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Scott Jacobs

University of Hull

BSc Applied MSc Physics
scott jacobs headshot

The Company;

Skills Learned;

The Big Picture

Scott started his role as a Business Data Analyst at Vivergo in July 2019 straight after finishing university. Vivergo Fuels is a biofuels business producing bioethanol and animal feed.

The Application Process

The original role Scott applied for was a Commercial Data Analyst (which is different to his current job) and he saw this advertised on the University of Hull job portal. 

The application process was fairly straight forward as it used an online web portal to apply, this involved numeracy and literacy tests to ensure he passed basic skills levels. Scott then attended an interview with HR and Commercial Managers where he was asked standard interview questions and required to provide examples of analysis which he had produced in the past. There was then an interview task which involved Scott producing graphs, a presentation and narrative based on a spreadsheet of price timeline data, the graphs and commentary he provided were well received. He was then invited back a week later to meet the Business Director and was offered the job.

“It was an opportunity to show them what I could do.

Set Backs

Scott was initially keen to join a graduate program as it offers gradual development with various stages of progression and he was nervous about jumping straight into the workplace. However despite it being daunting on the first couple of days, taking on his current role was quite comfortable as there are processes and systems in place.

“Despite graduate programmes being the obvious choice, diving into the deep end wasn’t actually that bad.

“The feeling of rejection is rubbish, especially when you’re trying to write your dissertation too and thinking I’m never going to get a job, I’m never gonna do this, it’s tough but if you don’t do it, you aren’t going to get where you want to.

“Some companies will give you some feedback and listen to that.

The Company

Vivergo Fuels is a world scale biofuels business, at full production, the £350 million plant can produce up to 420 million litres of bioethanol and 500,000 tonnes of animal feed. They are one of Europe’s biggest bioethanol producers and the UK’s largest single source of animal feed.

Day to Day

Based within the IT team in his role as a Business Data Analyst, Scott spends a lot of time using Excel to create data models using Power Query, this allows him to manipulate multiple data sources and use Power Query to create relationships between databases which enables him to analyse information. He also uses Qlik Sense, which he uses to build dashboards that can analyse huge volumes of information. A large number of data sources can be included in the dashboards to suit the user’s requirements and provides knowledge and data for decisions within various teams across the business eg. operational or financial.

Vivergo has a good culture in relation to training and places importance on people improving, Scott has training scheduled to help him develop further in his role.

The Physics Connection

“Physics as a degree is a great experience and the learning was brilliant, however unless you want to go into teaching or research there’s no direct physics route. However the degree sets you up with so many transferable skills that people use day to day and they don’t even realise… It gives you an unconscious ability to compare and contrast scenarios, we do that every single day and my degree taught me that for sure. It taught me how to understand requirements, evaluate situations and understand the impact of things.

Other skills which Scott identified he learnt through his degree and uses within his current role includes differentiation and understanding rates of change and also interpreting charts and databases, which is a key part of his work.

Previous Experience

During the summer of Scott’s third year at the University of Hull he worked at Virgin Money in the Risk Analytics team based in Newcastle. He assisted statisticians and programmers and gained an understanding of how a big business communicates with its clients and stakeholders.

Advice

“I’m not one of these people who knew what they wanted to do in life. But I always enjoyed asking ‘why’, ‘why’ things worked which explains how I’ve always enjoyed physics. I guess at the time the job was something new, a data analyst draws on alot of the skills you are taught at university.

The Next Step

Scott really enjoys the data analysis aspect of his role and seeing this information used to make decisions across the business. He’s also keen to help guide the implementation of additional data solutions within the organisation, which will provide insight into business wide projects. However he does see himself moving on in a couple of years time as he would also like to take his business skills and use them in a physics field.