set by subjects I studied in school. I focused on physics, applied maths and chemistry.

What did you do after school?

I studied human genetics at Trinity College Dublin. After that I did a PhD in Trinity, building on the genetics base but adding more computers (bioinformatics). Then I moved to University of California, Berkeley to do a postdoc in the same area. How did you transition from being research based to being a consultant? The company I work for recruit directly from PhD programmes and it does a certain amount of retraining on business topics.

What advice would you give to students considering a job like this?

I would say get a solid foundation in maths and science. Really become a master of your domain in a certain area. Take responsibility for a technically demanding project. Also, maintain interest in the bigger picture, like how that technology or field of science fits into the wider world.

What inspired your love of science?

When I was about seven, I thought it would be really great to be a doctor. At around 12 years old, I realised that a doctor could only see a certain number of patients every day. There is someone behind them inventing the medicine. The person doing that would be helping millions of people. I decided I wanted to be a scientist and try to help develop cures.

Article by: Smart Futures