Mike O’Connor, Global Head of Access Strategies at Citi, is a Career Ready masterclass facilitator. Here, he shares his Career Ready experience and how he has helped young people develop the skills, confidence and experience to kick-start a successful future.
I became involved with Career Ready because I love the idea of giving young people the chance to see what a career in finance look like, especially for those where it may not be an obvious career path. I really wanted to share my background story and career journey with them to hopefully encourage them to aim high and realise their potential.
Delivering Career Ready masterclasses has been great because it’s given me the opportunity to share something which I’m passionate about to an audience who are eager to learn.
It gives you the chance to go down memory lane as it reminds you of your own journey to get to where you are today.
The biggest impact I think I’ve been able to have during my masterclasses is in terms of helping the students realise that everything starts with self-awareness. Half the battle of building a successful career is getting the right attitude and then committing the time, effort and hard-work to reach your goals.
A favourite highlight of mine was when a group of 7 interns sought me out after the presentation to ask further questions and we ended up holding a two hour Q&A follow-up session. They were smart, on time and asked interesting thought-provoking questions. This had a significant impact on me, they were giving up their time to try and learn more, and that made me realise the power of the Career Ready experience – it’s progressive and empowering. They couldn’t have impressed me more.
The whole experience has just been rewarding for everyone involved, especially when some of the students could relate to the story I was telling. That’s where I felt a connection, that some identified with the challenges I had faced and, importantly, were willing to commit to the effort to overcome their own challenges. It made the whole experience a personal one for me.