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Why authenticity matters – with Penguin Portals Director Elena Betes

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MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

16/03/2021

Summary

Elena Betes joined us on the Future Leaders Program and helped found Rastreator in 2008 in Spain our first Price Comparison site outside of the UK. Since January 2014 she has overseen our Group Comparison Portals. She shares her experience and advice to MBAs considering a career with Admiral.   What have been some of the best moments of your career? I feel proud when looking back at something I’ve created. I feel proud to have created environments that people enjoy working in. There will always be ups and downs, but when things are working well, results are strong, and the team is doing their best, that’s the moment when I step back and think ‘wow, look how much we have achieved together!’. What do you love most about your role? My role right now consists of overseeing the ‘penguins’, which includes all our comparison sites around the world. They all require completely different supervision and support, so I have to adjust constantly. Adapting to the needs of the people that I'm working with is highly rewarding. I love it. I also love the visibility I get from working with these international operations. I love connection, seeing ideas from one place and linking them with people from another. It's allowed me to focus on my strengths instead of on my weaknesses.  What advice would you give to MBAs joining us on how they can be successful? Firstly, no one will tell you exactly what to do or how to do it. It's about you proactively defining your scope, discovering your ambition, and then convincing everyone to come along with you. Don't expect someone to tell you exactly how things should be done and be ready to bring your creativity and initiative to drive change and to make things happen. It’s also important that you embrace the culture and enjoy getting your hands dirty. You need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get things done yourself. It’s also important you have a strategic mind and be able to connect the dots between business problems and opportunities. What do you look for when hiring an MBA? I think it comes down to a combination of factors. The intellectual level of the people that we hire is very high. That’s the base.  But it must be coupled with being a good person! We care about doing the right thing for our customers and for our staff and we look for MBAs that will embody this. At Admiral there are no politics; there's a lot of intellectual discussion and challenge, but our priority is always collaboration. So, we love it when people come in with ideas, optimism, and a willingness to work together and get things done.  What can Admiral offer MBAs that is different to any other big company? Firstly, an environment that cares fundamentally about people. It’s simple but I think it is one of the single most important values when looking for a long-term career with a company. I don't think a lot of companies our size could say that they have maintained a culture of innovation and transparency from the start up until the present day. The fact that we still make decisions based on what we feel is the right thing for customers, employees, and shareholders is quite special. Secondly, it’s that Admiral offers you a lot of space to learn, to invent, and to be yourself. I think this freedom to be authentic is one of the reasons behind our success. I love that we’ve maintained an entrepreneurial mindset giving people space to come in and make mistakes, to test things, and to learn from both failures and triumphs. 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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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Fanny, Chief Growth Officer for L’olivier in Paris, tells us about her Admiral journey

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MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

