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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

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

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 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