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Name: Wendy O’Dell Callaway (Nee O’Dell)
Left in 1990
Current occupation: Director of 2 firms of Chartered Accountants.
I also work as a part time director for a software consultancy and am a true crime podcaster

What might you do in a typical day of work? 
There is no such thing as a typical day in my life. But typically I will deal with the following:
• Staff / Client issues, Staff training
• Preparation of tax return and accounts, plus review staff work
• Sales for the consultancy company
• Writing and research for the podcast

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I  love meeting a wide variety of clients, helping them with their businesses on a day to day basis, as well as ensuring they meet all their year end reporting requirements.
I enjoy the challenge of running my own business. I have built the businesses from scratch and am proud of where I am today. I love employing and training my team too.  I have over 30 staff in total. As the businesses are all online, it allows me the flexibility to work from wherever I want, and to travel extensively.

What experience and qualifications do you need to do your job?
I went down a more unconventional route, due to issues with my A levels due to personal circumstances at the time.  If you want to work in an accountancy practice, ideally you will get a training contract with a firm, who will put you through your ACCA / ACA exams and give you on the job experience while you train.

Experience is key. I would advise anyone wanting to go down this route to get a job in the sector as soon as they can, with a study package. It’s really hard work – working full time and studying – so you have to be determined, but it will be worth it.

What challenges have you faced in your career so far, and how have you overcome them?
Wow there have been so many !  As I say I started in a more unconventional way than I would recommend.  At 21 I decided what I wanted to do and managed to get a training contract with a local accountants. I worked so hard to get my exams.  I have then built up 3 accountancy practices from scratch, all due to pure hard work and determination.

What advice you would give to current students?
If you’re not 100% sure what you want to do now, that’s OK. You’re still young and you will know one day. In the meantime, work as hard as you can, and get the best grades you can while you have the opportunity – you never get this time back


Name: Joe Trigg
Left in 2007
Current occupation: Treasury Dealer at BNP Paribas

What might you do in a typical day of work? 
I’m typically up at 5:30 in the morning – a lot earlier than my school days! I’ll head onto the trading floor at around 7am, to review the overnight news and market moves and drink my bodyweight in caffeine. From then until the markets close at 5:30, every day is different – from helping with long term projects, trading the various market events or working in a group to understand the latest Bank of England minutes. After reviewing my Profit and Loss (hopefully positive!),  I like to pop to the gym. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The beauty of working in finance is the variety – no two days are the same and there are always opportunities and new experiences to keep things from getting stale. I also really enjoy that things I was taught way back at school or university pop up from time to time – there is a culture in the financial world of needing to be constantly learning and adapting, so both personal and professional development is every present. 

What experience and qualifications do you need to do your job?
I had a background in Maths and Economics from school and university but the important thing to stress is the variety of backgrounds in finance. I’ve worked with graduates from nearly every background –  even those that left school after college without postgraduate study.
In the financial world, the barriers are less who you know but what you can bring to the table. What is your value add? Someone with a passion for politics might be able to decipher the UK Budget or a background in coding and IT could help build a new trading system – so long as you are keen, hardworking and willing to keep going even during times of stress or nerves, there is a career for you in finance. 

What challenges have you faced in your career so far, and how have you overcome them?Working in such a competitive industry, rejection and failure are both common and the nature of the job. The trick is to take each setback not as a closed door but a learning opportunity – could approach that better / what can I take from it? My next big goal is to work internationally – to take my experiences in the UK and see what I can add to them from a totally different culture. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to current students?
Keep your mind open for opportunities, everyone has a different career path, but what the majority of successful people have in common is that when the perfect chance appeared they were ready to take it.