After a biochemistry degree at Oxford I initially worked for Arthur Andersen as a corporate finance executive for four years before moving to SG Hambros, and was then head-hunted by UBS Warburg. I decided to undertake an MBA in order to move into fund management from a corporate finance background. Following completion of my MBA in 2003 I secured a job within the Punter Southall Group originally running a hedge fund of funds business, PSolve Alternative Investments for three years. I then set up PSource Capital, another specialist alternative investment business, with backing from the Punter Southall Group.
I initially landed the role within the Punter Southall Group through contacts in my existing network and the MBA has been extremely valuable in several ways in helping me to advance in my roles since. Firstly, it has given me credibility in alternative investments which is important having come from a predominantly corporate finance background. Secondly, the MBA has helped to demystify the process of being an entrepreneur which has been enormously beneficial in setting up and running PSource Capital. Thirdly, the Oxford connection has proved useful in recruiting top quality staff to a small organisation as it is a universally recognised badge of quality – incidentally one of Saïd Business School’s finance faculty is on the board of one of our listed funds as a non-executive director.
As Managing Director I am ultimately responsible to my equity partners for everything that PSource does. We are a specialist alternative investment business somewhere between corporate finance and alternative investments, and key to our success has been occupying a specific market niche with limited competition which should put us in a good position to weather the current bear market; classic MBA thinking, I suppose. The job is different and challenging. It is great fun to get something started up that is genuinely new and innovative, and also with the potential to make money.
Advancing your career in finance is tough. If you are thinking of doing the same, bear in mind that the sector is very competitive and employers want to see clear evidence that you have a strong focus in this area. You’ll be up against another 50 people going for the same role who are completely committed, doing finance in their MBA’s wherever they can so try and specialise your course content through electives to take in as much finance as you can. In a bear market you cannot afford to be a generalist, it’s just not credible.