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Admiral Life

A Day in the Life of a Data Warehouse Developer at Admiral

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Admiral Tech

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Blog

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20/11/2020

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Meet Cara who has worked at Admiral for just under five years. Here she tells us about her role as a Data Warehouse Developer. What led you into a career in Technology and what has your journey been like so far?  I decided to do a degree in Mathematics at Swansea University because I had enjoyed maths throughout my education. This progressed to a master’s degree in Mathematics which further allowed me to pursue my love for maths. Alongside my studies I did a number of placements and internships with Swansea Hospital where I learnt about nanotechnology and the data that goes into it, and also with Morriston Hospital where I worked in laboratories and analysed the data behind them. This was the first time I had really looked into data and it helped me realise that I wanted to find a graduate scheme that involved data and also allowed for career progression in a good job that I would enjoy. I decided to apply for the Admiral Graduate Program. I went into the Data Warehouse function and have been there ever since. Although I felt as if I fell into Technology, my mother worked in IT and was a massive inspiration to me, meaning a career within Technology never felt out of reach. I am grateful for the flexible working options available at Admiral and I think that the company has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic well. Most employees are now working from home, but even before then I was part of a working from home pilot that meant I got to work from home three days a week. Core hours, that used to mean that you had to be present in the office 10am-4pm, have now been removed in IT, allowing a flexible way of working. What would a typical day in your role at Admiral look like?  Although life is very different right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like many employees at Admiral, I do not feel as if there is a real typical day working for Admiral. When we were in the office, the first thing we would do as a team is have a morning coffee together. I really value my teammates and a big part of the love I have for my job comes from the people that I work with. After this, I have a stand-up meeting with my team which is a run through of what each of us will be working on. I can then get on with my own tasks and normally, I will code all day. I enjoy the flexibility and freedom that my role provides. How does the work you do impact Admiral as a business and its customers? I work in Data Warehouse which is of critical importance at Admiral. Recently, I have been working on a report that shows how many cars, vans and houses we have on cover each day. This report is given to Senior Management each morning to give a clear picture of the company’s standing. Although most of our Technology roles are not directly customer-facing, our teams are central to facilitating our excellent customer service experience.  Do you have any advice for women that want to get into Technology but feel intimidated?  I have personally never felt intimidated being a woman working within Technology. When doing a maths degree, which was predominantly male, I never felt as if I didn’t belong or that I didn’t deserve to be there. The advice I have for any women that want to get into Technology is that they should not be scared or intimidated. Just under a year ago I attended and gave a speech at a conference in London where around nine-thousand people attended. After I had finished my speech, I was informed that only sixteen percent of the speakers were women. This incredibly low representation of female speakers shocked me. Unfortunately however, this does reflect the representation of women working within the Technology industry. After learning more about it, I realised how great it was to be one of the few representing women in T`1echnology and showing women that if I can do it, so can they! It is great to be part of a company that aligns with my morals and advocates for equal opportunities in Technology. 

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Kate  Williams

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Kate Williams

Kate  Williams

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Kate Williams

Managing international teams and challenging the status quo: Amit’s experience on the SPARK program

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MBA

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Blog

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19/11/2020

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Amit joined Admiral in August 2016 on the SPARK program, as an International Pricing Manager after his MBA at LBS. Background Education: BA Economics from Cornell University, MBA from London Business School Languages: English, Hindi Home country: USA Admiral anniversary: August 2016 Description of role I manage a Cardiff based data science internal consulting team and recently the local data science team in the USA as well. In total, this amounts to nine people spread over two continents. We work on building models that use new data sources such as vehicle safety characteristics and map information. Countries worked in with Admiral The USA, Italy, France, Spain (and the UK of course). Most memorable project and why My most memorable project is the first one where I managed someone else. The transition from being an individual contributor to a manager is one of the most significant learning moments I have had in my career. The MBA prepared me for this to some extent, but I think the only real way to understand the challenges and solutions is through experience. Best advice you’ve been given and advice you would give a new IPM Challenge the status quo. Admiral is very welcoming of new ideas. It may feel intimidating in the beginning to question people who have decades of experience in the industry, but it is the key to adding value. Favourite thing about your job My teammates! You can find out more about the journeys our MBAs have taken here or read more about our MBA Leadership Programs. Alternatively, follow our MBA Leadership page on Linkedin.

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Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

How to: Answer frequently asked interview questions.

