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Live Link with London Alumni

Monday, 11 May 2015

The Sixth Form boys were able to hear careers advice from three Old Boys in London thanks to a live audio link-up! Matthew Entwistle, Jon Marsden and Richard Washington all live and work in the capital, but found time to talk to the Year 13 boys through a live link over the internet.

Speaking from London, each of the Old Boys gave a brief summary of their career path, from A Levels at Bolton School to their current positions: Matthew as the Operations Director for Monsoon-Accessorize, Jon as a self-employed Business Analyst currently working with OMGI, and Richard as Loans Director in the Retail Banking Division at Lloyds Banking Group.

Richard was the first to give an overview. He talked to the boys about what he learned from each of the roles he has fulfilled in his working life, from working on in-house strategy projects for Reuters, to starting his own small massage company, to leading teams at NatWest in London and RBS in Dusseldorf. He said to the boys that time and again in his career he has learned the importance of getting close to customers, understanding the market, and delivering what is needed. He also emphasised the importance of continuing to develop; he himself studied for an MBA at INSEAD, but also talked about the process of developing while within the world of work as well.

The boys were able to ask a few questions at the end of the talk. One asked for his advice for those wanting to set up their own business, to which he replied that they should talk to as many entrepreneurs as possible and really know their market. He mentioned that he decided that he didn’t have what it takes to go it alone, but that it was a worthwhile experience to try, and he would encourage the boys to do the same.

Next Jon spoke to the boys; he is now a self-employed Business Analyst specialising in Asset Management. He spoke about his early career: how he learned in his second job that having a strong team and a great manager can make a huge difference, and that this is something he has carried forward with him. He also described how his own good work ethic, developed in part at Bolton School, has helped him to develop his career, and even helped to land him a permanent role with Jupiter. Another piece of advice he gave to the boys was, “If others have confidence in you, then so should you.”

Jon’s talk was in part focused on the importance of networking, and how his connections and the relationships he has taken time to build have paid off and landed him roles on more than one occasion. He has also been able to learn from more experienced colleagues thanks to this, which has stood him in good stead throughout his career.

Finally, Matthew took over for the final portion of the session. He shared some interesting aspects of his career with Richard, though not in the same order: he too started his own business and studied for an MBA at INSEAD. He talked to the boys about what he learned from both of these experiences, particularly in the case of starting his own Private Equity focused consultancy that the people are much more important than the place, and aligning goals is important. After this, he went on to study the MBA, and as well as learning about the technical side, he also found out much more about his own personality and how to embrace or manage certain aspects of what makes him tick.

After his studies at INSEAD, he moved on to join Tesco, working his way up to become Marketing Director. He reiterated Richard’s message earlier on that understanding the customer is important, but also explained that understanding how organisations work and how decisions are made will help when trying to influence a big company like Tesco. He also echoed Jon’s words about building networks, which can be vital within a company in order to get things done.

The talk from the Old Boys was a really exciting opportunity for the Sixth Form boys to gain advice from alumni with career experience, and also gave an interesting insight into the different directions one person’s career can take. The live audio link with London allowed the boys to ask questions as if they were in the same room, which was also very valuable.

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Old Boys Matthew, Jon and Richard took part in the live link

Old Boys Matthew, Jon and Richard took part in the live link

The boys listened attentively to the alumni

The boys listened attentively to the alumni's interesting talk

School Captain Paul Greenhalgh asks a question

School Captain Paul Greenhalgh asks a question