Emma works in The Nottingham’s risk team, protecting the society and its members from fraud and financial crime.
Like a lot of people, I had no idea of what I wanted to do as a job while at school. I knew I was fairly good at art and graphic design so thought of doing something in these areas. So I left school after my GCSEs and went to study for a GNVQ in graphic design at college. While doing this course, my parents took me into town, (or rather dragged me round!) applying for part time work so that I could start earning my own money and build up my work experience. I was successful with a job at Marks and Spencer and worked there around my studies.
After I completed my course, I tried to get a job in design but it was such a competitive market, I was unable to get a job in this area. Rather than be deterred, I asked Marks and Spencer if I could become full time so that I was still in employment and could keep an eye on the design world. I ended up working there from the age of 17 until I was 22!
I have always enjoyed reading crime novels and whilst I was job-hunting, I applied to be a Police Constable at Nottinghamshire Police Force. I was successful with the application but unfortunately, unsuccessful in the fitness test (I failed by one point!), however, I didn’t completely forget about a potential career in crime-busting.
I got my first role in the finance sector at a credit card and savings company called Egg. After a year working here I realised I enjoyed speaking to people face- to- face rather than on the telephone so moved into a cashier role at Derbyshire Building Society.
I loved the ethics of a building society who look after their members rather than shareholders. I really enjoyed my time at Derbyshire Building Society and made some lifelong friends. I worked my way up from a cashier to mortgage adviser and also became a financial crime champion at my branch meaning I still had a foot in my interested area. I then noticed a job at Head Office within the Financial Crime department where I could fulfill my dream of stopping crime! My branch experience and the fact I had gained experience in my ‘champion’ role helped me to get the job. Financial crime has always been a popular area to work in within the financial sector and it was my experience which really set me apart from the other candidates.
After 10 years of working at Derbyshire Building Society, I was unfortunately made redundant along with the rest of the company due to a merger with another building society. After 10 years of working somewhere I really enjoyed, finding myself back in the job market was a very worrying time. It was an even more worrying time due to the financial crisis of 2007 – 2008, jobs were scarce. I was lucky in that the building society who we merged with, offered help and guidance in writing a CV and doing an interview (neither of which I had done in many, many years!) and I took every bit of help on offer.
After being employed since I was 17, I wasn’t going to let this redundancy affect me and was determined this would be an opportunity to see what other careers there were out there. I became a financial crime contractor and worked at a solicitors and another building society before I was able to find full time work. I wanted to increase my experience in different sectors other than a building society so worked for a cheque clearing company, a pension company and Sharia Bank. All this experience then allowed me to be successful in becoming a manager to a team of five financial crime investigators at – you guessed it, another building society!
After working there for a couple of years, I heard about a job at the Nottingham Building Society. A lot of the friends I’d made at Derbyshire Building Society were working there and I had heard lots of good things about the company. I joined The Nottingham in October 2018 as senior financial crime manager which means I am responsible for protecting the society and its members from fraud and financial crime.
My role is varied although most days involve reviewing any issues highlighted by our front-line (customer-facing) teams in terms of suspicious transactions or activity. I also do a lot of research to keep up to date on the latest scams and fraud trends in the industry and keep our teams up to date with what to look out for with on-going training. I also enjoy getting out into our communities to support our branch teams in educating and engaging our members in keeping their money safe.
Throughout my career there have been many ups (passing exams in financial crime years after I did my GCSEs and making lifelong friends) and downs (redundancy, and worrying job prospects) but overall I have enjoyed the experience I have gained over time. I am currently in a role I love and really enjoy the team I am in. Is it sad that I enjoy my work? I don’t think so. I have been able to find a career which I had no idea existed when I was at school. I think that it is very rare you know exactly what you want to do as a career while in school so my tip is to not focus on one area and don’t be afraid to try different things as you never know what’s out there.
Last updated on: