Alex Pozniak (Class of 2013), Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy

How did CLS get you ready for the world of work?
City gave me a great outlook on the world, from studying subjects such as Economics and Politics, whilst learning to respect and empathise with different views and ways of thinking. The fantastic extracurricular activities available, namely the Winterflood Theatre and the CCF provided the opportunity to develop skills such as leadership, working to tight deadlines and the ability to make things happen – all of which I use on a day-to-day basis.

What was your first job?
I joined the Royal Navy the year I left City which gave me a head start, compared with my colleagues who joined after graduating. This meant I spent my early twenties working all over the world; learning my trade and being paid to do so.

Your biggest professional achievement?
Bringing a Ship safely home from deployment with families waiting for you on the jetty is an unbeatable feeling. Deploying thousands of miles away from home for months at a time to achieve a mission before bringing all onboard safely home provides immense professional satisfaction. The level of teamwork, camaraderie and resilience required to achieve this is humbling.

Your most challenging professional moment?
I recently spent two years as the Captain of a small Ship, operating around the UK and Europe. If things go wrong whilst we are at sea, we must be able to deal with them ourselves as, put simply, there is no one else to call. Being faced with potentially life-threatening situations such as an engine room full of water or having to rescue a fishing vessel in distress can test your decision-making skills and composure under pressure.

What inspires and motivates you at work?
The sense of history and tradition that exists in an organisation that has existed for hundreds of years is a constant source of inspiration; it is impossible to walk around a building or a naval base without encountering a tale of courage, sacrifice or historical significance. My main motivation is to do right by my colleagues and the knowledge that what we do makes a real difference to UK security and prosperity, despite the vast majority of it taking place outside of the public eye.

One piece of advice for pupils and other Old Citizens about getting into your profession?
Going to university is not the only route to a rewarding and professional career. I have earned a vast number of professional qualifications, most recently at masters level, which are transferable to the civilian sector if I decide to leave. Also, it is important to do your research into the vast array of roles that are available in the Armed Forces and what they entail, as well as being aware of the sacrifices that come with military life.

The Class of 2013 Reunion will take place on Thursday 4 May from 6pm. Register to attend here.