“I really enjoyed the Masterclass today, it's the first Brokerage event I've attended and it has definitely surpassed the expectations I had. There was a great laid back atmosphere, and it helped me learn a lot and feel comfortable asking questions.”
Our January series of Career Masterclasses is now a popular fixture on the Brokerage calendar, and the 2015 edition saw some brilliant sessions. Some of last year’s favourites made a welcome return, and we also had some unique additions to the schedule.
In total, we ran nine Masterclass sessions with over 100 students attending at least one. Here’s a quick summary and some key take aways from each of the sessions:
An Introduction to careers in Communications, Marketing and Public Relations
Hosted by Chelcie Whitmore, a Brokerage Alumni Network member, this was a brilliant session explaining outlining the various careers within comms and marketing and some advice on entry routes and finding the right area. Chelcie is on the Graduate Programme at Transport for London and gave some fascinating examples and case studies from TfL of the importance of comms and client experience.
“What’s the message? Who is it aimed at? Comms is about answering these two key questions – getting the right message out, to the right people, in the right way.”
Chelcie Whitmore, Transport for London
Navigating undergraduate and graduate opportunities; The City and Beyond!
This session was hosted by Toib Olomowewe, another Brokerage Alumni Network member. it was structured around his unusual career pathway – Toib has worked in investment banking, the civil service, teaching via Teach First and is now at Procter & Gamble - and it was absolutely fascinating and enlightening to find out how his idea of the “perfect job” changed with each step of his journey. It was also an interactive session, with everyone identifying what factors were most important to them when choosing a career.
The key message? There is so much more to a career than earning money. Enjoyment, fulfilment, motivation, ethics, work-life balance – these are just as important, if not more so.
Lloyd's of London: Talk and tour with Reg Brown
One of the favourites from last year’s Masterclasses returned, with Reg Brown leading a tour of the fascinating Lloyd’s building and an introduction to the World’s leading specialist insurance market.
Reg is a Trustee of the Brokerage and a real insurance luminary. He has decades of experience within the industry, is the former President of the Chartered Institute of Insurers, current Chairman of the Managing General Agents’ Association and prominent member of the Worshipful Company of Insurers. We were treated to his unique insights into a building that has hosted so much of his professional life. From the amazing Adam Room (literally moved from previous Lloyd’s buildings), to the Old Library where Reg spent many hours studying towards his law degree, to the Market Floor itself where hundreds of billions of pounds worth of insurance premiums are negotiated every year.
We also had the honour of two very special guests. Firstly Kaan Yardimci gave an overview of his journey into insurance, from informally becoming Reg’s mentee during sixth form through various internships and into his current role in international business development with Lloyd’s. Then we were joined by none other than the CEO of Lloyd’s of London, Inga Beale! She talked about her priorities for Lloyd’s and the insurance market, and provided her own advice for the students. Most importantly, she urged anyone looking for a career in a dynamic, fast moving, client driven and international industry to consider insurance.
Careers in Insurance & Risk Management
On to another insight into insurance, and this time we were hosted by Marsh – one of the biggest global names in insurance. It was really interesting to hear about the industry from the perspective of a broker (as opposed to the underwriting perspective within Lloyd’s).
One of the highlights was a case study activity where we worked in teams as brokers to work through a risk portfolio, based on real scenarios Marsh have been involved in. As brokers, we had to identify the risks inherent in our scenario, press our client for more information and then present our assessment of the risks back to the underwriter with a hope that they will be willing to take on those risks – and at a reasonable price!
“The fundamental principle of insurance is that the premiums of the many pay for the losses of the few. From this principle, insurance has grown into an industry that underpins all business activity around the world.”
James Peace, Senior Vice President at Marsh
Introducing Bank of New York Mellon and Depository Receipts
Another returning favourite from last year’s Masterclass series, Ian Pledger hosted us at BNY Mellon in the iconic 1 Canada Square for this wide-ranging event.