08/03/2021

Summary

Fanny joined the Admiral Group in 2010 to help set-up our French subsidiary L’olivier after completing her master’s degree in international business at HEC Paris’ Grand Ecole. She held various high-profile marketing & Product roles in both France and the UK before transitioning onto the Future Leaders Program in 2018. She now works as Chief Growth Officer for L’olivier in Paris.  How did you come to join Admiral? After completing my master’s at HEC Paris, I was looking for my first job. I loved the idea of creating my own business, but it wasn’t the right time for me. When I saw the advert looking for someone to come and help set up a French subsidiary of a Welsh insurance company, I thought it could be interesting. It was basically entrepreneurship with a pay-check. I sent my CV and cover letter and was called back right away! I was wow-ed. I felt special. I was interviewed by Henry Engelhardt, who was our CEO at the time and one of our founders. I also met the founding team of the French comparison site and the CEO of the French subsidiary who was looking to hire me. At just twenty-three, interviewing for my first job, this stood out as something quite special. The combination of a personalized experience, friendliness and professionalism was unique, compared to other companies I had interviewed with. At the time I was debating between Admiral and a very big French industrial company – the kind of company that everyone knows and that would make your parents proud. But there was something that attracted me to Admiral. The company’s story was compelling and I wanted to be part of the adventure. I remember talking to my dad and he told me ‘sometimes you have to follow your heart’. I decided to give it a try and I’ve never looked back! Tell us about your experience setting up our French operation?When I joined in France, the French business did not yet exist. We had an appointed CEO, who I worked closely with. On day one, I went to the shop to buy a pen and a notebook. Materially, there was nothing. Two people, two laptops, in a shared office space in Paris. Year one was spent setting up the company from the ground up: writing the first policy booklet, selecting the brand, finding the right office space – I remember sitting on the floor waiting hours for our electricity to be installed. I experienced everything from the material facilities aspects to flying to Munich to present our business plan to investors. Contributing to it all was incredibly rewarding.   The next three years in France were centred on marketing, product and growth. How did you find moving to Cardiff and becoming the UK’s Marketing Director?In 2014 I left France for a bigger adventure in Cardiff, our global HQ, to head up the marketing department for the UK insurance business. One of my proudest moments was becoming Marketing Director for the UK. I was twenty-eight, making me one of the youngest Marketing Directors for a FTSE100 company at the time. I was managing 30 people and millions of pounds – it was a lofty responsibility and an exciting challenge. I remember friends from business school saying to me ‘you’ve made it’. I’m not so sure about that but I felt proud. Choosing the company that felt right for me paid off. It was a very different dynamic, with more established teams and larger resources. The step up was clear and this brought with it a steep learning curve. That excited me greatly. One of our biggest achievements was reinventing the entire brand, from the logo to the TV ads - with the very first female Admiral! I was so lucky to be welcomed and supported by such a friendly and competent team. After three years leading the marketing team, I craved that start-up spirit again, so I joined the newer UK Loans business to look after marketing, product and sales. It was great to learn about something completely different, outside of insurance. A key milestone for us was launching car finance direct to consumer – this was the first time this had been done in the UK.   Why did you decide to join the Future Leaders Program (FLP)? I knew a lot about marketing, but I didn’t know a lot about the wider company and how Admiral truly makes money. Being on this program gives you the privilege of getting closer to the DNA of the business, to understand what makes Admiral so profitable.  I was also motivated by the geographical flexibility and international component as well as the chance to work directly with Milena Mondini, who is now our Group CEO. I remember thinking, ‘wow, I can learn so much from this woman. She is doing something exciting.’  I worked as an International Business Development Manager on the FLP for two years with Milena and completed some very interesting projects, including a strategy review of the Group. What’s the impact been of having a female CEO?I am very proud when I see that we are one of just two FTSE100 companies with both a female CEO and a female chair. Milena and Annette are both hugely inspiring. But it goes beyond that. What is remarkable, in my opinion, is the presence of successful women at all levels across the business. Often when a company does have a female CEO, she is just one woman among a management team of men. At Admiral there are multiple female leaders at all levels of the organisation and this provides role models for women across the business. It means that wherever you go, there will be a woman just a little bit ahead of you, to look up to, inspire you and lift you up. It is a company of many Milenas and this creates a very special environment for both men and women to work in. How have you found balancing your impressive career with raising a family? Fanny has three children aged five, three and almost one. All her children were born while she was employed at Admiral in Cardiff.It goes without saying that having children can be a challenge for your career and requires new levels of organisation. In a way, you become far more productive!My husband also works for Admiral and was CEO of one of our businesses when we had our children. So, we both had ambitious careers with a lot of responsibility. Fortunately, Admiral does a lot for parents, which meant that neither of us had to sacrifice our career or family life. In some companies, family-friendly policies are almost exclusively targeted at mothers and this can have many negative side effects. In Admiral, family-friendly policies ensure that both parents can take their share of household duties and strike the right balance for their families. Admiral champions a culture of work-life balance. Long hours and late meetings are avoided and there is flexibility around working hours and patterns. Everyone benefits from that, not only parents.Due to Admiral’s encouragement and culture, my husband and I were able to create a balanced and equal pattern of work that allowed both of us to continue to develop professionally whilst also being there for our children. We are proud that we can both be positive role models for our three girls. What advice would you give to someone considering a career at Admiral? I am yet to meet anyone who has regretted joining Admiral. I know people who have stayed longer than I and shorter than I have, but no one that I know has regretted their time at Admiral. So, my advice would be to go for it because you will not regret it! You can find out more about the journeys on our Future Leaders Program here or read more about our MBA Leadership Programs. Alternatively, follow our MBA Leadership page on Linkedin.

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Maurizio, Head of Loans at ConTe.it, tells us why he chose Admiral

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MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

22/02/2021

Summary

Maurizio (INSEAD 2017) joined Admiral in 2017 and is now Head of Loans in ConTe.it. We caught up with him to find out what he was looking for in his career and why he chose Admiral. "Admiral stood out to me because it was founded by two INSEAD MBAs, which really resonated with me as an INSEAD student myself. I was excited by the Future Leaders Program and the blend of internal consulting, accountability and potential for growth that the program offered. I started talking to people in the company and soon realised that Admiral also has a very unique culture.   There were two main things that matched my post-MBA career expectations that convinced me to join Admiral over other alternatives: The first was growth. I wanted to be in a growing company, which would provide constant new opportunities and projects. It was especially exciting to see how the company’s growth was driven by people – putting customers and employees first. The second was accountability. Admiral gives MBAs visibility and responsibility from day one. This was an important factor for me. There are many, well-paid MBA jobs where you don’t step up in terms of responsibility and project scope. I wasn’t only after a salary rise: I wanted to have an impact and establish a long-term career, too. One of my favourite things about the role is the opportunity to do something meaningful. My job is meaningful to the business, to our customers and to me. For anyone considering a career in Admiral, you need to ask yourself what do you really want? We are not one of the biggest companies out there and, as an insurance company, we don’t claim to be one of the coolest - but we’re far from boring!  We are different in the way we work and there are so many opportunities to explore and drive your career with us. Most importantly, we trust and empower our people giving them real ownership and accountability. Where do you see your career in three to five years? Do you want accountability and ownership in a growing environment? If so, this is the program that will offer you that. Other firms may also be great companies to work for, but if you look at the actual program and the role you’ll be doing, you are entering an arena with hundreds of other MBAs all at the same level as you, which means you’ll have fewer possibilities of having an impact and driving change. Admiral only recruits a handful of carefully selected people. When I joined, I did not feel like just another number. I have been with Admiral for 3 years and have taken on some fantastic roles, which have led me to my current role as Head of Loans in Conte, our Italian operation. I’m excited by our long-term vision to innovate within the personal lending market in Italy. We’re looking to create something fully digital, fast and customer centred. Ultimately, my reason for joining Admiral came down to the question of whether I wanted just another name on my resume, or if I wanted real opportunities. I have worked directly with CEOs and key leaders around the business, gaining valuable experience while Admiral invested in me. I had the chance to build things from scratch, with the backing of a FTSE 100, international business." 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

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

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MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

07/12/2020

Summary

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

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

19/11/2020

Summary

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