Chris B joined Langley Prep School in Reception and left the Senior School in the summer of 2009, with A-Levels in Economics, Business Studies, and Information Technology.
Did you know what career you wanted to follow when you were at Langley?
During my time at Langley I had flirted with the idea of a number of different careers, having wanted to be a professional Footballer (many probably also did) in my younger years, to forming more of an interest in business and finance as I moved towards Sixth Form. However, I did not really have any solid idea of a chosen career during school. For that reason, I decided to keep my subject choices to those I had enjoyed at GCSE and that were fairly mainstream, not looking to specialise in anything too much.
Which extra-curricular activities, sports and trips did you experience?
I was always involved with sports throughout my time at Langley and the school offered a wide choice of sports with great attentive teachers and coaches from a young age. I had always loved football, but during my time at the school I developed a love for cricket and rugby as well. Ultimately becoming 1st team captain of football, and vice captain of the cricket 1st XI and rugby 1st XV.
Two very notable other trips that have left memories and confounded lifelong friendships, which we still talk about today, are the USA ski trip in Year 9 and the Bordeaux rugby tour for the 1st and 2nd XV in our final year at Langley, with the sadly late and great Gerry Frost, our former coach.
Do you think these activities have been useful within your career and helped to give you transferable skills?
100%. The sports and wide range of other trips and activities on offer at Langley provide the chance to develop a greater understanding of the world and to develop skills that can be used throughout life. Sport, perhaps most importantly, gives you the chance to develop great team working and leadership skills. The social aspect should also not be downplayed, as it helps to develop good social skills and provides the opportunity to create long lasting friendships, which I believe are invaluable.
What did you do at university?
I went to Loughborough and studied Economics. It was a great three years of my life and an experience that I would push anyone into if they feel they wish to advance their learning at higher education. You do not have to know what you want to do when you leave school, I certainly didn’t, and university gives you the time and additional knowledge to further develop and mature as a person.
How did your career begin?
After leaving university I still didn’t have a really definitive career in mind and that is ok (believe me, very few people in their early or even mid 20s have a clue what they want to do or where they will end up 10 years from then for that matter). I was lucky at first in that I was given a job in the family business in shoes, working in sales, as a bit of a stop gap so that I could consider my options. Ultimately it wasn’t for me back then as I felt I wanted to try and forge my own career in the world, something a little different to what my father and grandfather had done before me.
I returned to education in 2014 and completed a Masters (MSc) in Finance at the University of East Anglia, during which time I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do, although I felt sure I wanted to work in sales, with some sort of finance angle. In the February of that year, a few months prior to finishing my course, a friend alerted me to a potential career as a Ship Broker, which I had never even heard of at the time. I went home, did a little research and applied to the only two graduate schemes I could find in the area, not expecting much. Both offered me interviews and I got onto the graduate scheme with Maersk.
What I would say to anyone is don’t panic or rush your decisions, try and find a job you enjoy that fits your skill set, as the last thing you want is to be stuck in a job you hate. After all you’ll likely have to be working for 40+ years!
Where are you now in your career and what have been the highlights?
I have now been with Maersk for nearly six years, graduating from a trainee shipbroker and now working in London. The experience has been incredible and allowed me to travel and learn a lot within the shipping and energy industries.
My job involves the sale and purchase of commercial ships for clients; we are also involved in the chartering of these vessels, assisting with financing, valuations and other general consultancy around the assets.
I have lived in Copenhagen for six months with Maersk – a great experience. Living abroad at one point in your life and/or career is something I would urge anyone to do especially when you are young and not tied down. London and the UK will always be there for you when you’re done, so get out and see the world.
Did your time at Langley help inform your career choices and your attitude to career progression?
Langley was a great school and the teachers instilled a hard working ethic, which has definitely helped me in my career. There was a lot of information given to us on career options and teachers were always there to give you advice and help when trying to work out what was best for your future beyond Langley.
Is there any advice you would like to give to students currently considering joining Langley?
Langley gave me some of the best and most memorable years of my life, almost every day was enjoyable and I often couldn’t wait to get to school. The grounds and facilities are amazing and I feel very lucky to have had the privilege to have gone there, having made many long lasting friendships and memories.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Langley offers a whole host of opportunities both curricular and extra-curricular – take every chance you get to try something new. You never know what you might find you enjoy once you set your mind to it.