Velocity CFO Abbi Tobin on why doing your homework pays off
We spoke to Abbi Tobin, Chief Financial Officer at Velocity, to find out a bit more about her journey to CFO...
What was it like finding your first job?
I already had a good idea of what I wanted to do after university. I’m the CFO at Velocity and, as an accountant, my modus operandi is to be over-organised! I must have filled in over 30 applications, had multiple assessment days and interviews, and finally (luckily) was accepted by the company I wanted to work for the most. I always think the enthusiasm for that particular role paid off.
Overall the process must have taken 4 months and hundreds of hours but it was worth it in the end and I have never looked back.
What is the easiest way to describe what Velocity does?
Velocity is an investment manager: we invest other people’s money into startups, that - through various assessment criteria and with our industry expertise – we believe we can make a return on for our investors in the future.
In simple terms, we buy shares on behalf of investors in these startup businesses when they are small, wait for them to grow and then sell the shares for more than we bought them. We work very closely with the startups for years to ensure they have everything they need to succeed in this growth.
Why is it important for your business to hire young people?
It is not just important for us to hire young people but a whole diverse mix of people – age, gender, ethnicity, background, and all these qualities contribute to a holistic culture at the firm.
We do not want everyone in the business to look or act the same, and we think this makes Velocity a great and interesting place to work. Moreover this attracts startups with a whole range of diverse founders to work with us too. So both internally and externally this diversity is reflected.
How can someone impress you in an interview? Do they need to have a university degree behind them?
In an interview, it’s really important to do your homework; if you say you like something you saw on our website/LinkedIn, expect to be asked what you liked about it and why. We want to see that you really want to work for Velocity, so really think what has struck a chord with you about us, why you think you will fit in with us, and moreover why you think we will want you! Making the interview relevant to the interviewer and their business will always make you stand out.
Whether a role requires a degree is totally dependent on the role – some roles require further professional training and qualifications (e.g. accountancy or law), but many roles do not require a degree.
If you do not have a degree you will need to demonstrate a work ethic or record of your performance. This can be in your studies (e.g. A-levels), internships or extra-curricular activities, as well as showing you have gone the extra mile in any way you can to find out and/or experience everything you possibly can about a particular role or industry.