Paul was an undergraduate student in Mathematics at Magdalen College from 1991 to 1994.
- What do you do now?
I work in the Technology division at Morgan Stanley in London.
- When you were a student, did you imagine you'd find yourself doing what you do now?
Yes – through choosing the computing related modules from the Mathematics degree, I realised my passion was technology related.
- What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
As a junior project manager, delivering a major trading system upgrade across 15 geographic locations, managing about 100 staff within tight timelines, peaking with a few consecutive weeks of working 100+ hours. Keeping cool under pressure is a key skill and I was able to draw on previous experiences from Oxford to keep life in perspective.
- What advice would you give your student self?
Get involved in more university wide organisations and events. My university experience was very College orientated and with retrospect I would have been a more rounded and connected person earlier on if I had been more active at a University level.
- What would you do differently if you were starting your career again?
Apply for summer internship and insight programmes at hiring firms. My approach for getting a job was to ignore all career opportunities throughout my studies then panic apply to firms in my last year. With hindsight, I think my early career would have been accelerated with a few work experiences behind me so I could more accurately target my preferred career path.
- What do you like/miss/remember most about Oxford Mathematics?
At Oxford, I was immersed with the world’s best mathematical students and tutors covering some leading edge mathematical ideas. I have not experienced that pioneering environment again since leaving academia which I miss.
- Are there things you find frustrating about your work/life balance?
No – I have a good work/life balance. In recent years, firms have definitely viewed their staff more holistically and proactively help with their work/life balance. E.g. I often work 1-2 days/week from home which enables me to spend a bit more time with my family