I joined Vodafone as a young, wide-eyed graduate just over 9 years ago. I studied maths at Warwick and took a year out to go travelling straight after university. I had an amazing time. All good things must come to an end, however, and so I came back to the UK to get my career started.
I was really interested in finance, and it was important to me that I put my degree to good use. I also wanted a graduate role that offered great training and where I’d be able to develop a broad range of skills.
Vodafone was advertising for a Business Intelligence Specialist position. The role jumped out at me straight away – there’s the Vodafone brand, of course, but it was also an opportunity work in a financial role and to build on my existing skills.
Working in Business Intelligence was the perfect way to kick-start my career. I’m quite technically minded, so I really enjoyed the problem-solving element of the role. It was all about finding patterns in data and using my analytical skills to identify potential solutions.
Those first couple of years were great – they allowed me to get to know myself professionally and get a feel for the kind of work I was suited to. It felt like a natural progression for me to move over to Financial Accounting.
It was a proper accountancy role, in which I was providing financial support to the Prepaid Business team. I also had the chance to work on major transformation projects. It was an opportunity to learn about the commercial side of the business and to work closely with other departments, such as IT.
Having started out as an analyst, I quickly progressed through the ranks to become a senior manager, and I’ve recently been given responsibility for overseeing a large team of finance professionals.
The culture at Vodafone is very meritocratic. My own career path goes to show that the opportunities are out there if you’re ambitious and willing to work hard for them. It’s also an extremely versatile company – you’re encouraged to build a broad range of skills and to gain experience across different areas of the business.
The company really looked out for me during my training – from paying for relevant courses to allowing me time off for study leave when I needed it. They really were great. I was able to gain an ACMA in Management Accounting with the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA).
There are also plenty of opportunities for soft skill development. It’s a little less structured; you’re generally encouraged to take charge of your own learning and to pursue the things that interest you.
The atmosphere here is more or less what you’d expect working somewhere that’s full of ambitious, driven people. I’m probably biased, but it feels like the culture in my team is particularly dynamic and faced-paced. We’re a curious bunch, and we all thrive on being stimulated and challenged in our roles.
It’s a bit of a cliché, but if there’s ever a job where no two days are the same, this is it. Every day brings something different – a new challenge or opportunity.
There’s never a dull moment and I’m constantly kept on my toes, which is how I like it. I couldn’t picture myself working somewhere where you’re doing the same thing day in, day out.
It goes hand-in-hand with the culture here at Vodafone, which is all about trusting people with responsibility and seeing what they can do with it. It also means you get given a lot flexibility around your office hours and how you choose to work.
There’s a good work-life balance here. It allows me to spend time with friends and family and to do the things that make me happy.
Forgetting everything else, you need top-notch people skills to work here. Even if you’re not directly client-facing, you’re going to find yourself working with colleagues and stakeholders across all parts of the business.
It’s about communicating well; being able to reach out to people and have productive conversations. You also need to be a good multi-tasker because there’s always a million different things going on at once.