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Steve Embers

Having first studied Business Studies at the University of Chester and graduating with a 2:1, I decided that I wanted to specialise in Finance. I decided to enrol on the Management with Finance MSc programme. I studied full-time, as it seemed a natural progression from my undergraduate degree. I was very lucky in that I was a DJ at the Student Union bar of which I have very fond memories, this helped fund my living costs while completing my year long masters degree course.

There are a couple of main takeaways from my time at the university and why I found it so valuable, the courses and the consistent approach that is drilled into you with every essay, assignment and dissertation was to always think critically and reflect back on the points that I had made in those assignments and I feel that has been very important to helping me build LG Embrey Financial Planning today. As when you are building a business you always need to critically think on what you could be doing better and that also means reflecting holistically and identifying what needs improving and then working on solutions to move things forward.

The other key thing I took away was the independent learning that is expected at the University of Chester, this helped to shape my working life today. This is because when you are self-employed, or even working for a company, you need to be able to work well by yourself and not have somebody telling you what to do every step of the way. So, I feel that the independent learning at the university has benefitted me in my career as an independent financial adviser.

The independent financial adviser (IFA) industry has changed a great deal over the past few years, with the rise of online ‘robo-advice’ and an increase in regulation, but I feel that my time at Chester University has given me the perfect grounding to start my own successful independent financial planning business. If you are thinking about a career in finance or are already working in the industry and are looking to enhance your knowledge and skills, I would highly recommend the University of Chester. It is still a small enough university where you didn't feel like just a number but also were able to take part in projects and feel like you are part of a Chester University family. One such project, that that has been transferable to challenges that I face in my financial planning business, would be the Dragons Den style entrepreneur competition that was run by lecturer Connie Hancock. This involved pitching a business idea to a panel of judges which consisted of leading business people from the local area, this included Andrew Donaldson of Big Storage, the Owner of Snowdonia Cheese Company and Kirsty Craig of Kirsty Craig associates. While the pitch itself was slightly intimidating the whole experience was brilliant, I managed to be selected as one of the finalists and attended an awards dinner where the Dragons attended, and the award was presented by the then Vice Chancellor Tim Wheeler. The winner got a space at the university's business accelerator facility. And while I didn't end up as the eventual winner, I still really enjoyed it and it gave me inspiration to continue with my ambition of building my own company.

LG Embrey Financial planning is going from strength to strength, we have exceeded £5 million in clients’ assets under management. We specialise in Final salary pension transfers but also cover all other financial advice throughout the UK, including Equity release, mortgages, pensions and investments. This is all in part down to my time at the University of Chester, from the confidence and skills that I gained while I was there.

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