Executive MBA alumnus Tom Martin awarded Freedom of the City of London
Tom Martin, Remote Mortgage Director for Lloyds Banking Group and Executive MBA (EMBA) 2016 alumnus, was recently awarded the Freedom of the City of London and a Fellowship of the Chartered Banker Institute. We sat down with him to discuss what he’s been up to since graduating from the Cambridge Executive MBA.
You graduated from the programme in
2018 – what have you been up to since then?
I’ve taken on
a new job in Retail at Lloyds Banking Group (the UK’s largest Retail Bank). I
now run teams (around 700 colleagues in total) based across the UK, principally
in London, Sheffield, Belfast and Dunfermline. Across three of the most
recognisable banking brands in the country, Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of
Scotland, I’m responsible for helping customers find their perfect mortgage
over video or the phone. Of course, customers’ house purchase or mortgage
journeys usually start with online research, and helping these customers is
part of my remit too.
It is such a privilege to help thousands of customers find their dream homes or save money on what is probably their largest financial commitment. Remote mortgage advice channels are growing fast and it’s exciting to be a part of it!
On a personal level, just after completing my EMBA my third child was born – Annie Faith, a beautiful little girl. She was, however, born with a serious heart condition which required complex open heart surgery at four months old. Over the last 12 months we’ve been to Great Ormond Street Hospital nine times! This was a really testing time, but one that my family is coming through stronger. I started blogging during the EMBA programme which gave me the confidence to blog about this experience which I found therapeutic. I hope it helps other parents in similar circumstances.
You were recently awarded the ‘Freedom
of the City of London’. What does that award mean to you?
It’s a huge
privilege. Growing up in Wakefield in the north of England, the world of Finance
and the City of London could not have been further from my thoughts. I received
the award after 15 years in the City working values of integrity, ethics and
professionalism as best I could. These values and principles might not be
trendy or flash, but I’m banker than believes in them and I think they stand
the test of time… or least since 1237, when the Freedom was first awarded!
As well as becoming a Freeman, you’ve
also recently been awarded a Fellowship of the Chartered Banker Institute. Can
you tell us a bit about how that came about and what it means to you, and for
is presented in recognition of a significant contribution to banking and the
aims of the Institute. Professionalism, mentorship and working with high
ethical and technical standards to rebuild public trust in the banking
profession are key. My bank has a purpose of ‘Helping Britain Prosper’ and I
believe I’ve got a responsibility to serve others too, which is exactly what I
try to do. Banking, probably quite rightly, had a poor reputation. However,
there are lots of us that, through our actions, are trying to earn the trust
and respect of our customers and stakeholders.
You’ve been a co-opted trustee for
the Internet Watch Foundation’s Finance and Audit Committee for the last six
months. What does that role entail and why is the work of the IWF important to
After the NHS
saved my daughter’s life, I was determined to give something back to the
community and was searching for the right means to do that. I had heard about
IWF as it’s a Cambridge-based organisation, originally founded by a Cambridge internet
entrepreneur, but with a national remit and global reach. The Foundation works
to identify and address instances of sexual abuse content. I wrote to the
Chairman and CEO to offer my services and, after several months, the
opportunity arose to support the Foundation’s work. I have a huge amount of
respect and admiration for the IWF team.
It’s not your first trusteeship – how
important is it to you to use your skills for good?
throughout my personal and professional life, I’ve always been trying to
improve things for others. It’s a theme that I think runs through the
institution that is the University of Cambridge and Cambridge Judge Business
School – as participants and alumni we want to make an impact on the world and
that impact should be a positive one. That’s why, when you put us all together
in one place, such as on the EMBA, that’s exactly what we all go and do.
You’ve been in banking for a long
time – how has the sector changed?
transformed almost beyond recognition. In the distant past I remember what I
can best describe as a “macho” culture; one where financial return too
often trumped other considerations.
Ten years ago
my organisation employed around 150,000 individuals, and now that’s much closer
to 80,000. Last year I saw benchmarking study which identified our digital bank
as a world leader, we’re now leading other industries from a diversity and inclusion
perspective, and we’re now relentlessly focused on meeting the needs of our
customers. We’re far from perfect, and we’ve got so much to do, but have made
monumental strides in the right direction.
What was your motivation for taking
an Executive MBA?
I’d been in banking
a while and wanted to broaden my skill set, better understand the world, and
discover what some of the best minds in business were doing, and how. I wanted
to learn, test myself and surround myself with some of the most dynamic and
interesting professionals out there. I wanted to understand myself better and
become the version of myself that I could. The Cambridge Executive MBA helped
me achieve those ambitions and so much more.
What are your biggest motivations in
make the world a better place, which is why I’ve been at Lloyds Banking Group
for as long as I have. We’re the biggest Retail Bank in the UK, with close to
30 million customers, and I know that the progress we’re making an organisation
will have a big positive impact on society.
What do you consider to be your
My family. It’s
the most important thing in my life, and for that reason balancing family, work
and studying for an EMBA was arguably my toughest challenge. I’ll never forget
one day complaining to an EMBA colleague and she said that what drives her is
the knowledge that one day her EMBA and work will inspire her children. That
really resonated with me and that longer-term perspective helped me thrive and
embrace everything you can achieve during the EMBA.
What advice would you give to people
considering applying for the Executive MBA programme coming from a similar
background to yours?
When I was 18, I
remember playing as my team’s captain during the semi-final of the English schools’
football tournament and the coach gave the most inspiring talk I’ve ever heard.
three types of people in life; those that never get opportunities, those that
have opportunities but don’t take them, and those that have opportunities and
We lost the semi-final,
but this advice carried me through my career, completing the EMBA and now being
awarded the Freedom of the City of London. Grab the opportunity as I’m almost
certain you won’t regret it.