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General

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Blog

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13/11/2020

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"Tell us about yourself." Explain your previous roles, education, hobbies and interests and don’t forget to expand.  We want to know what these experiences have taught you. Elaborate on how you can use what you’ve learnt in the working environment. Be mindful not to overshare and keep it professional. "What are your weaknesses?"Pick a weakness relevant to the role you have applied for. Make sure to explain what you have done / are doing to improve in this area. Some people think picking a strength and spinning it to seem like a weakness will come across better, but it doesn’t feel honest and can insinuate you are not self-aware. It’s ok to be honest – none of us are the finished article. "What are your strengths?"Pick strengths that are relevant to the role and provide examples to support your answer.  Read the job advert beforehand and familiarise yourself with essential and desirable skills – this will help to ensure you’re showcasing the skills the recruiter is looking for. "What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?"If the interviewers don’t specifically ask for a ‘professional’ example, it’s OK to draw from personal experience, however, you should always make sure you’re able to relate it back to the role you are applying for.  The main thing to cover is why you are proud of this achievement, what it taught you and how it has prepared you for this role.  "Why do you want this job?"Show off your knowledge! The interviewer will want to know you’ve researched this role and the company.  You should know a fair bit about the role you’ve applied for – read the job advert, visit the career site and follow the company pages on social media platforms.  Explain what attracted you to this position.  You may wish to talk about the company benefits, the working environment, the opportunities and why you think you’ll be successful. "Where do you see yourself in five years?"Be honest and be realistic. If you want to progress that’s great, but suggesting you want to be the CEO within a few years might be unrealistic.  Think about the opportunities available to you in this role, not only will this show you’ve done your research, but it will also show that you are willing to work hard and are keen to progress.  If progression is not for you, that’s also fine.  You should explain how you plan to continue to do a great job and all the skills you have that will enable you to this. "Why do you want to leave your current job?"Be honest and be professional.  Be diplomatic in your answer and don’t forget you’re in an interview.  You may want to use this question as an opportunity to talk about the new role and why you are excited about the prospect of joining this company. "Why should we hire you?"This is your chance to set yourself apart from other applicants.   It’s tough to compare yourself to strangers but use this opportunity to talk about your strong work ethic, relevant skills and passion for the role.  Expand upon your answer and provide examples – this is usually one of the last questions in an interview and you don’t want to miss out on this last chance to impress the interviewers. "Do you have any questions?"Lots of people think they must ask a question at the end of an interview, but if the interviewers have been comprehensive in their explanation, then you might not have questions.  This is fine - don’t feel like you must think of something, but equally, make the most of this opportunity to discuss anything you’re unsure about. Here’s some of the questions we regularly get asked at the end of an interview:What do you like most about working for *insert company name here*?Would you like me to expand upon any of my answers or examples?Are there opportunities for training and development in this role/department?What would you say are the most challenging aspects of this role?What are the next steps of the process?

