I’ve just had a lightbulb moment of absolute clarity. Its been building over the past couple of weeks, and its just struck me like a bolt of lightning. It woke me at 2am in the morning, I was stressing about about a big work problem. And the solution was all about maths/logic and a spreadsheet and stating my assumptions.
It’s just hit me, 15 years after graduating that my degree in Mathematics with Management and Statistics was worth so much. And that decision I took at 22 of picking HSBC as my first graduate job and studying for CIMA was one of my most sensible life choices ever. How can I have had such insight at the tendor age of 22?
I was lucky at that early age to have had some great work experience. I did a sandwich degree at uni which involved 2 x 6 month placements out in industry. Again a decision I took at 18, thanks to a great career advisor at Penwith college in Penzance who recommended I looked at that type of degree. Interestingly I ended up at Brunel doing my degree as a 2nd choice. Fate decided to give me a B for my A-level maths so I couldn’t get into Warwick, my first choice. I wonder where I would be if I’de got my A and had gone to Warwick to study mathematics, economics, operational research and statistics (a right mouthful – known as MORSE!).
Alas at 19 I spent my first industrial placement of 6 months at a chartered accountancy firm, not impressed, but could see the value in the training. And the age 21 I spent 6 months on a business placement program at M&S. Fantastic opportunity that gave me the passion for retail and gave me an excellant basis in management theory and leadership. This resulted in an offer of a full time graduate scheme offer. Exciting. Again fate comes into play in 1999 M&S were going through turbulent times and they took a short-term decision to make all their 1999 class of graduates redundant. I was given a cheque for £1000, lovely:-), and 20 companies came our way to offer is places in the graduate scheme of our choice.
I had the choice between Tesco, John Lewis (I remember the wierd dress and makeup code, keep it plain!), Barclays Bank, Woolworths (!) even Goldman Sachs and MI5. And HSBC. Why did I cose HSBC? I think the presentation impressed me the most and I liked the idea of being a 22 year old who worked in the city, plus I remember the starting salary was the highest, apart from maybe Goldmans;-) I had just met my boyfriend who worked in the city and had a great job, so I thought I can do that. The HSBC role ended up giving me the option of chosing a banking qualification or CIMA. An easy decision with some research…CIMA.
And the rest is history…I qualified quickly within 2 years, got some amazing management training and women in leadership training. I went to work for Tesco for 5 years after qualifying and getting my ACMA letters after my name, again was properly looked after but worked very hard. Had baby 1 at age of 30. Returned to work to Threshers, had baby no 2, during my mat leave threshers went bust. Returned to work for EE, working for an ex-Tesco colleague as a commercial manager. And so began the networking world of its not what you know its who you know!
4 years later I’ve had my 3rd baby, I’m 37 and am sat here in the best job in my entire career. Everything happened for a reason.
I’m able to do my job because of all that experience and background and its tonight where I’ve sat here and knocked out a cashflow forecast in 2 hours that I realise how good I could be and how much I know and how much I can help my company and those I work with. And its all because I did my maths degree and I studied for CIMA. Boy did I make the right choices as a youngster.