< Blogs | 22.02.2019 |

GROWING INFLUENCE

GROWING INFLUENCE

In his first blog for The Journal, Alex Dooler explains how even the most junior staff members can make a big difference

In a boardroom on the top floor of a skyscraper in London, 30 teenagers fill the chairs for what is AIG’s first Insight Day for students from less- privileged backgrounds. These students were from a community like the one I grew up in – far removed from the towering heights of London’s financial district.

Growing up in that environment, it was hard to envisage a life outside of those confines. The education system can only go so far in inspiring people. Often, they need to see it to believe it.

A turning point was at the age of 17. I applied to attend an Insight Day at EY – the Big Four accountancy company. Just one month later, I was ready to embark on the painful four-hour door-to-door commute. The lights were bright, the towers tall and I didn’t really understand what it meant to work in finance.

I remember collecting a business card from someone working in corporate tax and was enthralled. That card still sits in my old bedroom window to this day. Although small in nature, the impact was huge. That card made my ambition tangible – I could grasp it, see it and want it.

As I stood before those students at AIG, I felt a sense of pride that I could make an impact. The students were taken aback by the range of careers in insurance – actuarial, underwriting, claims, broking and
many more.

From this comes my first takeaway of 2019 – your position on the conventional ladder of power does not influence your ability to make a difference.

As one of the most junior members in my organisation, I had created a memory – a spark – that will live in the minds of at least some of those students, like it
did with me. Understand the influence that you can wield within the industrial- sized juggernaut that you find yourself in.

Be it a commercial organisation, in the community or in any organisation you align with.

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

The clock strikes 17:00 and the muscle fatigue sets in. But as the cylinders of the internal booking systems wind down and Microsoft Outlook jitters to a stop, my second job roars into life – the job of studying for a professional qualification.

Although a tiring and difficult pursuit, I wholeheartedly recommend the practice of taking up a professional qualification.

Professional exams teach you something that, in my case, university didn’t. They teach you the very foundation of your field. Professional qualifications teach you a holistic understanding of the fundamentals of business. That can be through the lens of accountancy, insurance, actuarial or finance – but there is a relevant qualification out there for everybody.

Warren Buffet spends six hours a day learning and reading. In today’s globalised world, knowledge is the single-most important commodity. Acquire it wherever possible.

Alex Dooler is graduate surety underwriter at AIG

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