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.


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