Career advice from our network: Part 1


We sometimes ask for it, often receive it and it varies in its usefulness.

Good career advice, however, can be invaluable and stay with you throughout your career.  We asked our network to share some of the best advice they’ve received. 


Jane Richards

We sometimes ask for it, often receive it and it varies in its usefulness.  Good career advice, however, can be invaluable and stay with you throughout your career.  We asked our network to share some of the best advice they’ve received. 

David Wilmot, Partner, Apera Asset Management

“The first two things I was told on my first day was to always focus on maintaining high levels of integrity, and in communication with clients to always consider what the other side cares about and to bear that in mind in how you interact with them.  A few decades on and both are still core to how I think about working in a fund management environment and how we can achieve high levels of performance.   I would add to that you should be prepared to learn from others but never underestimate the importance of your own view and articulating it clearly and with confidence.”

Phillip Corbett, Head of Investor Relations, Hurricane Energy plc

“A bit obvious, but it's more important to listen than to talk. There's an old quote which the new BP CEO used recently - "You were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason". Some of the most effective and successful colleagues I have worked with would listen carefully and reflect on what they have heard before commenting. Also, try and find a mentor who you respect and help you through your career. Most business operate such programmes these days, but if not, then actively seek out someone who you feel you can learn from.”

Costas Kalisperas, Investor & Advisor, former co-head Consumer & Retail IB, Barclays

"This may sound a little flippant but early on one of my mentors told me that you can’t think too much about your career progression other than in six month increments because in banking everything changes every year and intra year and these changes can be quite dramatic.  Often, and particularly as a junior banker, in January you will have no idea how things are going to look in October.  So, take a six-month view and base it on if you are learning – are you gaining valuable experience? If you’re learning a third of the time, you’re doing well."

"The same person also told me simply to just try to make it into the office each day! – show up, put in the work and it will never be as bad as you think. Persevere and be reliable. It’s simple advice that has helped me when the going has been tough."

Chelsea Mao, Product Manager, Pocket Gems & Former Investment Banker

“Don’t self-limit.  I used to be very timid about the job opportunities I applied to, thinking they wouldn’t consider me because I lacked experience.  I think the MBA program helped a lot with this, because you’re around people with such diverse backgrounds and you start realizing that people’s careers aren’t linear in that you do x and then the next logical step is y.  It’s given me a lot of confidence to pursue whatever opportunities interest me.  I’m not exactly a classic background for the product role that I’m in now, but I’m thankful it worked out because I love my job!”

Tara Stowe, AD, Sponsor Coverage, DC Advisory

"Working with the right team for you is extremely important.  I got incredibly lucky – when I went into the Financial Sponsors coverage team, I got two very well known and respected MDs to learn from and the most amazing AD; James was as harsh as he was kind.  In those early years they taught me the lessons that made me the banker and worker that I am now and that’s invaluable.  It comes down to finding the right organisation, the right team and the right people; then you will learn a lot and crucially it’s enjoyable as well as really interesting."

"The final piece of advice I want to share is to be open to any opportunity that comes your way.  Lots of graduates are looking for the “perfect” role.  That may not exist.  If you sit around waiting for something, you'll never find it, and you’ll never know if you don’t try.  At the beginning of my job hunt I didn’t know how many roles there were in investment banking and M&A and as I've already said, I hadn’t even heard of sponsor coverage!  Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where we can realistically plan things out long term; I think the effects of Covid-19 are going to change the world and we don’t even know the half of it, so being open to learning new things and taking chances is going to be crucial to managing our long term careers."