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Admiral Life

A Day in the Life of a Senior Business Analyst at Admiral

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Admiral Tech

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Blog

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29/12/2020

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We spoke to Kirsty Williams-Henry a Senior Business Analysis at Admiral who has worked for the company for over eight years. Here she tells us about her role and what it’s like for a woman in tech. Tell us about your career so far and what led you to a career in Technology? I would say I fell into my career in technology due to my love of all things tech from a young age: I was the first of my friends to have a PC and I used it for almost everything! I pursued my love of technology at college by doing an A-Level in computing where I was the only girl in a class of eight. I found that I had a natural flare for technology as it aligned with my love for problem solving and the logical way my brain works. I soon realised that technology was the future and I wanted to be a part of it! I went on to achieve a first-class degree in Computer Forensics at the University of Glamorgan. After graduating I became a coder and developer for a company that had forty-three men working there and me, alongside one other woman who was not in a tech-related role. After this I joined the IT Graduate Programme at Admiral where I have found a home for the past eight years. On the Graduate Programme I got to dip into lots of different roles and ended up as an IT Business Analyst, something I would never have imagined myself doing prior to the programme. What does a typical day in your role at Admiral look like?  No day at Admiral is typical! During a day at work lots of things could crop up, such as live bugs that might pull me away from other projects and diversify my day. Admiral is very good at allowing employees to try new things. Each day allows you to put a different hat on, you have a lot of freedom to explore. My day often involves meetings and discussions with Product Owners and Project Managers.  I need to be able to understand systems from their point of view and how they would be using them. This means I can explain things to them and put guides together to aid their understanding. Most of my time is spent with the Developers and Testers within my team. I translate the requirements from those on the business side of the company to those on the IT side, enabling problems to be solved. Attention to detail is key as a Business Analyst - the smallest of details must be correct for systems to function correctly. Admiral have also been great at flexible working: they have been very accommodating to me and my changing needs and have also been great at enabling us to work from home effectively during the pandemic. If you could begin your career path over, would you change anything? I would never change my job role; I love it and feel like it is a great fit for my skillset. If I had to change one thing it might be to investigate different areas of IT and more specifically IT Security as I find it an extremely interesting area. How does your work impact Admiral and its customers? My role as a Business Analysist means that I am involved in the business end-to-end. I meet those in business Operations to see the reality of how the technology that I work on is being used throughout the business, as well as any problems that might occur. From there, it is about them collectively working out what they may want from IT and the system and then it is translated into something that the IT team can take forward and work on. Being able to see how the changes really impact those working within the business services and the call centres of Admiral really inspires me to work harder and is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Do you have any advice for women that want to start a career in Technology?  It can be difficult for those in Technology to put themselves into other people’s shoes whether it be the customers, those in call centres or those in business support areas, and I have found that the women in tech that I have worked with have been excellent at doing this. The language of development and IT can also be intimidating but I encourage people to spend a day with my team so that they can see that they would easily pick it up. No one should be afraid of Technology; anyone can do it if they give it a chance! I would advise women to find the part that interests them within Technology and run with it. For example, if you have a creative mindset, there are many creative elements to IT.  You need to be an artist to write code!

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Kate  Williams

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Kate Williams

Kate  Williams

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Kate Williams

Ownership, freedom and flexibility: Ignacio’s journey on the Future Leaders Program in Spain

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MBA

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Blog

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07/12/2020

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Admiral career to-date I joined Admiral on the Future Leaders Program in the Spanish operations in 2016, after completing my MBA at INSEAD. Although my focus was Spain, I also worked on some projects for our Italian operations. With time, I began to take on more operational responsibilities beyond the project management and consulting-based work on the Future Leaders Program. I started working on a project developing a new distribution channel using brokers. I spent time understanding the broker channel and preparing an entire strategy for the product launch. Things went well and it now drives a lot of growth in Spain. I also worked with the Corporate Governance team from 2018 to late 2020, which was completely new to me, as my background is in mechanical engineering. At the end of 2019, I changed roles to lead the Loss Ratio area (Pricing, Analytics & Data) in Spain. A long-term career path Before joining Admiral, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do but no fixed plan per se. Contrary to the quite rigid expectations in many consulting firms, the future of my career with Admiral was very open, which was both exciting and worrying at the same time. The Future Leaders Program is a transitory program, which prepares you to move into a more general management role. The role you move into depends on your location, your skills, and the opportunities that arise within the business. This openness and flexibility is one of the most attractive characteristics of the program. Since joining Admiral, I've been involved in some very different things. I haven't been restricted to one single area of the business and with each move forward in the company, I have gained additional ownership and accountability. Why Admiral I already had other offers from big-name companies before I even heard about Admiral. I had no intention of considering an alternative. But that all changed when I met people from the Admiral Group and started speaking to them. Firstly, I became interested in the industry which, although it did not look very attractive to me from the outside,  became fascinating once I started to understand its complexity and how the different areas involved in it have to coordinate very smoothly. Secondly, I was interested in the possibility of progressing into a general management role. I knew that I wanted to be a manager and was eager to see where my skills could fit at Admiral to make this happen. I wanted to have ownership and P&L responsibilities after my MBA and the position at Admiral allowed me this.   Finally, the management and the company culture won me over.  There’s a lot of autonomy and people are given challenges and trusted to deliver results, in order to make things happen. This was very attractive for someone with ambition and the drive to create a successful career for themselves.  Autonomy to deliver on your own projects One of the most exciting and challenging projects that I’ve been given to date was the development of our broker channel. Not only was it complex, but it was also vast. I was aware of the impact of this project. It’s now one of our main growth drivers in Spain, which is exciting as I have been able to work on it from inception. Through this project I was able to gain expertise and skills, move around the country, and work with diverse teams across the business - from legal to commercial and pricing. This project is the perfect example of why I joined Admiral. I was trusted by Sarah, our Spanish CEO, and the director team. They asked me to make it happen. I had the support and backing from the senior managers but was given the autonomy to learn for myself and deliver something successful. This ownership and freedom given to me is one of my favourite things about the role. Advice to MBAs considering Admiral I think it is important to take a step back and think of your long-term goals. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Ask questions, speak to as many people as you can. Find out where you could fit in with the future of the company.  Working in lockdown This year has been intense. We have worked long hours and realised the challenges of working from home. But it's been a success. Together we have all faced many of the same trials, both professionally and personally. We have learned a lot and can now operate 100% remotely in our Spanish operation. We have seen a complete shift in the way our days are structured, and we have embraced new ways of working and managing teams. I don’t think we have ever worked as smartly as we are today.   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

