I always liked maths and economics at school, and I also enjoyed watching some entertaining programmes on TV that piqued my interest in finance and business. I chose a university course that would give me a structured career path so that I knew where I was going; accountancy seemed to me a well-respected profession with a wide range of opportunities. I also had family members who worked in finance and it interested me to hear about what they did on a day to day basis.
The graduate job hunt
Initially I looked at applying to the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms. These employers frequently visited my uni for careers talks, and a lot of my friends were applying for jobs with them. But it mattered to me that I felt like an integral part of the company I was working for and that I felt directly involved in making it successful. This would have meant a lot of my time would have been spent travelling and being off site at other companies premises.
One reason I applied to Sky was that telecoms and media looked like an exciting area to work in. It’s very fast paced, and constantly evolving to keep up with new market trends Another was that I was keen to do a graduate programme, rather than an entry level job. Training to do a new role alongside people at a similar stage in life is a great way to start your career.
What I do
The finance programme has three one-year rotations. Currently I’m based in Osterley, west London, working in product design and development. I manage the costs and complete the budgets and forecasts for new products and product updates, as well as doing project and ad hoc work which provides an interesting and diverse workload. I have more responsibility than I initially expected and next year I’ll be doing something else, but I don’t know what yet!
As employees we’re always kept up to date with what Sky is working on. We’re informed about the successes of new shows and products, and it’s a great feeling to know that we have contributed to them. I’ve also enjoyed the additional opportunities I’ve been given outside of my normal role. For example, I took part in the Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative last year, where we organised a day of sports activities for kids from local primary school’s.
The hardest thing is being organised and learning to prioritise, especially now that I’m studying towards my CIMA qualification, which is a big time commitment that can make it hard to fit in social things. I’ve done my first set of CIMA exams, and they’re going to get harder as I go on, but we’re given a lot of support from training advisers and colleagues as well as study leave beforehand. Having a finance-related degree exempted me from several of the exam papers last year, and the benefit was that it allowed me to focus more on my job. Having a finance degree certainly isn’t part of the selection criteria for Sky, though – I know graduates without it who do very well in all their exams, and my team is made up of people from a real mix of university backgrounds.
Finance at Sky is not the boring option. You’re working very closely with other departments, such as news and technology, so everyone hears about everything exciting that’s going on. There’s a wide range of opportunities within finance (including roles in group reporting, commercial finance and investor relations) and I have a varied and challenging role – I definitely have more responsibility than I expected and really have to think independently.
Anyone who wants to work in Finance needs to be able to think logically and clearly. You also need tenacity – you mustn’t give up when you face adversity and setbacks. I’m really happy doing what I do now and looking forward to a long-term career with Sky.