- Current role: Co-Founder and Director, CMO and Programme Manager
- Year of graduation: 2009
- Degree course: Law
We asked Natalie...
What is your current role and how did you get to this point in your career?
I am currently running my own real estate firm focusing on letting and managing UK residential properties for investors based in Asia. I am also the CMO for Asia's leading financial literacy platform for women. In addition to this I am the programme manager for the Splash Foundation which teaches domestic helpers and underprivileged kids how to swim. After studying Law I took a role in recruitment where I met the Founder of a boutique real estate firm and ended up coming to Hong Kong in 2015.
How did your studies at the University of Hertfordshire help shape your career?
I learnt a tremendous amount when studying Law. Besides the obvious academic studies, we had so many opportunities to get involved with extra curricular activities including mooting, debating, trips to Inns of Court and much more. It was a great experience which gave me the confidence to speak in public, how to research and shape an argument, analytical skills and gave me a basic knowledge of contract and employment Law which have been useful in the operational side of running a business.
What made you decide to study at this University?
I am originally from Oxfordshire so I was looking for somewhere within a two hour radius of my hometown to make visiting easy. When I came to the open day I really liked that the Law school was separate from the rest of the campus in Hatfield and all resources for the Law students were contained in one place. It was easy to speak to the tutors and lecturers as well as us having a dedicated Law library, court room, lecture theatre and canteen for the Law students. I felt at home in St Albans.
What was the best or most useful thing about your course?
Gaining confidence through all of the extra activities offered to see that you really do get out what you put in. Many of the other students may not have been as involved in life outside of seminars and lecturers but it really shaped the person I am now and has shown me that if you are willing to put your time in and show commitment, then many other doors will open for you. Law as a subject is an incredibly useful foundation for any career, however, the way that the programme was structured helped.
What is your stand-out memory from your time at the University?
Taking part in debates with MEPs, eminent figures and speakers who were invited to the Law school. There were very few events that my friends and I didn't attend and we learnt a lot from these. Being involved in the mooting team was fantastic as well because we travelled throughout the country and really bonded with our peers in the team as well as having a lot of support from the lecturers. The skills learnt throughout this process have been invaluable.
Are you still in contact with friends you met at the University of Hertfordshire?
Yes. My previous mooting partner is one of my best friends until this day and despite the distance (him being in London and me in Hong Kong) I go to stay with him and his wife (and now his daughter) every time I go back to the UK. I made the best friendships and despite the hard work, we put a lot in outside of the classroom and have really great memories of our time at the University because we were so involved in all aspects.
What advice would you give your younger self if you were starting at the University tomorrow?
To enjoy it and take every opportunity with both hands. We probably did every additional thing you probably could do which was associated with the Law School (Law society, helping on open days, debates, public lectures, mooting, dinners at the Inns of court etc.) and really got so much value from interacting with people at all different levels of the legal profession. This was invaluable and has proved useful throughout my career despite that not being in Law.
Do you have any advice for University of Hertfordshire graduates who are considering a career in your industry?
I didn't pursue a career in Law and I guess my best advice would be that whichever degree you do it is an excellent grounding for whatever you do in future and to really make the most of all opportunities available. Despite it seeming like a long time at first, three years goes very quickly so you need to put the work in, even if it isn't something that you see yourself pursuing further. Networking is crucial in any industry and this is something we had a lot of opportunity to practice regularly.
What are your future career plans/ ambitions?
I am running my own company now in HK and also some other ventures in Fintech and a charitable organisation as I felt a bit jaded with the corporate/sales environment and really wanted to do something that had a positive impact on the lives of others. I envisage that I will continue to do something along those lines and hope to keep learning, innovating and networking to find new ways that I can make a difference and share what I have learnt.