Our next interview is with Actuarial and Wealth Management Divisional Director, Mohammed Chaudhry, discussing the challenges of his role, his impact on the growth of BWD, and how he fell into the recruitment industry.
Why did you choose to work at BWD?
When I decided to make a move from my previous employer, I was looking in the Leeds/Yorkshire area and BWD stood out for me because they were so transparent and honest in their approach. BWD is a very like-minded business, they knew their weaknesses as a company, and they knew exactly how I would fit into their growth plan. I was not only brought into the business, but I was brought into the vision, which was important for me at this point of my career.
What do you enjoy most about working here?
What really stands out about working here, is being part of the senior management team. It’s intriguing to see the changes happening in front of me. Being a smaller business, the changes that we make and agree on can be seen first-hand, which is very exciting to experience.
We gain success because we work hard, but also enjoy the flexibility that BWD offers, meaning that I can work from home when necessary, and I can leave early to pick up my daughter from nursery when required. Not every business does this. Everyone is treated like an adult here, and it’s refreshing.
What is your favourite part about working as Divisional Director for Actuarial and Wealth Management?
One of my favourite parts about working as a Divisional Director is making the decisions which shape both divisions and having complete responsibility for them. This can be a challenge, but it’s something I enjoy as it allows me to develop professionally, which has always been important to me.
Being responsible for two divisions, I have to be a chameleon, and as such, I enjoy the diversity in the role; I must wear lots of hats. One minute I’ll be wearing my Actuarial hat, the next I’ll be wearing my Financial Planning hat, then the next and the next and so on, often all of that in as little as five minutes.
What have been some of the highlights of working at BWD?
Making my first placement was definitely a highlight. It’s important to do this early on to prove to yourself that you still have it (what ‘it’ is). My first-year anniversary was a nice milestone, as this is celebrated by all staff.
Being in a position to grow the Actuarial division and hire excellent consultants across Life and Non-Life was one of my favourite highlights, as that was a sign of a successful year, which positions us well for 2020.
Why did you decide to become a recruiter?
I didn’t choose the recruiter life; the recruiter life chose me! I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Maths. This was quite possibly the worst time to graduate given we were in a global credit crisis. My dream of being an Investment Banker fizzled away as most of the big banks were reducing graduate intake. At this point, as most people do, I fell into recruitment and realised I could make this into a real career.
The recruitment industry is very meritocratic. If you work hard, you will absolutely be rewarded, and this has always appealed to me and been part of my drive. Today, I am the youngest Divisional Director at BWD, and have no regrets falling into this industry, which is proof as to just how rewarding a career in recruitment can be.
What are you most looking forward to in the future of your career?
In the future, I look forward to not only seeing the growth of BWD, but being a part of it. Since I joined in 2018, we have grown from a regional business (just based in Leeds) to national (London and Leeds), and the next step is to grow internationally. We have ambitious plans for growth, and I can’t wait to look back in five years and see what this business looks like, and knowing I was there when we were a small(ish) business based in Leeds.
Outside of work, what do you like to do?
As is the case with most people, I enjoy spending time with my family, keeping fit and reading. What people may not know is that I’m a bit of a computer nerd outside of work. I learnt how to code a few months ago and I love sharpening and growing my skills around this. Putting theory into practise has always been interesting for me.
My coding hobby developed from my Maths degree, as I’ve always been interested in numbers, figures, algorithms and so on. I found out that the entry level for coding was low, and there were lots of great learning resources online. It is a great skill to have for the future and I also find it incredibly interesting.
What has been the most memorable or humorous moment at BWD so far?
The annual BWD sports day last year was incredibly fun, and it was a great way to spend a day out of the office. There was a lot of banter and it was a nice way to get to know people better. It is great to see the competitive streak in people. Humour was at the forefront throughout the day, as all the wannabe athletes came out of their shells.
Who is your idol?
I don’t idolise anybody. I have respect for people, and there are a lot of people who inspire me, i.e.: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jack Ma and Barack Obama; but idolise, no. We can learn a lot by looking at their backgrounds and how they got to where they are today, such as how to be a better person in home and work life, how to overcome diversity, how to not give up, and how to learn from failures.
What would you like to achieve in 2020?
Professionally, in 2020, I would like to exceed the growth plans I’ve set out for both divisions and have a hugely successful year. It would be great to establish ourselves in an international market too, as both divisions have scope to grow in all/most financial centres globally.
A personal achievement for me this year will be running my first marathon in March, and helping to raise awareness for a charity I believe in. Training for the marathon is challenging whilst working full-time and having a young family, but having to find a balance has been key, and I’ve learnt a lot through this.