Claire Walsh (EMBA 2018) takes on new responsibilities as Head of Advice Strategy at Schroders Personal Wealth.
Claire Walsh, Chartered financial planner and Cambridge Executive MBA (EMBA) 2018 participant, is leading advice strategy for investment manager Schroders’ new Personal Wealth division.
Reporting to the Chief Commercial Officer, Claire’s role focuses on reviewing the overall advice process provided to clients and driving improvements in the area. The role also carries a public relations aspect, seeing Claire act as a spokesperson for the company, championing the value of personal financial planning the media.
Following previous experiences at American Express, Aspect8 and Best Practice IFA, Claire joined Schroders in 2018 as a spokesperson, raising awareness of the benefits of accessing professional financial advice. However, the move to the new Personal Wealth division is, as Claire puts it, a complete career change.
“I was working within a PR team, connecting with journalists and providing commentary,” says Claire. “My new role is a combination of strategy development and implementation. We have a clear vision for the business – my role is about translating that vision into something that can be implemented.”
The value of ‘soft’ management skills
Claire, a member of Downing College, is finding the Executive MBA’s mixed focus on both formal business training and ‘soft’ management skills beneficial to her new role.
“The EMBA has been a steep learning experience in numerous ways. Getting to grips with a wide range of topics, to the right level of detail simultaneously, while also building new relationships has been excellent training for my new role.”
“My role crosses over numerous business functions, so some of the core modules from the EMBA have been phenomenally useful.”
“Until now, much of my work has been face-to-face. Schroders Personal Wealth is geographically dispersed across the UK, with many people working from home and consequently many ‘meetings’ are actually conference calls. Learning to build rapport and work with people remotely is something I’ve had the benefit of learning on the EMBA.”
Claire joined Schroders in August 2018, around the same time as she started studying for her Executive MBA. Impressively, she’s taking another significant step in her career just twelve months later.
“In all honestly, I found the first four months [of the Executive MBA] really challenging. It’s in the nature of EMBA participants to push ourselves, but we’re only human and in hindsight I took on too much change at once,” Claire admits. “I’m learning to be kinder to myself and give myself more time to adapt to things in the future!”
An inspiring peer network
Despite her intention to be mindful of her time, Claire confesses her classmates on the programme inspire her to keep achieving her goals.
“I’ve really valued getting to know my fellow classmates and for all my own stresses with combining work and EMBA, I am always humbled by others who seem to be managing so much more,” she says.
“I am inspired by my fellow classmates to push my own remits of what is possible, but I am trying to learn from others of how to do this in a way where I can maintain balance in my life!”
And Claire’s advice to new starters on the programme?
“Allow lots of time to do pre-course reading and, if you think you would benefit from it, find out if you can work reduced hours whilst doing the programme and/or negotiate additional study leave.”