NAME: Mary Agbesanwa
EDUCATION: Economics at University of Birmingham
JOB TITLE: Management Consultant at PwC
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Confident, inquisitive and energetic!
What’s your story?
I remember deciding what to study at university was really difficult for me but I eventually chose to study Economics. I was always good and had an interest in maths but not enough to study just maths. At the same time, I loved writing and reading. Economics is a great mix as it’s both quantitative and qualitative and of course, it is a well-respected and employable degree. I spent 3 years studying Economics at the University of Birmingham after receiving an unconditional offer! I really enjoyed Birmingham – it is a really youthful and exciting city to study in. It is also a great size (you can walk almost everywhere) and it’s cheaper than London which is great.
During my time at uni I really tried to challenge myself to find new hobbies and meet new people as often as possible. I was the news reporter on my University’s radio station and also got into running. Most notably, I founded the Women in Finance Society at the University after noticing that many young women on my course didn’t feel confident enough about pursuing careers in male-dominated fields such as banking and accounting. In the two years I led the society, we grew to have more than 120 members, hold more than a dozen events a year including a Conference sponsored by the likes of Deutsche Bank and Ernst & Young and with Bianca Miller from The Apprentice as the Keynote speaker. I really loved leading this society and I won some cool awards doing so too. It was great to hear back from young women who had got internships and jobs for the events my team and I put on. I guess this was where I found my passion for helping others and bridging information gaps! I graduated from university last July (2016), after which I spent some time relaxing and working in Tanzania for 3 months! I then started a career in Management Consulting in the autumn.
What influenced your decision to go into consulting?
My approach to finding my dream career was similar to deciding what I wanted to study at university. I wanted to try as many options as possible from a narrowed down set of industries. Studying Economics I grew to have a natural interest in companies and how they work. I did some work experience in Investment Banking but realised it wasn’t for me. I then decided to try Management Consulting and secured an internship with PwC in London. I really really enjoyed the experience. Consulting is all about people and solving business problems so a pretty perfect match for me as someone who likes teamwork, talking and analysing an issue.
One of my favourite things about Consulting is that it is dynamic, the work/client always changes and you get to work on a variety of projects. You also get to travel if you are interested in doing so! Additionally, I like that Consulting as a profession requires you to have both technical and soft skills, with probably more emphasis on the latter.
What are you passionate about? Where do you see yourself in the future?
I am passionate about a few things. But I think the common thread with all my passions is that they are about helping others and bridging gaps of information. I am particularly passionate about working with young people, education and financial literacy. In the future, I want to start my own company involving one of my passions but for now I blog here about my life as a young professional in London! I also run a Whatsapp group called Now You’re Talking for young women in London interested in entrepreneurship, technology and finance – if you are interested in joining, send me an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
This is a tough question, but the best advice I have heard recently is that ‘complaining is ingratitude’. Earlier this year I caught myself complaining a lot and to be honest I think it’s really acceptable in British culture to complain. Complain about transport prices, complain about your job, the weather etc. Anything or anyone. This quote reminds me to appreciate what I have. I remember travelling and meeting young people who were worried about where their next meal would come from. I really believe it is important for us to have gratitude and stay humble. Remember how far you have come and take moments to congratulate yourself and others.
What message/tips would you like to give to young women with similar aspirations?
The main message I would tell other young women is to have confidence in yourself! Believe you can and you will! But also be prepared for success because it will never just be handed to you. Work hard and remember that success is where opportunity meets preparation.
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