Meet Bethan – Internal Consultant and Admiral Graduate Alumni

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Graduates and Students

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Blog

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04/12/2020

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Bethan started on the General Graduate Programme in February 2018 and has since taken up her permanent role in Internal Consultancy.  What skills from your degree have helped you succeed at Admiral? I studied Business Management at Cardiff University and specialised in Marketing. The degree gave me a good foundation in business, whilst also building on softer skills, such as presenting and teamwork. Following university, I worked at a start-up printing company in Nottinghamshire as their Sales and Marketing Manager. This helped me understand more about how businesses work in practice and developed my interpersonal skills before joining Admiral. Why did you choose the Admiral Graduate Programme? I had heard so many great things about Admiral as an employer from university and people I knew. Like many people, the rotational aspect appealed to me as well because it seemed like an opportunity to grow my skills and learn about different parts of a large organization. Tell us about your placements during the Graduate Programme?  My first placement was in the Product and Marketing team in AFSL (Admiral Financial Services Limited) followed by a shorter stint in Commercial. During this time in AFSL, my responsibilities included optimising web journeys and meeting with partners. Following AFSL, I spent my second placement in the Household Product Team looking after InstaQuote. During this time, I focused on improving the online journey, as well as working closely with Operations, Underwriting and Pricing to improve the product’s performance. For my final placement, I took all of the knowledge from Household in the UK and moved to Paris. For almost 10 months, I worked for L’olivier on the launch of home insurance in France. This involved lots of project management and product ownership. What was your favourite part of working abroad? Doing a placement abroad really pushes you out of your comfort zone. I was moving to a new country, where I couldn’t speak the language, and into an IT role, which was also brand new to me.Whilst it wasn’t a holiday, I was still able to soak up Paris - I mean come on, you’re in Paris, you know? L’Olivier also have a contact centre in Lille, which I got to visit a few times as well as our European IT hub in Seville. What tip would you give to someone considering a placement abroad? Like I said, it isn’t a holiday because you are there to work, so just make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and really up for trying something new. I also think you have to being willing to make the extra effort. The L’Olivier office is a lot smaller than Ty Admiral - there’s only 50 people or so there - so it’s beneficial to make the extra effort with your colleagues. Also you’re only in that place for a certain length of time, so make sure that you get out and explore when you can! I also think that learning the language basics before you go on your placement will help. I can still read French in emails and my colleagues’ social media!What is your best memory from your time on the graduate scheme? My favourite memory is probably the first few weeks in induction.  There’s just nothing like it, you become so close with your cohort and it’s just so much fun. I’m still in touch with people I started with. My other favourite memory is the day that I boarded the plane to Paris for my final placement, it was just such an exciting day. What was your greatest achievement while you were on the programme? I think my greatest achievement would have to be seeing the first sale of home insurance in L’Olivier go through. It was rewarding to see where all my hard efforts had gone. Tell us about your current role. I am now an Internal Consultant. I get to work with various departments across Admiral to help them with business issues they are facing and align it with Admiral’s strategy. I find it very interesting as I am continuously learning about new areas of the business and researching solutions to their problems. What does your day-to-day look like? My day completely varies depending on the project and business needs. I could be doing anything from meeting with stakeholders, researching, creating presentations, finalising projects to smaller side pieces of work. Each large project varies in length, but they tend to be 3 to 6 months. I usually work on 2 projects at a time, so this job has really helped me hone my time management skills. Did you expect to take this career path? I never expected a career in consultancy, but I can see how the Graduate Programme lead me here. You work across such a range of areas and change every 6 months. You are constantly learning, then moving again - you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Also, because of my time on the programme, I am able to relate back and have a bank of knowledge that I wouldn’t have gained any other way. . What do you enjoy most about working at Admiral? There are three things that I really enjoy about working at Admiral. Firstly, the size of the business, since moving from a printing start-up to a big business it has emphasised the scale of Admiral to me. Admiral is so big that you just find it very hard to know it inside-out and that is something I really love. The second thing is the people I work with, everyone at Admiral is so open-minded and willing to listen to eachothers’ ideas, thoughts and opinions. Then, the final point, which sounds cliché and overlaps a bit with the last point, is the culture at Admiral. The culture is so rare but everyone is so friendly, there’s emphasis placed on work-life balance and the benefits are good as well. There’s a focus on self-development through things like the Buy A Book Scheme and Admiral Academy. What advice would you give someone thinking about applying? I think it really is as simple as just be yourself.

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Emily  Bonney

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Emily Bonney

Emily  Bonney

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Emily Bonney

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