Brain food: Lord Sharman - If I had to start again ..

Brain food: Lord Sharman - If I had to start again .. - The most important piece of career advice I can offer is to do something you enjoy. If you don't get any pleasure from your work it is hard to stay motivated. I'd probably still choose to go into acc

by LORD SHARMAN
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The most important piece of career advice I can offer is to do something you enjoy. If you don't get any pleasure from your work it is hard to stay motivated. I'd probably still choose to go into accountancy - it's given me a very diverse career with tremendous job satisfaction. But second time round I would need to pay more attention to my education - when I started in 1966 it didn't matter that I hadn't been to university because only 5% of the profession were graduates. Nowadays competition for the top jobs is intense, so I'd get myself a good degree in an analytical subject like history or politics (definitely not accountancy!) and I'd follow that up a few years later with an MBA. Then I'd be ready to conquer the world.

Although I've had plenty of offers over the years, I've never left KPMG.

That may partly be down to a lack of imagination, but mainly it is because I'd be more tied down doing almost anything else. The business isn't populated by ghastly stereotypes with bowler hats and umbrellas - that Monty Python sketch has a lot to answer for. I can't think of another line of work that offers the same combination of responsibility and personal freedom that I have enjoyed. I am active in the House of Lords but I think of myself purely as a businessman who is involved in the legislature. I'm definitely not a politician.

Lord Sharman was the senior partner at KPMG UK 1992-97 and chairman of KPMG International 1997-99.

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