0.03 Hi, I’m Sarah B. I’m a finance manager and I work for the Arcadia Group. So I am responsible for two main areas. I look after the cash flow forecast for the group, so I work closely with treasury and kind of monitor how much money we’ve got in our bank accounts, basically. Then the other side of my job is I help look after the reporting side, so I basically consolidate all our brands’ performance and look at how the group as a whole is performing.
0.35 I come from probably the most normal family in the world. My dad was a policeman. He’s retired now. My mum didn’t work until I was about ten, but she used to work part-time in a school. I’ve got one sister, and had good friends at school, did well at school, had a really kind of stable, happy, kind of normal upbringing. My parents didn’t set me expectations, but I think I definitely had a drive in me to kind of please them and do well to make them feel proud of what I was doing. To some extent, I still kind of feel like that now. Everything I do, and strive, and progress on is, you know, I like to make them feel proud still now.
1.23 I mean I always had a bit of a love of maths when I was at school. I’ve always been a bit of a geek, but I didn’t really know that I wanted to do finance until I did my placement as part of my university degree. I think I had high hopes when I was younger that I was going to change the world, and maybe even go into politics and things like that, but I think the reality of that when I first went to uni just scared me a bit, so I kind of went more down the finance route. I started off by doing economics and international development, and then after my first year I just switched to straight economics because I decided I liked the business side and the economics side a bit more than the political side of my course. The best thing I ever did was I went to the University of Bath. It was a really quite a small campus uni, and I just met some brilliant people. I kind of found myself, almost, like who I wanted to be, and I met some people that kind of taught me, you know… I was really good friends with them and they kind of brought me out of myself, so to speak, and it was really good to be kind of with like-minded people in terms of my course and the people I lived with as well, so it was a really, really positive experience.
2.34 So part of my economic degree I did a business placement, and that was at the Arcadia Group. I came as a finance industrial placement student, which was an absolutely brilliant experience. It kind of opened my eyes to the world of finance, the world of retail, and really gave me a taste of something that I knew I then wanted to do. It really kind of set me on my career path, definitely. So in the year that I was here the company got taken over, so there was quite a lot of change in the company and that kind of meant that I was able to take on more responsibility and kind of show people what I was made of, so to speak, and I really made the most of that, and I made a good name for myself and got a good reputation within the finance community. I definitely think that’s something I have really benefited from since I’ve come back to Arcadia and definitely a kind of mantra that I really follow. I really think if you’re given the opportunity to show people what you are made of it’s really important that you do.
3.34 Since my placement, I’ve had quite a good idea in my head of where I want to be and what kind of direction I want to go in. So I was really sure that I wanted to study for my CIMA qualification, I was really sure that I wanted to have kind of progression in Arcadia and right, go up from an analyst to a manager, and I can see where I want to be in the next five or ten years time. That has kind of given me a lot of focus in kind of what I’m doing, and the job I’m doing, and that’s really helped me and has kind of driven me to work as hard as I do.