Kudz is a Commercial and Sourcing Specialist at Direct Line Group (DLG). He studied Business Management at Cardiff University.
1. What attracted you to a career in insurance?
Insurance is one of those things in life that you fall into but once you’re there you end up loving it and creating a career path of your own. I studied business management at Cardiff University and I, like many other students, was looking to get a graduate job at a FTSE 100 company. Admiral insurance was one of the only few FTSE 100 companies located in Cardiff. Due to the relationship between the Cardiff University and Admiral I ended up joining their Graduate scheme. The Graduate scheme was 18 months with three six-month rotational placements. As part of my rotations I fell into procurement due to its commercial appeal. Like many other people I never thought much of insurance, I just looked at it as a compulsory fee I have to pay annually so that I can drive my car legally. However, behind the scenes there is so much work and contributing factors the go into that annual policy fee that makes working in insurance one of the most diverse and innovative industries to in work.
2. How do you think you made yourself stand out from the crowd in the application process?
A key tip I learnt to make myself standout in a crowded application process was by reading the job description, understanding the skill set required and then altering my application to highlight those skill sets through my previous experiences and knowledge from university. Sounds so simple but having worked closely with HR departments on recruitment projects these are some of the key and basic errors many young professionals make. More so, the technology used by big companies with thousands of applications means most applications are scanned by a computer. The computers are simply looking for those key words and skill sets rather than manually reviewing each one. This means applications without the key skills automatically get declined.
Among the other key things I did was attending career fairs run by the university. Many FTSE companies attend these fairs and send representatives that likely to be involved in the recruitment process. I was able to ask questions and find out information that I necessarily wouldn’t have found on their company website. Furthermore, I was able to build rapport with the personnel in attendance and use them as a reference in my interview. If you can’t attend these fairs then a simple alternative is to search a potential company of interest on LinkedIn, search for personnel that work in the current role or department that you’re applying for and touching base with them to get some knowledge and advice.
3. Talk us through your typical day
A typical day involves any of the following activities;
- Face to face meetings with stakeholders to understand their demands and needs for new requirements and services.
- Carrying out market research in order to source new suppliers that can provide the desired service requirements.
- Conducting a pitch process in order to select the best supplier to deliver those business requirements and services.
- Engaging with stakeholders to provide project updates and manage expectations.
- Drafting a contract and engaging with legal departments to set obligations of the contract and finalise the agreement.
- Managing the contract and being the point of call for any queries relating to the contract or disputes.
4. What do you enjoy most about working for DLG?
What I enjoy the most about working for DLG is the demands and challenges that come with my role. As a young professional, it’s important to take yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in order to continue developing and attaining new skill sets. My current role most certainly does that, supporting department with sourcing project for new capabilities and managing the contractual relationship. Each stakeholder comes with their own challenges new expectations and demands. And contractually each supplier’s legal department have different ways of working. As a result you’re constantly gaining new experience, furthering my development.
Also, DLG have a great focus on developing their own staff and enriching the talent pool. The firm constantly provides training sessions to match the fast changing environment of insurance and provide sponsorship to get recognised chartered qualifications.
And lastly, the innovation and techniques being used in insurance. I enjoy how we’re using technology to manage claims and supporting the future state of society with self-driving cars.
5. How do you see the insurance sector changing post-Covid?
On the face of it, Covid has been detrimental economically and many businesses like ourselves are turning our approach on becoming more sustainable for longevity of the business. However, some positives and wins have come from it Covid. Covid has forced companies to enhance their technological capabilities and reach their future state a lot sooner than planned. Currently in the insurance sector we’re seeing many companies and agencies have a cultural shift. We’ve seen a reduction in the need for staff being in the office and consequently, a better work-life balance, which is having a positive effect on well-being. Covid has also provided organisations with financial opportunities to reduce operational costs. For example, many companies are exploring opportunities to reducing their office space due to successes of working from home.
6. What’s your top piece of advice for new graduates entering the job market?
My top piece of advice is to be commercially aware. Having a degree simply shows your understanding of theory and learning capabilities. However, what many businesses want to know is can you transition that learning and theory into real life and implement it. Many businesses plan their strategies by being both proactive and reactive. Businesses forecast the future state of the market and react to what is currently happening in the market now. Showing that you are commercial aware in understanding what is currently happening in the market. Highlighting trends and predicting future conditions shows that not only are capable but someone that has the know how to take the business forward and influence correct decision making as you progress through your roles in the company.
Final one, show your personality, cliché I know but this is really important and tends to get overlooked. Everyone has a degree and qualifications, effectively its paper at the end of the day. However, what is important to whoever is recruiting you to know that not only are you capable (from your degree) but if they were to put you in front of stakeholder/clients you would be comfortable and able to deal with it in a manner that the company expects.
7. Wildcard: What would you do if you suddenly won $10 million in the lottery?
Firstly, I would pick up the check wearing a mask so no one knows I’ve won it. Then I would invest my money and focus on creating a new business that is centred around sustainability and renewable energy. Sustainability is no longer a fad that we see for CSR but a pillar that now helps to shape an organisations core values.