Life after the RVC....tell us your story 

Do you make an interesting profile?  Email us the answers to the questions below and you could be featured next!

Sophie Ignarski BVetMed MRCVS

Year of Graduation - 2010

What’s your current job?  

Assistant to the Bloodstock Advisor at Darley, based at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.  

What was your career journey up until now?  

I developed an interest in thoroughbred racing and breeding while I was at the RVC, and felt that this was the area I wanted to focus on in respect to long-term career plans. Following a year long internship at the Sharjah Equine Hospital in the UAE, I applied for the Darley Flying Start program, a two year management training program for the thoroughbred industry sponsored by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai. The program accepts 12 trainees each year and aims to cover all aspects of the industry, with a range of lectures, practical work and placements throughout the course. After the program, I was offered a permanent job with Darley and have been in this role since July 2013.

What advice would you give others wanting to go down your career path?  

I realise that I have taken a bit of a different path to most newly qualified vets, and probably fall into a minority in that respect. My advice would be to remember that the veterinary degree equips you with a wide range of skills, so there is always scope to go beyond general veterinary practice (whatever stage of your career you are that) if that is what you wish to do.

What do you think are the most valuable skills that you gained from your time at RVC?  

The veterinary course teaches you many things but most of all I learned how to work under a fair bit of pressure - especially around fourth year exam time from what I remember!  

What do you wish you’d known when you graduated from RVC?  

As a fresh graduate, I wish I'd been more confident in my ability to sex a kitten. Embarrassing when you meet the owner a while later and the 'boy' has recently produced a litter of kittens! 

Joanne Brand BVetMed MRCVS

Year of Graduation - 1997  

What’s your current job?  

A vet in an animal charity (Wood Green The Animals Charity)

What was your career journey up until now?  

I spent 18 months in mixed practice after graduating before choosing to locum in small animal practice for a couple of years. I then got a permanent job in a small animal practice and after having a family went part-time and now work at an animal charity

What advice would you give others wanting to go down your career path?  

It's a rewarding and enjoyable career. The money isn't great and the hours can be long, the satisfaction is in doing the best you can for your patients and helping the clients. The first job after graduation is all important in developing and consolidating the skills you need as a vet in practice- find a job with a good support network. Working in the charity sector can be hugely rewarding.

What do you think are the most valuable skills that you gained from your time at RVC?  

The basic clinical skills on which to build on.      

What do you wish you’d know when you graduated from RVC?  

Initially how the responsibility of being the vet in charge weighs on your shoulders. You don't always know the answers and even after 17 years in practice I'm still seeing and learning new things!

Matthew Homfray BVetMed MRCVS  

Year of Graduation - 2004

What’s your current job?

Managing 'Sunset Vet' in Bali, Indonesia (www.sunsetvetbali.com)

What was your career journey up until now?

After graduating I worked in small animal practice in London for 5 years, then wanted to do something entrepreneurial but felt my business skills needed to be sharpened first. So I did an MBA at Imperial College and subsequently spent a year as a management consultant to pharmaceutical companies. I still craved adventure though so decided to move to Bali to work on a rabies eradication project, and fell in love with the island. Once my involvement in the rabies project finished I decided to set up a vet clinic in Bali, which has now become Sunset Vet.

What advice would you give others wanting to go down your career path?

Firstly, many vet clinics are not run as effective businesses due to the principal lacking business skills. I would encourage any young vets hoping to start and grow their own business to consider further education from a business school, as an alternative to specialisation within veterinary medicine.   Secondly, working in a developing country is exciting and brings huge opportunities but also has dangerous pitfalls if you jump in there enthusiastically without doing extensive research first.

What do you think are the most valuable skills that you gained from your time at RVC?

RVC produces very well trained vets - being one of the largest vet schools it has some of the best facilities in Europe. When I see all my old lecturers headlining CPD events in Asia as well as back in Europe I know I was lucky to learn from those people!

What do you wish you’d know when you graduated from RVC?

I wish I had a better awareness of the 'non traditional' career paths for vets.... not only immediately post graduation, but also what they might like to consider a couple of years down the line once they've cemented the knowledge and skills learned at vet school.

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