Tom joined Langley in Year 6 and left with A-levels in Economics, Business Studies, and Physics. Here, we hear about his career in finance and how he used lockdown to develop a business idea.
Did you know what career you wanted to follow when you were at Langley?
I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue during my early years at Langley. I had brief stints of wanting to be a design engineer and a civil engineer, as I had an interest in the design of large projects, but I didn’t have the creativity to be an architect. I gained more interest in Business Studies, which swayed me towards my A-levels of Economics, Business Studies, and Physics. During my studies I knew that the finance industry was the direction I wanted my career to head towards, however I was still unsure of exactly what job I would end up doing.
Which extra-curricular activities were you involved in at Langley?
I took part in a few different sports teams including rugby in my early years and then hockey in my later years; if it weren’t for Mr Malone, I would have never thought of trying out the sport myself. Because of Langley I took up hockey outside school as a goalkeeper and progressed to play at county and regional level. While in Year 7 I attended the rugby tour to Amsterdam with a broken hand as I found out when I got home.
What did you study at university?
I studied Economics at the University of Lincoln and during the years I spent there it made me realise that algebra does have a use in real life! The one piece of information I would give to someone studying a degree would be to write a dissertation if you get the chance. It’s your opportunity to study an area that you have a real interest in. Throughout my summer holidays I worked on building sites, which made me realise that the building industry does not operate as efficiently as it should and which resulted in my dissertation being titled ‘An Empirical Study into the Determinants of Productivity in the UK Construction Industry.’ Despite the boring title I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of work.
How did your career begin?
In my final two years of university I knew that Investments and financial advice was the career path I wanted to take, despite always convincing myself I didn’t want to follow in my father’s footsteps. I spent a few days at Citigroup in London and, although I enjoyed my time there and learnt a lot in the process, I concluded that London wasn’t for me. Before starting the final year of my degree, I made the decision to join Parklands Financial Advisers and work with my Dad and, thankfully, he allowed it. I completed my final exam at university on a Thursday and began work on the Monday.
Where are you now in your career and what have been the highlights?
I have now been at Parklands Financial Advisers for almost two years and my highlight would have to be getting my final exam result and qualifying as a financial adviser. I can advise on almost all areas of finance however I predominantly advise on pensions, investments, and tax planning as this is the area I am most interested in. Along with the numerous hours I put into studying for my exams to become a Regulated Financial Adviser I also completed the Discretionary Fund Manager qualification in my free time to help me understand Investment Principles and theories in greater detail so I can better advise my clients. At Parklands we currently manage around £200million of investments and pensions, and are always looking to take on new clients; this has meant we are looking to take on an apprentice financial adviser over the coming months to join the team.
Lockdown created a bit of spare time so I instigated setting up a separate business to fill a gap – one that, it seems, many have within their financial planning – which is a valid Will and a Power of Attorney. It dawned on me while studying that a will written without the input of a Financial Adviser could lead to all sorts of potential future tax issues for the beneficiaries. We aim to ensure that doesn’t happen for our clients. The business is called East Anglian Wills and Estate Planning.
On reflection, did your time at school help prepare you for your career?
It wasn’t until a trip to London with my father, and him arranging for me to talk to Grant Thornton Accountants and Rathbones Fund Managers while he was in meetings, that school and a future career started to make sense. It was only at that point that it clicked as to why I needed to get good grades and what the potential outcome of such grades would be.
What advice would you give to anyone choosing their A-levels?
Pick the subjects you enjoy not just the ones you’re good at, you will probably follow your A-level subjects throughout university and into employment and you’re never going to be happy or excel doing something you don’t enjoy. If you get the opportunity for extra help during breaks or afterschool activity time do not say no. These can be some of the most valuable teaching sessions you will have.
I’m thankful for most of my teachers at Langley, however I’d like to give a particular mention to Mr Haysom, Mr McComish, Mr Madgett, and I’d also like to give a special shout out to Mrs Skelton for dragging me through my German GCSE and I hope she has kept up her tradition of wacky world book day costumes.