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Monday, 14 September 2015
The Year 13 boys spent the first SPACE session of the year hearing from Old Boy Michael Yates via a live link with Hong Kong.
After leaving Bolton School, Michael studied Political Science at Newcastle University. After completing his degree, he joined Procter & Gamble (P&G) as an Account Executive and Unit Manager in Convenience and Impulse Channels UK, working in London. In 2005 he became the Sales Associate Director: Boots and Pharmacy Channel UK, and in 2006 he moved to Singapore to become the Sales Associate Director: Tesco Asia. Since then he has worked in Kiev (Sales Associate Director: Ukraine), Frankfurt (Sales Director: Metro Group CEEMA) and Johannesburg (Sales Director: Southern and Eastern Africa and Managing Director: South Africa). He is now based in Hong Kong as the Vice President: Market Strategy and Planning Greater China.
Following an introduction to his career, Michael opened the floor to questions. The Year 13 students were all really engaged and had plenty of questions to ask.
One of the experiences that he related to the boys took place during his university years. He and some fellow students spent the summer months taking aerial photos of villages around the UK and recruiting other students to sell framed copies door-to-door in these areas. In 1995, the business managed to turn over a million pounds for ten weeks of work: an impressive feat! Michael went on to explain that this commercial success was the crucial factor that helped him to get his interview with P&G.
He talked about how companies are looking to recruit young people who can talk about something outside of their academic careers, and although a strong degree is important, it’s also vital to show evidence of their leadership qualities and other soft skills.
This was a really valuable and exciting opportunity for the boys to speak to a successful Old Boy who has gone on to achieve a great deal since leaving Bolton School. He gave some excellent advice to the current Year 13 and gave them a wonderful insight into what qualities and skills companies are looking for in young people today.
SPACE sessions take place every other week on a Monday afternoon, taking boys from Year 7 to the Sixth Form out of their usual timetable and giving them the opportunity to expand their learning beyond normal lessons. The SPACE Programme is about planned curriculum enrichment and the boys take part in a wide range of activities every fortnight to this end. In the same SPACE session, Year 11 pupils attended a talk on Men’s Health issues from Old Boy Dr Alexander Brodie, the Year 7 boys learned more about Lord Leverhulme and the School’s heritage, and pupils in Year 9 were visited by representatives of the RNLI to find out more about this charity’s vital work.
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