Johan de Silva (Class of 2013), Cricket Coach, Highgate Cricket
How did CLS get you ready for the world of work?
I started at CLS in 2006, leaving in 2013. CLS provided me with a unique schooling experience in the heart of London, which meant the transition to working life was an easy one to make. From the simple things like being around the City, knowing how to commute, CLS provided me with an excellent upbringing. That and of course the varied curriculum on offer at the school and its breadth of extra-curricular activities on offer, meaning I was able to demonstrate knowledge on all areas from Model Railways to Cricket and Opera Singing!
What was your first job?
Following CLS, I read Human Sciences at UCL - as you can tell, I’ve always loved London! - and in my first year, I undertook some work experience with Barbican Insurance, a Lloyd’s of London Syndicate. This opened my eyes to the insurance market (a sector that can sometimes be a hidden gem for some), and following this, I completed some more work experience at other companies and applied to the Graduate Development Programme at Marsh. You’re never too far away from an Old Citizen, and as it happened, two others were at the same interview and we all got accepted onto the programme! I worked at Marsh for 4 years on insurance facilities and portfolios, before a career pivot to start running my own Cricket Coaching business!
Your biggest professional achievement?
I’ve had to deliver multiple presentations to senior executives when at Marsh, which has always been challenging, but in addition to this, I would say one of my biggest professional achievements is having the confidence and belief to switch career to do something that I love, which all happened during lockdown. It was a daunting prospect at first, but the skills I picked up at school meant that I had the confidence to make the leap.
Your most challenging professional moment?
Probably my assessment day at Marsh - a daunting day with over 40 applicants competing for 17 places, where you were put on the spot in front of the whole room, including 30 assessors. I was pleased I’d done a fair bit of public speaking whilst at CLS as it certainly helped settle my nerves. I was thrilled to get a place on the Graduate Development Programme, and I suppose I was due a bit of luck given the assessment day was on my 21st Birthday!
What inspires and motivates you at work?
At Marsh, it was looking to go above and beyond for our insurer clients to ensure that they had the best possible service we could offer.
With Cricket, it is the feeling of being able to wake up each morning and work on something I truly love and is my passion. I love to put events and opportunities on for people, and help individuals become the best cricketers and people they can be. I’m motivated to make my cricket club and business as successful as possible.
One piece of advice for pupils and other Old Citizens about getting into your profession?
Insurance - look to obtain some work experience, use the CLS Network - there are lots of old boys in the market who would be able to help. Once you’ve done this, ensure that you keep in touch with people you meet, and maintain relationships - this will lead to opportunities further down the line.
Cricket - if you love a sport, look to see how you can give back to it from a young age. I embarked on a Level 2 Cricket Coaching course when I was 18, which has given me lots of opportunity to coach and develop in my spare time, so much so that I have decided to make Cricket my career. Follow your dream/passion - there is nothing better than being able to work doing something you love.