Starting at Catalyze – Gabriëlla Aisa Bonoko
Gabriëlla Aisa Bonoko is a member of the Life Sciences & Health (LSH) Consultancy team, where she works as an Analyst. In this blog Gabriëlla shares her experiences starting at Catalyze, participating in the Learning & Development programme, and her role in supporting our clients along their innovation journey.
Onboarding at Catalyze
Before Catalyze I studied Biomedical Science and discovered my interest in the business side during an internship at a start-up. This motivated me to pursue a career in grant consultancy and apply for a position as a Junior Consultant (Analyst) in the LSH department at Catalyze. After beginning at Catalyze I was enrolled in a training for Starters. This ‘Starter’s Training’, led by experienced consultants and managers at Catalyze, is part of Catalyze’s Learning & Development (L&D) programme, designed to support our learning and development needs and offer a steep learning curve.
As part of this programme, the Starter’s Training was comprised of a set of 14 modules that covered the basics for a successful start in consulting at Catalyze. From consortium building to market analysis, and sales forecasts to writing strategies for innovation funding applications. From each training module I was able to not only learn the basics of key topics, such as consortium building and market analyses, but also gain valuable advice and general insights. Moreover, I found it helpful that the trainings were given by employees at Catalyze as this enabled them to be tailored and specific to the work we do.
Unlike other Consulting companies, Catalyze is unique in that it provides an exclusive niche focus on LSH and Green & Sustainable Innovations (GSI) and also in that it’s core business lies in grant consulting.
Reflecting on initial experiences
From my experience, the first three months are pivotal in setting the tone for your time at Catalyze. It is during these months that you get time to focus on trainings and orientate around the different grant programmes using resources such as our online Knowledge Centre platform. Overall the structured approach in the L&D program helped in ensuring a smooth adjustment to Innovation Consultancy. My team has also been very supportive in providing their tips and insights and provide a good basis for successful collaboration within projects.
Working on first projects
Before I knew it my first three months had passed and we had covered all the modules in the Starter’s Training. However, my growth and learning process was only just beginning. I then began working on my first projects, initially with supportive roles before taking on increasing responsibility. The first project that I was involved in from start to finish was a German-Swedish R&D collaboration grant, which taught me about consortium building, leading meetings, and proposal structure. With a short timeline and covering the holidays, we were met with a challenge.
However, I have noticed that the most challenging projects often serve as a template for future projects; daily work at Catalyze involves continuous improvement as the work and clients are so varied and diverse that you always take something new from each project. In supporting this notion, the Learning & Development programme has played a key role in supporting my self-development as an LSH consultant.
Key lessons learned and looking forward
Apart from the starter training, the L&D programme also provides trainings to further strengthen our skills and tackle challenges we may face by following up on many of the topics that were covered in the kick-starters training. In particular, I found the trainings on market analysis and the Pharma innovation cycle to be very insightful. The market training has provided me with new skills and tips on how to create a sales forecasts and make educated assumptions in the process. The Pharma training gave me a case-guided insight into the clinical trial phases, a key aspect in supporting innovations in their path to the market. Likewise, a recent training on company financials strengthened my financial literacy and provided me with insights on how to derive essential information about a company’s financial state from their annual reports.
For the future, I look forward to continuing my development with the upcoming trainings and through further work on new projects. This enables me to successfully align with Catalyze’s mission in maximizing value for clients along their innovation journey and creating real impact.
Want to learn more about working at Catalyze? Visit our Careers website.