Kicking off with an introduction to the BNY Mellon – the world’s biggest deposit bank with more than $28 trillion assets under custody – Ian then took us into an insight of the specialist area that he has worked in for over 20 years, depository receipts.
For what is a quite technical area of banking, Ian was able to explain it in terms that even the Brokerage team could understand! As well as the technical side, it was also really interesting to learn about the product and business development side as well – we found out about his work in developing markets, with depository receipts offering a unique opportunity to bring investment into businesses in emerging economies. From Iraq to Zambia, we heard about the achievements of Ian and his team along with the difficulties and challenges they’ve faced along the way.
We were also joined by several undergraduate interns at BNY Mellon, who gave a quick overview of their experience and shared their advice for our students.
Succeeding in Assessment Centres & Psychometric testing
Potentially our most vital Masterclass, but also one of the most entertaining too. Hosted by Richard Zaborski at RBS, he covered a huge amount over the morning and it was all brilliantly insightful and useful. Richard is a Brokerage Trustee, and Director for Training and Development at RBS with years of experience in Human Resources and Recruitment.
The Masterclass was very interactive, with everyone getting a chance to practice the tests and exercises that are really used. It was a chance to get some behind the scenes insight into what assessment centres are used for, what employers are looking for and the common mistakes that candidates are making (but often not realising). We covered the formal aspects (the numerical and verbal reasoning tests, the group exercises, the interviews, etc) but also the informal aspects too, like the importance of good first impressions and your interactions with your fellow candidates.
The key message was practice, practice, practice! Assessment centres are inherently fairer than a straight interview as they provide a balanced view of candidates in a variety of situations, and preparation for each of the stages within the centre will ensure you are giving your best possible impression.
Audit and Risk and Microscope
Brokerage Alumni Network member and Risk Manager at W.R. Berkley, Iman Khabireh led this Masterclass that followed his career journey through external audit, internal audit and into risk management (but in reverse). You’d perhaps expect it to be a bit of a dry subject, but Iman’s fast paced and entertaining delivery style meant that we had to bring this Masterclass back after it proved such a favourite in 2014.
For candidates who were already considering a career in audit, there were tons of helpful tips and advice, but equally for those that hadn’t considered this career area before there was a lot of very interesting advice and hints to think about. The free-wheeling structure of the Masterclass covered some enlightening case studies about how risk assessments are constructed, before discussions on emerging risks like cyberterrorism, self-driving cars and even transhumanism!
Social Enterprise: What does it mean?
It’s the business concept that everyone seems to be talking about at the moment, but what actually is a “Social Enterprise”?
After running a Masterclass on the role of a Business Analyst in 2014, this year Noor Khan took a totally different route with a session answering the question of just what Social Enterprise means. Noor is a member of the Brokerage Alumni Network, having worked at Deutsche Bank after graduating he is now an associate at OnPurpose.
This interactive session took us through the basic concept behind a social enterprise, and explained how it fills the niche between philanthropic businesses and enterprise-related charities. Noor looked at some of the Big problems facing society in the 21st century, and the advantages of a social enterprise model over a traditional business or charity set up.
Finally the group got involved in coming up with their own social enterprise ideas, and started to think about how they might go about making them a reality via seed funding routes like NESTA or Tourbox.
When Investment Banks work together: An introduction to Syndicated Loans
Our last Masterclass was hosted at Commerzbank by Brokerage Alumni Network member, Stacy Griffiths.
The session focussed on her specialist business area, Syndicated Loans. This important aspect of banking is the basis for much of the corporate finance activity around the world. While it can be a highly technical subject, Stacy did a great job in providing a digestible explanation that even the Brokerage team could get our heads around. While there are potentially billions in profits or losses on the line, it was fascinating to hear about the importance of personal relationships and fundamental skills like communication and teamwork in deciding success or failure.
With some brilliant case studies, we got a good insight into the different types of transactions and how a typical deal might be constructed.
Many candidates are interested in “Front Office” type roles within banking and this was a great insight into one of those areas that perhaps hasn’t got the same profile as something like trading, but nevertheless offers many brilliant opportunities in a fascinating market.