Laura Hawkhead

The middle of September saw my final week in the Birmingham office for 6 months. My rotation as an Advisory Portfolio Manager came to an end and, before moving to London to join the Office of the Chief Executive, I flew to Asia for a two week holiday, to stay with the Barclays graduates (my ‘firm’ friends) that are currently on international rotation out there.

My whirlwind tour started in Hong Kong to visit Lauren, who is based on the W&IM Charities team back in the UK. We met in August 2012 during a residential team building trip to Oxford at the start of the grad programme. Both donning completely inappropriate footwear for the low ropes course (think leopard print…), we hit it off instantly and as soon as Lauren headed off to Hong Kong, I booked flights out to visit her.

We spent 4 days in Hong Kong, catching up with graduates from both the 2012 (Jamie, Dom and Meng) and 2011 intake (Ryan and Hector) and taking in the sights of including Dragon’s Back hike, the Peak, and Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton, which until very recently, was the highest restaurant-bar in the world.

We then flew (through 4 hours of horrendous turbulence) to Singapore for the Grand Prix, and to stay with the Katie, a grad from the 2011 cohort who is currently on rotation working at the Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore’s bustling CBD.

Our F1 tickets not only included 3 nights of racing (and 3 nights of ear plugs) but also entrance passes to see The Killers, and Rihanna on consecutive nights. Katie, Lauren and I can be seen in the photo to the right with our F1 Saturday night passes, before The Killers.

When we were not enjoying the Grand Prix, we headed to Universal Studios, where the Transformers ride is insanely good, and also enjoyed a great brunch at the Fullerton Bay Hotel (I’d particularly recommend the waffles!). We also went up to the top of Marina Bay Sands hotel, famous for having a boat shaped rooftop infinity pool connecting its 3 soaring towers.

The great thing about the Structure of the W&IM grad scheme is the 5 week initial training programme which brings all graduates from all of our global offices together. It was during these five weeks that my ‘firm’ friendships were made, which have proved invaluable, both in and out of work.

Katie, Lauren and I will all be working in 1 Churchill Place in Canary Wharf from October onwards in new roles. Katie is joining a front office Private Banking team, working directly with high net worth clients. Lauren is spending 6 months in Wealth Advisory, where they work with clients to build a tailored financial plan based on their financial goals and needs and help them put that plan into action. 

I am very excited to be joining Peter Horrell’s (W&IM CEO) Chief of Staff team, particularly as it is such a change to what I have spent time doing previously.

So, before jetting back to start our next different, but exciting rotations, Katie and I took a much needed R&R trip to Malaysia to enjoy some sun, sea, and sand.

Now back in the (somewhat chilly!) UK, I have moved into a beautiful new flat in Canary Wharf with breathtaking views of the Thames, the Shard and Tower Bridge (pictures to follow!). I started my new role on the 8th October and I am already looking forward to sharing some of my first experiences on the Chief of Staff team in my next blog post. So far, it has been fantastic!