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Kyle Meacock

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Kyle Meacock

Kyle Meacock

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Kyle Meacock

Marion’s Story - from Journalism to Head of Household at L’olivier

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MBA

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Blog

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04/11/2020

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A new industry I joined Admiral on the Future Leaders Program in February 2017 following my MBA at INSEAD. I come from a very different background, having worked as a journalist for eight years before completing my MBA. It was difficult to realise that I had worked long and hard for a career that wasn’t my true passion. I was passionate about growing business and bringing out the best in people. I needed a change of career and that's why I decided to do an MBA. I began in L’olivier, the French operation in Paris. When I arrived, the head of the consulting team gave me an A4 sheet with a few bullet points about self-service (a digital customer portal) and told me “Okay, this is your subject for the next six months. I want you to look at it and do a business plan”. I had never done a business plan, having never worked in a traditional company before. But I was trusted with a challenge and dove straight in.  My first three months were spent understanding self-service, and what it could look like for us. To define what was good for the business I needed to understand what L’olivier was about. So, I spoke to as many people as possible. This was easy as people were approachable at every level, taking time to talk to me and answer my questions.   From inception to implementation – seeing a project through After a few months in the French operation, I knew that it was a good fit for me. The feedback on my work was positive and I was excited about what I was creating through my project. I delivered my business plan and was able to be the one to implement my own ideas.  After five months I was asked to build a team. I had never hired anyone and didn't know how to do it. But I learnt on the go. I was able to familiarise myself with people management, budgets and all that came with leading a team. I worked on the creation of this new customer self-service portal for eighteen months. Then, the project evolved into a product and my small project team became a permanent team.  With self-service came automation. As well as customer centricity, this required a focus on process optimization and productivity. So, I built another team, which worked on automation and new technology. Automation affects everyone around the business, so we work with operations, finance, accounting, pricing, marketing, claims… It’s important to have the same mindset across the business and this cross-functional work means I am constantly learning.    A culture that challenged preconceptions To be 100% honest, I hadn’t considered working at Admiral before my MBA. I didn't even own a car and didn’t understand insurance.  When I decided to do my MBA, I assumed I would return to the media world. But during my time at INSEAD I got talking with people outside of the media world. That's when I discovered how many other industries were flourishing, transforming and in which people felt excited and involved in the future direction of the business.  I received an email from the recruitment team at Admiral to say they had spotted my CV. I didn’t quite understand why at first, although I discovered that Admiral’s founder Henry Engelhardt himself had trained as a journalist, maybe that was my chance! This was not a company that looked for previous expertise in the industry. I was invited to speak with Marisja Kocznur (Head of Business Development) and with Henry himself. They caught my attention straight away. I was really seduced by the projects and the culture. What you see is what you get, it's very straightforward. I could see that if you give a 100%, if you do well, then you are rewarded.  That same day, Henry presented to our class and it was clear that Admiral had a strong culture. I loved that. It was all about the people, treating employees well and making good business decisions. It was a nice change from the presentations of other big corporates that I found a bit flashy and less authentic. I could see that Admiral was a company in which people cared for each other and allowed room for mistakes, provided that you took ownership. It fitted well with my values.   A place to grow Admiral is a company that allows you to grow, that feeds you with challenges all the time, and that also allows you to make mistakes and learn from it, which is rare. You are developed quickly into a leadership role with real leadership challenges. It’s impressive to see the journeys of MBAs that have joined Admiral and stayed for years. I think it’s thanks to the autonomy and career progression on offer.  I was surprised by the close contact I had with executives, senior management and CEOs.. My work was important to our senior managers and they were genuinely interested. I wasn’t just a number and I know that I was recruited for who I am and what I can bring to the table.   When I talk to my MBA friends, they all see how happy I am. I know I made the right decision with Admiral. I have an exciting and successful career, but I also have a life. I swim almost every day, I go to the theatre, and have time for friends. For me this is really important.  Unlike companies that hire hundreds of MBAs a year, I was one of very few. When Admiral chooses you, it’s because they want to invest in you, they see you as a future leader of the business. It's a completely different experience compared to many other MBAs, who end up spending a few years at a company only as a springboard for the position they really want. At Admiral you can have that position from the start. You can find out more about our MBA Leadership Programs and apply on our website. You can also follow our MBA Leadership Programs on Linkedin to get valuable insights into the company and culture.

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Leadership lessons with Henry

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MBA

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Blog

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04/11/2020

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People often wonder what makes an effective leader. Our founder Henry (INSEAD ’88) spent some time with our MBA summer interns, sharing his insights and passing on some valuable advice. Here’s what we learned: Becoming a better leader Firstly, it’s vital that you step back and think. Know what you stand for, where your values lie. This will impact how you lead, who you lead and ultimately how effective a leader you become. Secondly, do your homework. Becoming a better manager is not only achieved through experience. There are reams of podcasts, books and articles on the matter – some more worth ingesting than others.  Talk to people you admire and see what read, listen to, etc.  While you’re asking these people what they read, ask them about their career, their business, the challenges they faced and how they dealt with them; try to reduce your learning curve by using the experience of others.  Thirdly, never underestimate the importance of communication. Be succinct and simple.  People don’t listen or read the way you talk or write.  They will only get a portion of what you are trying to get across.  Remember, you can almost never over-communicate.   Teamwork - ‘The team, the team, the team’ The power of the team is invariably greater than the power of any individual.  Therefore, getting others involved is essential if you want to be a great manager.  You don’t want to be the cork in the bottle and so you have to learn to delegate and let other people step up.    That means it’s important to make sure they are engaged in the big picture as well as their smaller picture.  Never forget how important you are to the people you manage.  What you say or do has a big effect on those you lead.  This isn’t about being superior to people but just cognizant that what you do has a ripple effect that cascades down the entire organisation.      Get out and about Beyond the clichés, travel grows open-mindedness; it teaches you tolerance – something you need a lot of when you’re leading people.  It shows you that others think differently to you and that this isn’t about being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but it’s just different.  This exposure helps you to think differently, more creatively.   Knowing your sector Any business is a good business. If you love business, then it doesn’t always matter what industry you are working in.  Somebody out there is making buttons and gets excited about a new 5-holer – in green!  If you love getting your hands dirty, if you love using your ingenuity and creativity and driving business success, you can enjoy any industry and learn to lead in your sphere of influence.   Avoiding divisions within the workplace Business is hard enough already.  In any team, there will be plenty of challenges from the outside. Why create internal divisions?  The power and togetherness in the workforce is the result of a conscious effort to reduce divisions.  For example, when designing our office space, we chose open-plan.  No one has a private office.  No one in the entire group has a private office.  This is a conscious decision that we made to reduce barriers to communication and when you reduce those barriers it helps to get people working together rather than fighting internally.   Creating culture Culture in the workplace exists for a reason: to produce a better economic result.  A lot of our business ideas and the ways we are more efficient than our competitors result from the culture that we have intentionally fostered.  When recruiting our future leaders we are looking for a good cultural fit, not just intelligence or experience.  If the body rejects the organ it doesn’t matter how good the organ was!  Our culture rests on four pillars: communication, equality, reward and fun.  But we don’t believe all offices or departments should be the same.  Every part of the company will have a different culture because the leaders are different and the people they lead are different.  But all those variant cultures are united because they rest on those four pillars.  You can find out more about our MBA Leadership Programs and apply on our website. You can also follow our MBA Leadership Programs on Linkedin. 

