Network, network, network – top tips from our alumni
We recently spoke with David Williamson, who graduated from Brighton in 2009 in Business Studies with Marketing. David is now working as an Account Manager looking after Capital Markets for network provider, Colt Technology Services.
How did you get your job?
“After graduating at the University, I joined a small brokerage in Mayfair and worked as a dealer, trading and broking on the FX desk. I spent a year or so training and then worked on the Asian (overnight desk) for another 2 years. Unfortunately I had to leave for personal reasons as I could no longer work night shifts and in all honesty, fell into recruitment, which I did successfully for 3 years before Colt (a client at the time) asked me to join as an account manager.
- Network, Network and Network! Keep in touch and network with people in and out of your industry as much as possible. I got the job at Colt through the fact I made it my business to know the business and the individuals within it. Needs to be a wide array of people too! Old, young, male, female etc. A big blend of people in your network open’s your eyes to looking at things from different perspectives and you never know when their experience can help.
- Maintain your own brand – be proud of the work you do and align yourself as an expert consultant in that space. Think about the long term and not the quick wins. This helps generate long term trust and will eventually lead to sales (if you choose that path) or just much more fruitful business relationships. Some companies get their staff into bad habits. I’ve always approached it in a simple way: the company I work for is lucky to have someone like me representing them, but if that company closes down or you need to leave then you have a solid reputation in the market and moving on won’t be a problem. If the company you work for sees a sense of pride in your work, they will reward this type of behaviour.
- Don’t worry about the NOs! Everyone gets this word said to them on a number of occasions, socially, interviews and at work. A No in sales is not definitive, it just means you haven’t worked out the right solution; so can you go back with a new idea/suggestion? A No in an interview may just be because you don’t fit into the company – don’t get hung up about it, if they didn’t think you were right then move on to your next opportunity… You have to develop a thick skin when leaving University and working in sales is tough (in fact most client facing roles are), for every 49 no’s you may only get 1 yes… but that yes may help push your career along so it’s worth taking the rejections!”
What do you enjoy about your job?
“I love working at Colt. The colleagues I’m surrounded by are not only great people to spend the day with but they are also excellent at their given profession. It’s much easier to do a job when you know the right level of support is around you. In fact it adds to your own confidence in your company being able to deliver what it says! The main thing for me though is that this is a technology company which is forever changing. You need to constantly keep up with these developments and be aware of the competitors you’re up against – it keeps you on your toes, brain working and means every day is a little different.”
In what way is your degree/university experience relevant?
“University as a whole definitely sets you up for the world of work. I knew shy people who came out of their shells at University and now have fantastic client facing roles that they wouldn’t have even thought of doing beforehand. I’ve also got friends who went to University with one passion and came out with totally different ones.
“I think it really builds you as a person, especially having to be responsible for yourself and your education, after years of being looked after by your parents and spoon-fed at school. You need to be self-disciplined to succeed at work and I think University is a very important time in a person’s life to learn this skill in particular. The economics classes I took at Brighton also helped me on the trading desk. Rob was my tutor at the time and his passion for the subject really inspired me – I just wish we had the trading room then!”
Any other information you want to share?
“Whilst everyone is at Uni to enjoy themselves, find out who they are and experience as much as possible, I think it’s important for students to remember what they are ultimately there for! As much as I enjoyed my time at the University (and trust me I did a lot of enjoying), you have to keep working towards the ultimate goal of finishing with a solid qualification. If you leave University with a good degree and a sense of personal growth, then this is what it’s all about. Both these factors will impact the career you get and the company you end up in!”