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“Success only means something if it is part of a wider fulfilling life”

Alumni perspective on success

We spoke to Craig Forrester, Chief Financial Officer for Global Services UK at BT Global Services, about his take on success. He graduated from Birmingham in 1990 with a BEng degree in Materials Science and Technology.

I did an engineering degree and ended up qualifying as an accountant so it may be logical to assume I should have studied accountancy for my degree, but I have found what I learnt from my engineering studies very useful when working in business as I understood the processes and products as well as the numbers. I think that’s what gave my career a good foundation and potentially prepared me for future success.

Half way through my career - which is where I feel I am now - I have had the opportunity to work globally, with some very talented people and to help guide teams to achieve more than they believed was possible.

I think the key attributes you need to be successful are openness, a willingness to listen and stamina. In any leadership role you need to quickly assess the situation, understand the environment and then take action. Make sure you bring your team along with you, make the right resource decisions and remember perseverance is key.

If I had to give a top tip, it would be “Understand your values and never, ever let the situation or role prevent you being true to them.“

Really importantly, success only means something if it is part of a wider fulfilling life. Professional success brings many positives, but you need to manage your work life balance so you get to enjoy the benefits of success. No one will ever look back and wish they had spent more time in the office, but many will wish they had spent more time with family and friends.

We would like to thank Craig for taking the time to answer our questions. Do you agree with his points? Tell us what you think about the meaning of success in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Recommended read: University of Birmingham Director Ian Myatt defines success

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