Since my last meeting with Yogi I had acted on the advice he had given me including updating my CV, reading the two books and buying a new tie. I had also accepted a job at Towers Watson where I did a summer internship last July. Although I received the offer before coming onto the mentoring scheme, it wasn’t something I wanted to go into at the time. Investment had always been more appealing to me than actuarial (the line of work I had been offered), and so I had postponed signing the contract in the hope I could secure a job in my ideal industry. However after applying to job after job, before and after our last meeting, being rejected hours after my applications were sent off, I realised I had taken the job offer from Towers Watson a little for granted. I think I had also been a bit apprehensive about confirming a job as it is such a big change from University life and so rather than not accepting it because it wasn’t something I wanted to do, I was maybe just scared about setting my future in stone.
Although I had a confirmed graduate job, I still wanted to make use of Yogi’s experience both in his career and generally in life. I therefore went down to London again (this time to a restaurant in Gerrards cross where his office is based) to have another meeting.
As I mentioned in the last blog, I felt a bit annoyed with myself for not asking the questions I wanted to ask in our meeting in December. I therefore wanted to make sure I had the confidence to speak up in this meeting and change the course of conversation if I felt it wasn’t beneficial. In the end, the meeting was a great success. It seemed more informal than our previous meetings, and although I learnt a lot, we still managed to have a bit of a laugh.
Here’s a list of questions and answers I asked throughout the meeting: Why do an MBA?
- Change from work, want to do something different, opens many doors and provides a completely new experience. After speaking to Yogi about this, it’s made me want to do an MBA in a few years time, something I hadn’t even considered before coming onto the mentoring scheme.
When did you decide on a career in Investment?
- Yogi’s answer surprised me for this. He told me that it was at business school (8/9 years after graduating from Birmingham) when he got invited to an interview with Goldman Sachs when it was something he started considering (Yogi hadn’t heard of Goldman Sachs before this yet left as an executive director 10 years later). This was quite a nice thought to me in that a graduate job wasn’t the only way of making it into the industry.
What are your biggest regrets from your career?
- Not spending enough time with friends and family. You’re not going to remember the number crunching/spreadsheet sifting of work later in life, but good times with friends and family will always be there.
Why leave Goldman Sachs and set up a business?
- Preferred a long term outlook on business. Wanted something of his own. Was in a position where if it failed, he could go back to a bank for work.
What tips do you have on building confidence?
- Put yourself in as many situations as possible. Don’t worry too much if things don’t go as well as you hoped. Try to think that you are putting yourself out there when other people aren’t.
A few other things we talked about:
- Don’t spend too much time in one career – try to move careers every 5 years with a maximum of 10 years in any one job.
- We discussed the main roles of an investment bank.
- Recommended to read ‘outliers’ and ‘bounce’.
- That the most successful people in the world are thought to have one common trait – they are incredibly hard working.
This will probably be the last time me and Yogi arrange to meet as part of the mentoring scheme, however we are going to keep in touch in the future.
Overall, it’s been a really good experience. It’s completely different to anything I have done before, I feel my confidence has grown and I have learnt a great deal. Although I didn’t act how I would have hoped at the start of the relationship, I was happy how things turned out and it shows to be persistent and not give up.
I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor, Yogi’s been really helpful throughout and I look forward to keeping in touch in the future.
All the best for those thinking of applying to the scheme, I would definitely recommend it.
Since my last blog, I have met Yogi twice, the first time was at the start of December in
London and more recently last Friday in Gerrards Cross where his office is based. I’ll split these two meetings into separate blogs for ease of reading.
Our meeting in December was at a sushi restaurant near Marylebone station. This meeting centered around how best to get a job in the Investment industry.
As soon as we met, Yogi asked me to stand up so he could check my appearance:
No hair gel – Tick
White shirt – Tick
No facial hair – Tick
Black tie was too dull – Get something brighter yet not over the top. Belt – Required
Remove the earring
Shoes – Could do with more of a polish
Suit – OK but could do with investing in something a bit better if I could.
We then looked over my CV. I’ll detail the key points:
- Fit it into one page (not really enough content to justify two pages).
- Have 4 bullet points at the top of the page highlighting my most important selling points.
- Order work experience above education.
- Bullet point main roles/accomplishments for each work experience.
