From Soldier to Risk Manager, by Beth Spencer, European Reputational Risk Manager at HSBC

Beth Spencer served for nine years as an Army Intelligence Officer, before leaving to work in Risk Management.

Why did you decide to leave the Army?
I had done everything I wanted in the Army, and needed fresh challenges. I was interested in working in Risk Management and Communications. Plus I had recently married another officer, and it is difficult to find suitable postings together in the same location every two years.

What steps did you take as part of your transition?
The CTP training really helped me, especially to write an effective CV. I also joined the OA, to access job opportunities and understand the career options available to former officers.

How did you get your first job after leaving the Army?
Soon after leaving the Army I saw a job advertised in the OA newsletter to work for Lehman Brothers as a Threat Assessment ‎ Manager. The role focused on Corporate Security; establishing and managing guarding contracts; designing access controls; personal protection and travel advice.

After applying, I got an interview and then was offered the job. I later discovered I had been really lucky, because the internal recruiter was looking for candidates with experiences outside of the financial sector when they saw my CV.

How did you gain new skills and experiences?
I wanted to work in different areas, but I needed to first get my foot in the door. While at Lehman Brothers, I consciously went beyond working in traditional corporate security. I volunteered to be involved with other projects, which gave me experience in other departments.

How did your approach help you develop your career?
This approach meant I could adapt to the changing work environment caused by the 2008 financial crash, when Lehman’s Brothers went into administration. After going on maternity leave, I secured a job with a niche IT company, focused on defence procurement.

Three and a half years later, I became Director Communications at the Army Families Federation. This drew directly on the marketing experiences I had gained at Lehman Brothers, working on those extra projects.

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