Maria, Product Specialist at Man GLG

Before I took my career break, I had a varied and active job in fixed income on the sell-side where I travelled extensively, worked long hours and was excited by what I did. However, when I had my third child in 2012, I realised that I needed a change of pace. I left my company and dedicated my time to my family for three and a half years. During this break, I raised my children and loved every minute of it – I gave birth to my fourth child and prepared my three older ones for school.

I always planned to return to work and when I finally made the decision to come back, I knew that I needed something different from my past career. It was very clear to me that I wanted to continue working in financial services, and apply my existing skills and knowledge to a new area – the buy-side. I looked for roles in Sales or as a Product Specialist, which I felt would suit my experience and expertise. I approached head-hunters in the first instance, but was told that although I had an interesting profile and relevant experience, I was a “wildcard” with a non-traditional background (due to my career break) that they could not easily place. I then spoke to a friend of mine, who left the sell-side to open a headhunting business, and she pointed me to Women Returners, where I found the Product Specialist role at Man GLG. I knew the company, due to my previous job, and was immediately excited by the opportunity!

I considered myself very lucky when joining Man GLG. I started on a three-month programme, which was then extended, and then I was made a permanent employee. The team that I joined was also new at that time, so despite being thrown into an unfamiliar environment, I felt like I jumped on a boat that was being built. I was able to work with my team to define my hours and ensure flexibility on both sides (home and work). Senior management were also very understanding of this – they ensured that I was fully equipped with the training, materials and support to embrace my new role. For me, it was very important that when I returned to work, I would be happy and motivated – finding a work/life balance has definitely helped achieve this.

Alongside, Women Returners’ coaching programme was also very helpful when I first started my role. It reminded me about the importance of maintaining a focus and not stretching myself too thin between my personal and professional worlds, and to set up realistic short and medium term goals, and celebrate the daily achievements along the way.

I feel very happy about returning to work and joining Man GLG. It offers me everything that I wanted in terms of a full-time role, including working with an inspiring and engaged team, and having a balance with home life – so coming into work puts a smile on my face every morning. Admittedly, it is always a challenge to start something new, but I am fortunate to be in an open and inspiring professional environment that provides me with the support I need.

My one piece of advice to someone in a similar situation is to think about what you want and stick to it. Before you go on the journey to return to work, ensure that you have a good support system at home, and ideally at work as well, so that you have the peace of mind to be productive and successful in both environments.