Banking - Risk Advisor

What do you do for a living?
 
I am a Risk Adviser for an Investment management firm in Edinburgh.
 
 
How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
 
I suppose I never really chose a career direction, as such.  See below for how I fell into my current role.
 
 
What was your journey to reach the role you are in today? 
 
For Highers, I chose the subjects that I thought I had to (Maths and English), as well as the subjects I was good at (Physics and Chemistry) and one that I enjoyed (Latin - mainly thanks to an excellent teacher).  From this, I chose the subjects that I did best in at Uni (Maths and Physics, as well as Astromony for a year - seemed interesting, it wasn't!).  From a Maths degree, the main career choices are to stay in academia (which I ruled out on financial grounds), to move into secondary teaching (which I considered for a while, but was eventually put off by my mother's tales of the profession) or accountancy.  I got a job with a 'Big 4' accountancy firm in their risk advisory practice, mainly because it allowed me to get a professional qualification and a good name on my CV.  I stayed there for 5 years before moving into financial services in a more specialised role, which is where I currently find myself.
 
 
Talk me through a day in your life... what sorts of things would it involve?
 
I work in an office in Edinburgh (although I do get the occassional day at one of the firm's other locations).  My day consists of handling e-mails, writing reports and other documents and attending meetings on various subjects.
 
My job is to oversee how the business manages risk on behalf of the Board.  This role is not unique to financial services, although it is more common than in other industries.
 
 
Was it your planned career when you were 18?
 
I had no idea!  I knew that I wanted to go to Uni and wanted to keep my options open.  Non-vocational subjects that I was good at seemed like a good way to go.
 
 
 
What did your mum and dad want you to do?
 
Whatever made me happy.  I suspect that my Dad might have liked me to take on the family business (a glass factory), although I really wanted to do my own thing.
 
 
What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
 
I wouldn't worry too much about the choices I made at school.  In my graduate intake at Deloitte, there were more history graduates than maths graduates.  At the firm I currently work at, there are more philosophy grads than accountancy.  All I would say is that a decent Higher grade in Maths and English goes a long way to showing that you are not illiterate and / or inumerate.
 
When you get to Uni, if you are genuinely interested in accountancy or financial services, then there are loads of summer internships available, which can only help you when it comes to the graduate milkround.
 
 
What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
 
The good thing about financial services is that it is relatively easy to move sideways within firms into different departments, such as Operations, Finance, Marketing, or the trading floor itself.