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Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

From SPARK Leadership Program to Deputy Head of International Pricing – Alok’s story

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MBA

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Blog

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21/10/2020

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Tell us about your journey so far at Admiral “I've been in the company for over five years now, having joined as an International Pricing Manager on the SPARK Leadership Program. When I joined, the team was quite small with the goal of helping our international businesses to grow their pricing capabilities. I spent my first year and a half familiarising myself with the pricing systems through technical pricing projects as I had no prior insurance experience. It was very easy to learn from those around me including the senior managers who were all approachable from the start. I then started managing projects, working more closely with our international managers. In 2018, I spent six months in the Elephant operations (US) as the Internet Interim Pricing Director, helping the new CEO to rebuild the team there. This was just one example of international collaboration, but I worked on many other projects with our overseas businesses before taking the role of Deputy Head of International Pricing two and a half years down the line. As part of that role, David (Group CEO) asked me to develop analytics capabilities in the team, as machine learning was becoming an important part of our pricing methodology across the Group. We started hiring analysts with specific machine learning and data science expertise and we now have a separate International Pricing Analytics team.” Can you tell us about a project that stood out for you? “One that jumps out was in my first year. There was a vast amount of public data available online from the latest government census. Goal was to identify anything that could be useful for us in pricing. I was given a lot of freedom to play around with the data and investigate creative solutions. The result was a new geographical scoring system for pricing, which would have huge loss ratio impact and financial benefits for the business. The interim Pricing Director role that I undertook for six months in the US was also a highlight. I got first-hand experience of leading a complex department in a fast paced and evolving organisation and I was advising the leadership team, following through with implementations, and really seeing the impact of my recommendations.” How much international work does your role involve? “Although I manage a large portion of the team in the UK, our team works with a lot of autonomy which allows me to spend more time on our international operations. I work very closely with international leadership team, including CEOs, to  deliver and advise on key strategic pricing, analytics & data projects. I go wherever the challenge is. For example, I may go to the USA or elsewhere in Europe to work on a specific project or to spend time with the team to identify opportunities for improvement. This means I can maximise the potential of our team, by identifying projects that will benefit them, as well as the business. In general, the opportunities to work internationally depend on your capabilities and knowing the language helps, but there is a lot of demand from our overseas operations. We love it when people say they want to travel and work cross-culturally. There is a lot of flexibility and we work around your lifestyle and preferences. It is really tailored to the individual.” What do you enjoy most about your role now? “I love the impact and exposure that comes with my role. I get to work with all the CEOs and international leaders on complex problems with exciting implications for the business. The role is vast and that means you can choose your own career path. There’s so much going on that you have the chance to get involved in a lot of different things, for example international collaboration, data science, project management, people management, etc. We have people who progress from an MBA position into CEO positions across the Group and with an evolving business there are always opportunities to use the SPARK Leadership Program as a launchpad to move into senior roles internationally. Covid-19 aside, one of the highlights of the role is the travel. I enjoy spending time in different countries, talking to different people and learning from our international teams.” Speaking of Covid-19, how have you found working from home? “I would say that things went much better than I anticipated. In International Pricing, we were used to working in remote locations as part of the role. Working remotely has brought us closer to our international operations because contact with them is now no different to that with our UK colleagues – it’s all virtual. I think the geographical divide  has been blurred. Of course, with travel restrictions we miss the face to face contact and discussions with international managers, but technology has helped us a lot.”Can you tell us a bit about the training for the role?“A lot of the training at Admiral is practical, learning by doing. You won’t be sitting and listening passively. We look for people who are happy to learn from the bottom up and get their hands dirty from day one.  As we work with international and local teams with a variety of experience and personalities, you have a large pool of talent and expertise to learn from. There are plenty of opportunities for mentoring on projects too. Admiral is a very open company. You can easily go and talk to someone. People are friendly, they like to grab coffee and have a chat. It’s simply a matter of asking and putting yourself out there. Within my first 18 months, I was already in the USA managing a department, so the learning continued as I progressed. You never stop learning in this role.” Can you tell us a bit about what it’s like to be based in Cardiff? “The main reason the SPARK Leadership Program is initially based in Cardiff is because this is where our Group HQ is, our training ground, and home to some of our most experienced people. It is a great place to learn the ropes and get a real feel for Admiral – the business and the culture. Besides that, I think the value for money in Cardiff is amazing. We have all the advantages of a big city but without the expense and frantic pace of life.” What would you say to anybody who is considering applying for a position with us vs other large employers? “Simple – do you want to be a tiny part of a big company or a big part of Admiral? Admiral has the best of both worlds: we’re a FTSE 100 international company with a culture that will give you the autonomy and freedom to innovate that usually only exists in smaller start-ups. Rarely will you find a company where you get the chance to work directly with the most senior managers and, in many cases, the CEOs on your first project.” What advice would you give to anyone wanting to succeed in the role? “I think humility is the first thing. You should be ready to learn and work with people at every level. The second one is the ability to drive things forward. You’ll be dealing with the unknown, but this means you have the chance to create your own solutions, the freedom to try things out, and to use your initiative. Finally, a sense of humour is important. People care about your personality and interests and they want to get to know the real you.” What does the future hold for International Pricing? “The next two years are going to be a very exciting time for insurance, as we are going through the transformation of machine learning, big data and the cloud. It’s an exciting time for people to join in pricing and data because a lot of big projects are happening right now and will continue happening for the next three to four years. So, if you like numbers, if data opportunities excite you, and if you want to take a leadership position with a real impact on the business, the SPARK Leadership Program is the best way to begin a career you won’t regret.” You can find out more about our MBA Leadership Programs and apply on our website. You can also follow our MBA Leadership Programs on Linkedin to get valuable insights into the company and culture. 

