- Current role: Finance and Operations Director
- Year of graduation: 1999
- Degree course: BA Business Studies
I managed to get a placement year with the Audit Commission in London. This really helped boost my confidence and provided me with office and IT experience which I could convey at my interviews with prospective employers.
We asked Alan...
What is your current role and how did you get to this point in your career?
I am the Finance and Operations Director at Beechbrook. We are a private debt fund manager providing loans and equity solutions to small and medium-sized business across northern Europe.
Having graduated, I applied for the audit trainee scheme with PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I left to take on a Financial Controller role at Graphite Capital, a mid-market Private Equity house, where I spent seven years in the industry before moving to my new role at Beechbrook.
How did your studies at the University of Hertfordshire help shape your career?
It provided me with a degree which was the stepping stone to being accepted on the PwC graduate scheme.
What made you decide to study at this University?
I hadn't really decided at the time which area of business I would be interested in and the Business Studies course kept my options open. I grew up in London and wanted a place which was not too far from my friends and family, but enough to develop my own self independence.
What was the best or most useful thing about your course?
I specifically chose a course with a placement year as up to that point, I had very little work experience and felt that this would be seen as a weakness by prospective employers. I managed to get a placement year with the Audit Commission in London. This really helped boost my confidence and provided me with office and IT experience which I could convey at my interviews with prospective employers. I would really recommend a sandwich year out in industry. It really is invaluable.
What is your stand-out memory from your time at the University?
Being independent and the sense of freedom
Are you still in contact with friends you met at the University of Hertfordshire?
Yes I have made some good friends who I am still in touch with. I also met my wife at University, so be warned!
What advice would you give your younger self if you were starting at the University tomorrow?
Work hard but also enjoy the life experiences and opportunities that University life presents.
Do you have any advice for University of Hertfordshire graduates who are considering a career in your industry?
My advice would be to go for a graduate scheme and aim for a specific qualification (eg. Accountancy or CFA). These are typically well run, structured and financed. There are also sometimes internships available for final year or new graduates which may lead to future job opportunities.
What are your future career plans/ ambitions?
I'm enjoying my time at Beechbrook and the plan would be to contribute to making it the best private debt fund manager in its class.