What I learned about finance at Quark Expeditions

Quark Expeditions Placement TUI Travel Graduate SchemeLaura gives an overview on her key learnings during placement 2 at Quark Expeditions, Toronto…

Terrified of heights, I never climbed trees as a kid, would avoid any jobs requiring me to ascend a ladder and never stood too near the edge on balconies or rooftops. My fear frustrated me, and so, in November of 2007, I started skydiving – after all, what better way to get over a fear than to face it head on! Now, I spend as much time as I can jumping out of planes and recently celebrated my 500th jump.

And it was this same attitude that took me to Toronto, Canada, for a placement solely focused on Finance.

I knew nothing about the discipline other than the fact it scared the bejeepers out of me! Spreadsheets meant nothing to me and numbers made my head spin, whilst the amount of jargon and abbreviations seemingly used when discussing finance was enough to send me running in the opposite direction whenever it came up in conversation!

Three months later, I’ve scaled the metaphorical heights of Finance and jumped right in! I’ve learned so much, from how to forecast sales for a season to running a comprehensive competitor analysis, hedging, fuel bunkering, 5 year plans and even that people from Loughborough call them ‘pikelets’ instead of ‘crumpets’! It’s been an intense 3 months but one which has produced some really valuable work for the business (according to my boss) and cleared up the maze of Finance from a personal point of view.

The main thing I learned about Finance though is how integral a part it can, and should, play in a business. Through high quality reporting, Finance can provide the tools to make predictions and understand how to improve and business and continue to grow moving forward. Far from the reactive process I believed it to be before working with Quark, I’ve found their finance team to be extremely proactive, engaging all areas of the business in the key decisions needed to provide the guidelines for success. I fully believe in the importance of maintaining communication with a finance team and in working with them closely.

Outside of Finance, I learned a lot too; I’ve blogged already about the small benefits the team receives at Quark which keeps them motivated and involved, and about the team meetings which ensure everyone is up to date and feels a part of the business, the Division and of the Sector as a whole.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Toronto and am so grateful to everyone who made me feel so welcome. I now look forward to using the skills I have obtained out there and continuing to build on them through my next placements.

My next placement will see me join the Commercial team at SHG, based in Crawley (*insert Canada to Crawley joke here*) – keep watching for more updates…

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