We then talked about applying for jobs. I had applied to over 20 internships/jobs within Investment after starting my second year at University without even getting through the initial stages. We discussed different alternative strategies for applying, however Yogi told me that overall what it comes down to is simply a numbers game where you should only expect something from about 1 in 30 applications. I had thought that there was maybe some special techniques that applicants used in order to secure positions at Investment firms, so was a little disappointed with the realization of the situation. However with my CV updated, my chances of being successful in the application process would hopefully increase.
At the end of the meeting, Yogi suggested a couple of books to read: Liar’s Poker: A book about a trader at Solomon Brothers in the 1980s and Snapshots from Hell: The retelling of an MBA student’s experiences at Stanford Business School.
Although this was our second meeting, I had still been a bit nervous throughout. I had prepared a list of questions before our meeting but (although it sounds stupid) had managed to only ask two of them due to nerves. The meeting was overall very useful but I was a bit annoyed that I hadn’t expressed myself in the way I wanted.
Just got back from my second proper meeting with Simon.
We met at the CBSO Centre which is where he works sometimes and I said I’d never been before, so he took a bit of time to show me round which was a) nice of him and b) really useful as I’ve got to attend some rehearsals there in June/July, so now I know my way round a bit!
I brought my laptop as I wanted to show him some stuff I’d saved on there from two music schools in Germany that he’d recommended to me (the UDK and the Hanns Eisler, in case you didn’t already know!). I’d just saved some bits of the application forms/entry requirements that I had some questions about. I speak a tiny bit of German but only up to GSCE level and it’s not enough to handle the hefty university blurb!
We had a talk about what was on the forms I showed him – basically he just told me what the audition requirements were – and then we got on to talking about entry requirements, how to apply, when the admission dates were, etc. He obviously didn’t know much about these – I’m the one applying, not him! – so instead he promised to put me in touch with two former students he knew. Both students have been to both the UDK and the Hanns Eisler, doing an Undergrad at one and a Postgrad at the other. So that should also be really helpful!
The whole applying to a uni in a different country thing is pretty daunting. It’s going to take me a while to get the hang of where to apply and a whole new set of term dates and things, let alone grasp a new language! I’m currently resurrecting my German via the online courses at Duolingo.com, which I’d really recommend.
So I’ll await Simon’s emails and start looking at entry times and things. I’m even going to try and see if I can get a tour of the UDK and the HE, so I might actually be jetting off to Berlin sometime in the near future! I’m glad I’m taking a couple of years out before I apply, just because it gives me time to get a job, save money, improve my German and get things in order. Watch this space!
Baroness Massey and I arranged our first meeting via email. After the initial email I received one asking if I could come down to London for tea in the House of Lords! Not what I was expecting, but it was a really nice surprise.
I went to the House of Lords and our meeting went really well. We got something to drink and discussed what I wanted to get out of our sessions and what I was hoping to do after university. As I don’t know what I want to do, we are both going to do a bit of research into possibilities. We discussed the idea of taking a year out next year to clear my head since I never took a gap year and we agreed that it was difficult to make a decision with so much other stuff going on this year. Next time we will make a list of all the things I might like to do.
I got a brief tour around the House of Lords, and I then got to sit in and listen to proceedings! Finding out you have a mentor is great, but you never know what to expect until you meet them. Now that I have met Doreen, I’m so pleased. She made me realise it was OK not to have a long term career plan already laid out, which was a relief.
Five months after the mentoring scheme began I travelled down to London to meet Mike for our final face to face meeting. Whilst Mike is obviously incredibly busy he has always made time for us to meet and is genuinely enthusiastic about the scheme.
At our previous meeting after initially discussing both Mike’s and my own experiences we had quickly settled to discussing what I wanted to get out of my career. This was something I found really hard to answer and I defiantly left the session with more questions than answers (in a good way). I found it really useful to be able to discuss ideas and get honest feedback from Mike and I think this really helped when it came to deciding the career I wanted to pursue.
Armed with info from our first meeting I was able to decide on the kind of role I would like in a future career. I completed the appropriate applications and went to assessment centres. Again Mike’s advice was really useful during this time, and he was able to give some good advice as someone who is part of the interview process. After this I was lucky enough to receive offers for graduate schemes at a couple of companies, and accepted a role in the oil and gas sector.
