Mentoring Spotlight: Paul & Shaan

Paul Castle (Class of 1995) has acted as a mentor to Shaan Bharwani (Class of 2016) using the dedicated alumni platform Citizens Connect. We asked them to talk about their experiences.

CLS Alumni Mentor

Paul is in Delta One Hedge Fund Sales at Credit Suisse

What made you join Citizens Connect?

Joining Citizens Connect enabled me to stay connected with the School which has had such a big impact on my life. Aside from the mentoring opportunity, I also enjoyed the chance to connect with old friends (some of whom I have lost contact with over the years), relive some happy memories and to network with other Old Citizens across finance and other shared interests.

What made you willing to be a mentor to Old Citizen?

Networking is so key to business and other walks of life. For me it was obvious to want to share my experience with CLS leavers who are facing daunting decisions and choices on what career paths to take and how to progress within that. Even now 25 years after leaving the School I have attended CLS networking events and continue to make new contacts .. you never know how you might be able to help each other or even if it’s just to share a funny memory (of which there are more than a few!)

How did you think you could help other Old Citizens?

When I started my career I had numerous concerns and decisions to make. I remember contacting the school for advice and especially the network chain that helped me make decisions on what I wanted and how to progress within that. In particular, one of the real advantages of being at CLS is the access to Old Citizens, many of whom have been extremely successful in their chosen paths across a diverse range of industries both in the UK and abroad. I felt I would enjoy sharing the knowledge and experiences I had gained with fellow OCs.

How did Shaan approach you?

Shaan connected with me initially via email and then we had a call to discuss his thoughts in more detail. In particular, he wanted to understand more about my career, my thoughts on it (pros and cons!) and we continued to stay in contact from there. Shaan had been working on a research project and I put him in touch with some work colleagues who could help give further advice, career perspective and broaden his network.

What would you say to other Old Citizens who are thinking of becoming a mentor on Citizens Connect?

For me it’s been a rewarding experience across many facets and it doesn’t have to take too much of your time to have a positive effect. Most satisfying was the opportunity to have a helpful impact on OCs facing many of the same scary and difficult decisions I did  (Shaan has secured a contract with an M&A advisory firm) whilst knowing I am directly contributing to the success of the School alumni network.

CLS Alumni Mentee

Shaan is an Analyst at Binary Capital Investment Manager and Co-founder of Bitsilk Investments.

How did you choose Paul as a mentor?

Initially, I chose to reach out to Paul for his impressive background at Credit Suisse on the desk in a field I was keen on breaking into. It just so happened that we had plenty of common in the ways of entrepreneurial zeal from early in our school days and had shared similar experiences.

What kind of advice did you ask Paul and how did he help?

Paul offered me advice centered around which areas of finance and kinds of institutions I should aim for based on my long term career goals of working at a hedge fund. He was also happy to answer all of my questions surrounding the nuance of his specific role which I found especially valuable. After our initial chat, I started working on putting together a stock pitch for a consumer finance company with the intention of getting in front of someone sat in the seat I wanted to be in. Paul helped me to improve my presentation and connected me with some of his influential colleagues in the industry. 

How did Paul's advice support your career goals?

Paul encouraged me to pursue careers in a growing industry which would improve my edge in reaching my long term goals. His advice encouraged me to network with smaller firms that are more open to hearing directly from prospectors and generally offer more exposure than larger firms. Once I shifted my focus and started contacting decision-makers directly I started to gain a lot more traction. Through these targeted efforts I landed a part-time role at Binary Capital during my dissertation and ultimately an analyst role at a small M&A advisory firm beginning once I graduate.

What would you say to other Old Citizens thinking of signing up to Citizens Connect?

I would really encourage all Old Citizens to sign up to the Citizens Connect platform. It was extremely easy to use and connect with other former pupils that have shared interests to you. Most CLS pupils go on to do great things in their respective areas of interest and all share very fond memories of their time at the school so there isn't really any difficulty in finding common ground.

it was obvious to want to share my experience with CLS leavers who are facing daunting decisions and choices on what career paths to take "

Paul Castle (Class of 1995)

"Paul encouraged me to pursue careers in a growing industry which would improve my edge in reaching my long term goals.

Shaan Bharwani (Class of 2016)