Neural Pathways: Matthew Satterthwaite

In Episode 5 of Neural Pathways, we talk to Matthew Satterthwaite, Consulting & Deals Associate at PwC. Listen to the full episode on Spotify.

Matthew Satterthwaite believes that a background in neuroscience and psychology can be valuable to any type of career or company, because having an understanding of human behaviour is always an asset when working with others. This understanding contributes to his success at PwC Canada, a management consulting group. Management consultants are trained experts who are brought on by businesses to analyze data, devise strategies and offer recommendations for any given problem. As an associate at PwC, he works on projects with a core team of three to five people per project to drive these analyses. His day-to-day work is a combination of meetings with his team and their client and individual analysis time. Matthew says that his favourite part of his job is that every project he works on is different, which allows him to always face fresh challenges and develop varying skillsets.

Matthew completed his Master’s research at The Neuro, where he studied human decision making and the areas of the brain involved in this process. He was focused on academia and science for a long time, and unsure of what career path he would take. During the last few years of his studies, Matthew realized that he was very interested in business problems and wanted to bring scientific thinking into a large business company – and consulting gave him the option to do that! He appreciates that he has opportunities to touch on science or neuroscience topics in his conversations with his clients. “Being able to merge business and science is something that is actually really fun for me,” he explains.

Throughout his graduate studies, Matthew was involved with a number of extracurriculars, including positions on the Graduate Student Association for Neuroscience (GSAN) and the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS), which he believes were good ways of stepping outside of the classroom (or the lab) and challenging himself in different situations. Notably, he says that his position as a Financial Affairs Officer on PGSS, which required him to manage budgets and allocate funds, was a learning experience that is now very helpful to his current job. He was able to gain a better understanding of how an organization functions and how to collaborate with others for the best interest of the organization, which he believes is valuable knowledgewhen working with a client and understanding the challenges that their company is facing. These activities also allowed Matthew to develop his communication skills, which he considers to be a crucial competency when moving into a career. “You can have a great idea…but until you can communicate it in a way where your audience can support it, they won’t understand or appreciate the message.”

Describing his experiences, an important message Matthew conveyed is that every challenge faced is a very valuable learning experience. His final piece of advice is for trainees to take every opportunity and to try things that interest them, even if they have doubts of their capabilities. “At best, you’ll be super successful and get a great outcome; at worst, it’s a learning experience and something you can improve on and build off of.”

To find out more about Matthew and PwC:

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