All this meant that as I travelled down to London I was in a very different position to our previous meeting. Whilst we had kept up to date with my progress, the first part of our meeting was spent catching up with each other and discussing Sainsbury’s involvement in Red Nose Day. Following this we discussed the role I would be taking and Mike was able to provide great advice for settling down and making a good impression at a new company, it was interesting to see how many of the skills required for my role were transferrable even though I will be entering a completely different sector.
We both agreed that as I had now secured a graduate place and we both had busy periods coming up that there was no need to schedule another meeting for the immediate future. We have however left it open if anything should come up during the rest of the term or even after graduation. It was a really enjoyable last meeting with Mike and great to have a successful conclusion to the relationship.
I first met Jane Lodge in October, then November, and again in March this year; she has been a constant help throughout always available to talk to and filled with useful information and stories of her experiences travelling around the world – something I am very envious of! Jane has been a great help with giving me some perspective.
On paper Jane and I don’t necessarily have many professional links as she is a business women specialising in manufacturing and auditing- being a partner of Deloitte for over 25 years and currently a non- executive on the board of Devro; myself, I have a background in marketing and branding and am still very much an undergraduate. However what the first meeting with Jane in October and the two next meetings have taught me is that our mind-sets are very similar. Jane has been a great shoulder to talk to when deciding whether or not to take a year out after university, or what kind of graduate scheme suits me best rather than what ones I have heard of. Also, during the application process she has always remembered what I have applied for and asked me how it is all going.
In terms of skills I have gained so far, Jane has communicated to me the importance of focus. Working hard, researching and planning your decisions means you can ensure it will pay off in the end. As my final second term has drawn to an end and I have firmly decided on a year out and am applying for six month internships, Jane has given me the confidence to make this decision, encouraging me even when finding a six month internship looked bleak. She has also been the voice of reality making sure that I always have a plan A, B and even C with all of my decisions, making sure I will not be disappointed.
So although we may not be initially matched in professions I feel we have been matched perfectly in drive (and hopefully success!!). Jane has been an incredible woman to meet and her confidence and ambition are something that I will take forward with me. This whole ALMP experience has been a useful guide throughout my third and final year in university, constantly reminding me that there is a life outside of the red bricks of Birmingham University; I am now excited to leave and start the new chapter in my life.
It’s been five months since the beginning of the AMLP and since then my relationship with Mayank has continuously developed. I think both of us are really enjoying the scheme and benefitting from each other’s experience and different outlook on the world.
Right now I am on the train back from London to Birmingham, after being invited by Mayank to a prestigious event organised by YPO (Young Presidents’ Organisation) and WPO (World Presidents’ Organisation). The focus of the event was social entrepreneurship, a great interest and passion of mine, which Mayank has well remembered, hence his invitation to me for the event. It was a fantastic evening – networking and a short conference led by Ashoka UK (well-known global network of leading social entrepreneurs) followed by dinner. Mayank introduced me to many of the YPO and WPO members and I also met his wife, who I’ve wanted to meet for a while as she is the one running their family charity and I am interested in finding out more. I had the chance to speak to the head of Ashoka and other social entrepreneurs, which strengthened my network of contacts in that field.
Yesterday evening was the second time Mayank and I meet in person. Our first meeting happened last month when he came to Birmingham and we had lunch together. It was great to finally meet in person after several conversations on the phone or via email. He shares his experience and knowledge with me with great excitement and I can see why he’s been such a successful entrepreneur. He expressed his passion and drive for success in all his business decisions. It was inspiring to listen to his stories about the early years of his career and all the challenges he has faced and what he has done to overcome them. His company, Currencies Direct, is the pioneer private company for foreign currency exchange. Before Mayank came up with the idea, it was only the big banks doing currency exchange. That’s why he is known as the “Man who beat banks at their own game”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2002/dec/28/raceintheuk.mbas.
Mayank has also expressed great interest in my future career plans. I talk to him about all job applications I do and he has even offered me to look over my CV and cover letters. He’s encouraged my application for the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (http://www.newentrepreneursfoundation.co.uk/) which as a prestigious organisation developing future business leaders and fast-growth entrepreneurs. He’s even expressed interested in his company entering the foundation as one of the host companies for the young entrepreneurs.
My relationship with my Mayank now is based on a mutual exchange of experience and interests and it is very much one of friendship. He has been a great mentor so far and I am looking forward to our next meeting when he has invited me to an insight day at his company.