What were your career ambitions post-MBA?
“Coming to the UK for my MBA was ambitious. I left my own country, invested a lot of my personal savings and took on a hefty student loan, all with the desire to progress and create a career I would be excited about. I have a results-driven personality, I want to create value and to push myself to do more.
I did my MBA quite late in my career, with eight years of experience, including positions of senior management in India. Leaving this to invest in education, I knew I wanted to get back into senior management after my MBA.”
Tell me about your career at Admiral so far?
“As an MBA intern, I spent three months on two strategic projects. I was able to apply what I was learning during my MBA at Alliance Manchester Business Schools, as well as my pre-MBA experience.
The internship helped me to shine and prove myself in the final interviews for a full-time position.
I’ve been at Admiral almost five years now and I’d say the first year was particularly memorable. I worked on the launch program of Admiral Loans, a strategic business move towards diversification. It was exciting to be involved in something completely new, beyond the insurance operations that Admiral was already known for. We were building a new financial services business from scratch and I had the opportunity to get involved straight out of my MBA.
It was a time in which many important decisions were being made, which would determine the future of the loans business. There was a fine balance between speed and caution. We wanted everything to be right but knew we had to move fast.”
Innovation within insurance
“Once loans had launched and become business as usual, I decided to come back to the insurance world. Again, I was able to choose where I wanted to be, and work in a sphere that I enjoyed – ‘people who like what they do, do it better’ is more than just a tagline at Admiral.
I became the Head of Product Lab, an innovation hub to explore new technologies and product possibilities. When I joined, we were working on an insurance product on Facebook Messenger which was driven entirely through social media. Pioneering innovation has always been a passion of mine.”
“After launching a new business and working on some of the most cutting-edge ventures, I moved into operations. This is one of the great things about the Future Leaders Program, the ability to move into different areas, gain experience and understanding, enabling you to connect the dots of the business. I think of my career at Admiral as a journey, that has been focused on innovation, products and customers.
The move into operations was a challenge, as I had no background in this area. However, I was given high level strategic projects, which allowed me to learn all about the products we sell and how we do so. I had the chance to make a difference from the start.”
How would you describe the Future Leaders Program?
“In the beginning it's more of an internal consulting position, working on projects across the company. The business is constantly evolving, with changing customer psychographics and regulations, and the role involves a lot of strategic adapting and planning for the future.
The program allowed me to implement the skills I gained during the MBA and build on them to become a better consultant and a better business leader.”
How did you find the work culture at Admiral?
“There were significant differences in the work culture from India to the UK. I probably underestimated the importance of people management and had to learn how people prefer to listen, talk and engage. That was a steep learning curve for me.
At Admiral - it’s not just about being a smart MBA or a good team player. It's also about understanding ways of working, learning how to navigate within an organisation and how to efficiently network. I had to learn what people really wanted and go the extra mile to help them.
On the Future Leaders Program, it’s important to ask for visibility, to seek out opportunities to be heard by the leaders of the business. I learned the importance of dedicating time to creating a good network within the business, and I realised the importance of the small interactions, like how you introduce yourself.
Working with diverse teams across the business taught me so much about the culture here in the UK. As a result, my CV is full of rich stories that go beyond the professional learnings I have acquired.
When it comes to the Admiral culture, I think of Admiral founder Henry’s motto ‘Communicate, communicate, communicate. Feedback, feedback, feedback’. I’m a big fan of that. Beyond simply emailing a manager or colleague, it’s more about mingling and meeting, and communicating with people as much as possible. This was quite different to the culture I came from, where written communication was favoured over getting out of your chair to speak to someone face-to-face. At Admiral I learned how important communication really is. Meeting someone in the canteen, socials after work - never skip those! These are just opportunities to meet again and talk more. The more you communicate, the more you understand.”
How do you think Admiral’s differs from other big companies?
“When you hear the word ‘insurance’ you may not initially be excited. I wasn’t. Admittedly, the industry sounded a little boring to me before I found Admiral. However, it’s an industry that has survived crises time and time again and continued to adapt. People need insurance. This is seen in the continued share growth throughout the recent pandemic and the impressive innovation within the industry over the years.
Admiral’s recruitment strategy also differs to the mass-recruitment of many other companies, where competition is cutthroat and very metrics driven, neglecting the human element.
Admirals success and growth has been amazing. It was launched by MBAs like me and has grown immensely in the almost 30 years since. This was a major selling point of the company and the program for me.
So, if you're looking for an environment with great people, a supportive network, and a beautiful city, then Admiral is the place to be.”