Danielle Parkinson interviews
Originally published by: Danielle Parkinson
Katie speaks of her childhood, getting into university, and how her career in the banking industry helped prepare her to go into business on her own.
Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing and how you think, if at all, this influenced your personality?
It became my normal to always look for something different as I knew that there was more out there. I think my eyes were opened to how different cultures live from a very young age. I also think I was very independent. I also loved helping other kids in the playground. If someone fell over I was there to help them. I have always been quite switched on emotionally. I won an award at first school for being “the most supportive pupil” I remember it.
I’ve been encouraged by my parents to be strong, try new things and to always be kind to others. I’m the eldest of three girls in my family and I think as the eldest you naturally develop leadership skills as you grow up.
I actually wanted to study sport and exercise science but I messed up my A levels (I spent far too much time going out with my friends!) so I didn’t get into the university that I wanted to go to or the course that I wanted to study. I remember my parents encouraging me to use this as an opportunity to change my direction and study something more Business Management related. I remember having to call all the universities through the clearing system to get a place at a university that would take me on with my disastrous grades!
What made you want to study Financial Economics?
I got into Derby University on a HND course in Business Management. It was just a two year course with the option to top it up to a Degree with one extra year. I found I had a natural talent for the economics module, I love mathematics and graphs and being able to apply that to our economy just made so much sense to me. My lecturer said I should focus on this subject as I just picked it up really easily and I was getting good grades without really trying too hard.
This was a huge relief to me after my confidence was knocked after I had completely messed up with my A levels! So instead of topping up my degree in Business Management I added an extra two years of study to specialise in Financial Economics. I’m so glad that the teacher encouraged me to see where my talents were and that I found something that I felt I was good at again!
Did this help when it came to running your own businesses?
Yes it absolutely did.
And I think the biggest practical learning and growth that took place for me was when I started working for a bank. My job was looking after small to medium sized businesses. I would help them put their business plans together and challenge them around their long term and medium term goals, helping them define their action plans to ensure they were on track to achieving their dreams.
I had so many different types of businesses from dentists to window cleaners. It really allowed me to understand every aspect of running a business and how to look at internal and external factors and use this information to make good strategic decisions for the benefit of the company. During my job I also studied a second degree in Financial Services which helped me understand the banking world better.