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CFO Old Girl Inspires Year 10

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Rajeshree Bhosle (Class of 1998) was the final guest speaker in this year’s series of World of Work talks for Year 10. These careers events were held on Zoom and allowed a wide variety of inspiring Old Girls to speak with current students about their careers and lives.

Rajeshree is currently the Global Chief Financial Officer for The Faction Collective, a premium ski brand, but has also worked for some of the world’s most successful and recognised brands: Ivy Park, Christian Louboutin, Michael Kors, Selfridges and Jimmy Choo. In her current role, she is responsible for looking ahead and using the company’s financial and accounting data to work out how to grow, be profitable, add value and meet business objectives, as well as looking after operational functions such as Legal, Logistics and HR.

She began her talk by giving pupils an overview of how fashion companies work. By talking through how products progress from the initial idea to arriving on the shop floor, she described how each department is involved in developing a collection, from the design and production teams, as you might expect, to merchandising, legal and of course finance!

Moving on to talk about finance more generally, Rajeshree explained that there are two sides to it: traditional accounting and commercial finance. She described the latter, which is her field, as ‘taking the numbers and telling a story to the business’. She said that what makes a difference in commercial finance is having an interest and understanding about the industry: in her case, she has always loved working in retail because she could see the applications of what they were doing and more easily see the business challenges. She also touched on the importance of accurate accounting: not only to meet statutory requirements, but also to ensure that numbers projecting forward are correct and worthwhile.

Rajeshree briefly talked about her current role with The Faction Collective, and gave an overview of her career so far. She admitted that she had no idea what she wanted to do when she was in Year 10 and advised the girls to ‘do the things you love’. She studied Business and Italian at university for this very reason, before completing her CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualification in Commercial Finance. She also stressed that there are other ways into the profession, for example through apprenticeships. Rajeshree shared stories from her graduate scheme with an engineering company, her four years with Jimmy Choo and her other roles since then, including helping to grow Michael Kors from a relatively unknown brand in Europe to over 100 stores! She also talked about her global travels and her favourite work trip to visit a shoe factory in Italy.

At the end of the session there was time for just a few questions. Rajeshree said that it’s important to enjoy working as a team in finance ‘because you touch so many different departments’. She revealed that she was surprised by the varied nature of her job, and talked about how the demands of a job in finance might change over the course of your career.

The day before her World of Work talk, Rajeshree spoke alongside four other Old Girls at the Careers in Fashion Perspectives Lecture, hosted on Zoom by the Girls’ Division.

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