“I spent 11 years at Barclays, rapidly progressing from Junior Manager aged 28 to Director of Global Deals at 33. I worked on high-level transactions, projects and deals in South Africa, India and the Middle East, which gave me the opportunity to travel the world, earn good money and have a great lifestyle.
“Despite this, I felt unsatisfied. I was successful, but I hadn’t done anything extraordinary like I’d intended to. I began thinking about what my passions were and I kept landing on sport. Growing up in North London and going to watch Arsenal at the weekend, sports (and football in particular) were something I’d always had a huge passion for. At the time, the sports industry was becoming more commercial and a business in its own right, which made me start to think about finding a way into it professionally.
“In 2006, my brother was recovering from a serious operation and I’d taken some time off to help him. It gave me time to sit back, reflect and think about what I really wanted. I work better with a strategy, so I created a life plan made up of three-year blocks, mapping out where I wanted to be and what I wanted to achieve right up until the age of 90. It included career aspirations, how much I wanted to earn, the skills I was looking to develop and the education I’d need to do it all, along with goals for my personal life.
“The EMBA was definitely part of the plan. I enrolled specifically with the intention of making a career pivot – which it certainly helped with. I left Barclays half way through the programme as my role and department were being relocated to Singapore. They made me a very attractive offer to move out there, and it felt uncomfortable to turn it down, but it would have been a step back from my plan. I’d only been on the EMBA programme for a year but it had already given me the confidence to take risks. I decided to reject the Barclays offer and forge a new path.
“In 2013, one year after leaving Barclays, I invested in a business started by my cousin – converting tube station kiosks into coffee shops. My role was as an investor and advisor, and I supported the business here while focusing on my next career step.