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Tell us about your journey so far at Admiral “I've been in the company for over five years now, having joined as an International Pricing Manager on the SPARK Leadership Program. When I joined, the team was quite small with the goal of helping our international businesses to grow their pricing capabilities. I spent my first year and a half familiarising myself with the pricing systems through technical pricing projects as I had no prior insurance experience. It was very easy to learn from those

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Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

From MBA intern to Finance Manager at Conte.it – Stefano’s journey

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MBA

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Blog

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12/10/2020

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Meet Stefano “I joined the Group in 2017 on the Future Leaders Program at Conte.it, our Italian operation. It was the charisma of our founder Henry that sparked my initial interest in the Group. Whilst studying for a full-time MBA in Bocconi, Henry and some colleagues visited campus to tell the Admiral story. I immediately felt a fit with Admiral and applied for a summer internship and, when my MBA finished, for a permanent position.” Exposure to senior management “When I joined full-time on the Future Leaders Program, my first project involved reorganising the Claims department and creating a new governance function. Alongside this, I worked in Operations and Finance on numerous smaller projects. I then acted as PMO for Italy on the Group level Brexit project, which launched in 2018. From January to March 2019 I had the opportunity to work on several strategic projects alongside Costantino Moretti, CEO of Conte.it, gaining valuable exposure to senior management and having opportunities to raise my voice and be heard. I was then appointed Finance Manager for Conte.it in April 2019.” International opportunities “With footprints in eight countries, mobility is key at Admiral.  My role has taken me from Rome to Cardiff and Seville on international projects. In September 2019 we held our Group Finance Management meeting in Seville, which provided another opportunity to travel and discover more about our international operations.” Learning on the go “As with any role, there are challenges to be overcome. Sometimes, you simply have to roll up your sleeves and learn on the job. Moving around the business means constantly having to understand new areas, many of which require a large amount of specific knowledge. An emphasis on internal mobility and learning by doing allowed me to familiarise myself with the most important needs of an area in order to start delivering change and seeing results, often in small time windows. One of the most valuable skills for the role is the commitment to keep learning, as well as the willingness to experiment and fail. Pushing myself beyond my limits and having the opportunity to empower those around me has enabled me to pursue a diverse and rewarding career at Admiral to date.”   You can find out more about our MBA Leadership Programs and apply on our website. You can also follow our MBA Leadership Programs on Linkedin to get valuable insights into the company and culture. 

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg