Having won our inaugural Undergraduate of the Year ‘One to Watch’ award in 2017 and starting his graduate scheme with us in September 2018, Alex Stickler has since quickly progressed to become the Commercial Manager for Investor Solutions, our portfolio monitoring and data analytics division. Here Alex updates us on his rapid progression to his new role and offers his advice to anyone just starting their career.
What advice would you give to someone just leaving formal education?
If you’re just leaving formal education, the advice I would give is that you don’t need to have everything figured out and be in your perfect role straight away. I had been through a number of different positions within IQ-EQ before I found what I enjoyed and what I am good at, as well as where I could make the most impact. If you are unsure about what you want to do longer term, try and get into a role where you can experience a lot of different things or can get a wide view of different areas of the business. This can give you a lot of transferable skills, as well as ensuring you end up in a role you really enjoy.
Did you come out of education with a clear plan of where you wanted to be in 5 years’ time? If not, what advice would you give to people in helping them find what they would like to do.
I came out of university knowing that I wanted to work within the financial services industry but I had no plan for the specifics. During my degree I barely touched on investment funds, and now I spend every day speaking with CFOs/CIOs of some of the world’s largest investment firms. If you have a rough idea of the area you would like to work in, for instance, if you want to work directly supporting people, or want to work designing IT systems; then I suggest finding a role within that area that will allow you to explore what aspects you like best, in order to understand where you want to focus for the years ahead.
What attracted you to apply for Undergraduate of the Year award?
I entered the ‘Undergraduate of the Year’ awards as I had already applied for over 15 summer internships and I thought that, although it was a long shot, the worst that could happen is they say no. (I actually nearly didn’t finish completing my application until I received a chaser call from Target Jobs whilst I was in the gym!)
There was an amazing summer internship to win – including a brief stint in the Group’s Hong Kong office – and rather than counting myself out before even applying, I thought that “if you don’t enter, you’re not going to win.” My advice would be: even if it is a long shot and you think you are under qualified, apply for that perfect role. Perhaps you don’t meet the exact criteria asked for in the job description, but as long as you can prove that you are the best person for the job, that is all that matters.
How did you career progress from intern to manager in 3 years?
I have managed to progress into the Commercial Manager role in such a short space of time partly through luck and partly through my own hard work and perseverance. I started in Jersey within the Corporate administration team, before moving to London to support our Funds Business Development Directors. After spending 18 months supporting new business opportunities, including proposals, pitches, presentations and research, I have joined the Investor Solutions team as Commercial Manager, with the premise to run the new business pipeline for the division.
I was already assisting the Investor Solutions team when the job came up, and it gave me the opportunity to step up and implement what I had learnt throughout my previous roles. I knew that this was the next step for my career, and it has seen me working alongside senior members of the business from all jurisdictions as well as running demonstrations for high profile prospects.
Alongside this, I helped to implement our new Group ESG product which launched in November, and I am an active member of the CHESS committee (Charity, Health, Environment, Sports and Social), organising sports and social events for the UK & Ireland cluster.
What are you involved in outside of your role in IQ-EQ?
Outside of IQ-EQ, I’m pretty active, going to the gym and playing sport such as rugby, football and squash when I am able to. I am looking to go snowboarding in the Alps next year and cannot wait to be back on-piste. I am also a keen guitarist and although I don’t play live in a band anymore, I still like to play to relax and unwind. Cooking is also a passion, and I love making a wide range of meals to fuel my energy for the day, or to entertain friends.
I love to travel, and experience different cultures. I’ve been to south-east Asia a few times and can’t get enough of the food and the relaxed lifestyle, but I really want to do a 4-month trip around South America or drive the length of Route 66 in the US with some mates. You can learn so much from getting out and stuck into these places, and I can’t wait for things to start opening up again to get a new journey underway!
Investor Solutions Commercial Manager