Cyber Security Graduate Thrives at World Leading Professional Services Firm

Diana Doschannikova, a BSc Cyber Security graduate, secured a role at Marsh McLennan, a world-leading firm in risk and strategy.

For BSc Cyber Security graduate, Diana Doschannikova, her time studying at Staffordshire University London was marked by both academic achievement and discovering new interests in the form of policies and regulations. Since graduating in 2023 from the University, Diana has since secured a role at Marsh McLennan, a world leading professional services firm in risk and strategy with 85,000 colleagues across the globe advising clients in over 130 countries and an annual revenue of over $23 billion (USD).

In reflection of how she began to learn about Marsh McLennan. Diana stated, “I began following MMC (Marsh and McLennan Companies) after graduating and began reading their annual report for 2022. I decided then and there that I wanted to a be a part of their community. So, when MMC announced a year-long internship in risk management, I applied without hesitation!”. The annual report went in-depth about the momentum across the business, even through today’s turbulent geo-political landscape and economic volatility. Amid, the uncertainty and complexity laid out in the report, Marsh McLennan gave Diana the confidence and possibility to seize the opportunity to apply.

Studying at Staffordshire University London has proven invaluable to Diana’s professional development. Diana said, “Everything was covered during my studies. I come across all sorts of reports, and the ability to read and understand all these documents is crucial for assessing the nature and severity of risks”. One of the key skills, Diana developed was research which included finding information, summarising, mapping, and taking detailed notes. By the end of her second year, she was adept at recalling information for exams and sourcing data without the aid of any AI programmes. Information mapping has been a crucial skill in her professional life, aiding in risk assessment by mapping out security controls, visualising gaps, and identifying dependencies.

As a student of SUL Computing, Diana’s time as a student was also spent participating in the International Hackathon, a 24-hour competition where ideas are designed, developed, deployed, and demonstrated. At the Hackathon, teams were formed within her class, followed swiftly by empathy mapping, by identifying the opportunity and find the problem to solve, afterwards the team would have to build and prototype their idea and solution. Diana remarked, “Although machine learning was not strongest area, I enjoyed the challenge and were thrilled when we team finished in third place, across the whole of Europe!”. This experience, among others, helped to shape Diana’s practical understanding of cyber security.

As an alumnus, Diana also expressed a desire to stay more connected with Staffordshire University London, especially it’s Cyber Security community. While Diana continues to develop within her career path, she does recognise the importance of addressing the gender imbalance within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Women have been often under-represented in STEM for many years both in university and in industry. Diana offered advice for current female students considering a degree in the field, "I would say, change your attitude, if you can't change your situation." This mindset has helped her navigate challenges with work. Diana now views mistakes as opportunities to learn rather than sources of frustration as she notes, “As a newcomer, I make mistakes from time to time, and instead of being angry at myself, I am taking them as an opportunity to learn”. She also emphasised the importance of maintaining good mental health.

Diana also believes that mentoring programmes are essential for encouraging more women to pursue careers in Cyber Security. She mentioned, “Connecting newcomers with experienced mentors can provide valuable advice and support.” Diana frequently sought guidance from her mentor when information was not readily available online.

In Diana’s career, she has also made significant achievements, such as contributing to the development multiple projects. She said, “I had the chance to help develop MMC’s Cyber/IT Risk Taxonomy. I got lots of help from my team and co-workers, and this project helped me to observe one of the most important aspects of risk management! Throughout the project, we had to map things out, seek for use cases, refer to our own experience, speak with professionals throughout the company and re-map it until everyone was satisfied!”

Reflecting on her time at Staffordshire University London, Diana attributed much of her success to the education and support she received. She was particularly grateful to Dr. Vahid Heydari, who encouraged her to persevere during her first year, and Dr. Maryam Shahpasand, who provided invaluable mentorship. Dr. Heydari stated, “Diana’s high level of engagement and consistent attendance were exemplary throughout her time at Staffordshire University London. She demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her academic journey, which was truly inspiring to both her peers and lecturers.” Dr. Heydari also highlighted the support and guidance she received during her time as a student, “Diana discovered her strengths and planned her specialism within Cyber Security early on, seeking advice from colleagues to hone her focus. With that determination, she also realised the networking potential that Staffordshire University London uniquely offers and used it to her benefit, establishing connections that have supported her career.”

Looking ahead, Diana is excited about the future of cyber security and remains committed to continuous learning and professional growth. She is determined to make a significant impact in the field, advocating for greater gender diversity and supporting upcoming talent through mentorship and community engagement. Diana's journey from Staffordshire University London to Marsh McLennan serves as an inspiring testament to the power of dedication, resilience, and the invaluable support of an educational community.

A female graduate in blue sweater posing for a photo.
I began following MMC (Marsh and McLennan Companies) after graduating and began reading their annual report for 2022. I decided then and there that I wanted to a be a part of their community. So, when MMC announced a year-long internship in risk management, I applied without hesitation!

Diana Doschannikova, BSc Cyber Security graduate

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