PGC Business and Finance Networking Dinner

Last Friday, I attended the Business and Finance Networking Dinner hosted by the PGC. I wasn’t actually meant to be there – as one can imagine, networking dinners are incredibly popular, so I was placed on the waiting list for a seat. However, as I was walking along the corridor about to head back home after club, Mrs Mooney approached me and informed me that a space had just become available - I was thrilled.

The dinner began with drinks, where Guild members and current students gathered in the hallway, mingled and chatted over a few drinks. Everyone was dressed up and looking lovely, while, there I was donning the school uniform, having had no time to go back home and change. 

During the drinks session, I met a business consultant and engaged in an insightful conversation with him. Consultancy was a career I had heard of many times, but had never quite known what this entailed. Listening to him describe his career helped shed some life onto this path, as I learnt about the various specialities of being a business consultant, how to get started, and what is most enjoyable about it. I was especially intrigued to hear that this career can allow you to work in several countries, as I myself adore the prospect of working abroad in different continents.

When the dinner began, each table had a mix of students and Guild members and guests, who rotated between the tables for each course. This allowed us the chance to meet a diverse range of people spanning different careers over the course of dinner. Conversing with them was an incredibly eye-opening experience, over some scrumptious food - the chocolate mousse for dessert was to die for!

I discovered various careers previously unknown to me, received advice and wisdom from those who had been through it all before, and gained insights into what working in the City is really like. Contacts were shared for future work experience opportunities and, after the dinner, we were free to roam about and chat with anyone else whom we had not had the chance to speak to.

I met an exciting mix of people during the dinner. During starters, I sat next to a former Head Girl, who told to me how she had no idea what career she wanted to embark on as she left for university, and so chose a course purely out of intellectual curiosity – Arabic studies. After graduation, she worked in journalism for a few years, before eventually deciding to dabble in business.

Stressing how she had never undergone any business training or education, she explained how she painstakingly set up her own fashion business in Berlin, how she had overcome various struggles, finally resulting in a successful business. It was really inspiring as she ingrained in me the importance of being fearless, despite the many risks and poor odds associated with setting up one’s own business. However, she made it clear that businesses can be volatile. With Brexit ongoing, she expressed her uncertainty as her business has close links to businesses in the UK. Nonetheless, she emphasised the need to remain optimistic despite such doubts.

This dinner left me with many valuable pieces of advice and exposed me to the world of business and finance, an opportunity I would have otherwise found harder to come across. Speaking to many wonderful and perspicacious people, all of whom were incredibly inspiring, knowledgeable, and full of wisdom.

Clare (SFC1)