Credit: Dave Eastbury

'We'd never have got a job now' - Martin Gilbert, Aberdeen Asset Management

The asset manager wasn't too fussed about exams, but says he'd have a much harder time of it today.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 18 Aug 2016

Name: Martin Gilbert, CEO and co-founder of Aberdeen Asset Management

Age: 60

What grades did you get: In my Scottish Highers, I got As in maths, physics and accountancy, Bs in economics, history and chemistry and a C in English. 

Which school did you go to? I boarded at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen. I always say if you’re good at sport, you’ll enjoy boarding school, and I loved sport. I was in the first team for hockey and cricket, and enjoyed football and golf too. There was always someone to play with. I was a late developer though, so I was too immature to be a prefect.

What’s the worst thing a teacher ever said about you? Definitely lazy. I’d still describe myself as lazy. It makes you a better delegator, that’s my theory.

How did you handle pre-exam nerves? I wasn’t that bothered really. Times were so different then. You were more or less guaranteed to get into Aberdeen University if you went to my school. I was there for five years, doing an MA in accountancy and economics and then a law degree, but beyond qualifying as a chartered accountant, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. It’s much more competitive and serious these days. Hugh Young and I always say we’d never have got a job now, the way we were when we founded Aberdeen. We wouldn’t even get selected.

What advice would you give your teenage self? Though I loved Aberdeen University, I’d probably have gone to a smaller town, perhaps St Andrews or somewhere like that, and really honed my golfing skills.

Return to MT's exams special page to find out how the others did.


Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

A leadership thought: Treat your colleagues like customers

One minute briefing: Create a platform where others can see their success, says AVEVA CEO...

The ignominious death of Gordon Gekko

Profit at all costs is a defunct philosophy, and purpose a corporate superpower, argues this...

Gender bias is kept alive by those who think it is dead

Research: Greater representation of women does not automatically lead to equal treatment.

What I learned leading a Syrian bank through a civil war

Louai Al Roumani was CFO of Syria's largest private retail bank when the conflict broke...

Martin Sorrell: “There’s something about the unfairness of it that drives me”

EXCLUSIVE: The agency juggernaut on bouncing back, what he would do with WPP and why...

The 10 values that will matter most after COVID-19

According to a survey of Management Today readers.