Alison Zobel

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Utilities and Renewable Energy
Job title: Group General Counsel & Company Secretary
Subject of study: Electronic & Electrical Engineering
Year of graduation: 1994
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Haventus Limited

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I was a sponsored student with GEC-Marconi while studying at Exeter, spending a year working prior to starting at Exeter and every summer holiday. After Exeter I studied law and qualified as a solicitor, spending a number of years working in large London law firms as a commercial litigator, before taking up more business focussed roles as General Counsel/Head of Legal in global, multinational and FTSE listed Financial Services companies. More recently, I have been able to marry up my two interests, having joined a newly-formed construction and renewable energy company as Group General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy the challenge of finding solutions to problems, analysing difficult, technical issues and balancing risk with commercial requirements. My engineering background and skills have been incredibly useful in the commercial environment, helping me to assimilate detail, engage with clients and think more strategically.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

Exeter University Orchestra, Karate Club

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

There were many opportunities to work practically and experiment in the faculty, it wasn’t all paperwork! The lecturers were very accessible and helpful and had a great enthusiasm for the subject. The opportunity to study and live in Modena, Italy for three months in my third year was an amazing experience.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Very friendly faculty and a beautiful campus. Days spent on Exmouth beach and at the Double Locks pub. Summer term ‘Last Night of the Proms’ playing with the University Orchestra

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

Exeter is a beautiful City with a lovely quayside to explore. One of the key attractions for me was that the engineering faculty provided a broad base curriculum for the first two years to allow us to explore all aspects of engineering prior to choosing our final specialisms. The university felt overall very inclusive with a good ratio of female to male undergraduates (particularly key in engineering and the other science based subjects).

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Ability to clearly assimilate and summarise technical detail. Taking a commercial and strategic view of issues and thinking flexibly when approaching problems. Taking any opportunities to learn new skills by working in different organisations, pursuing secondments where offered, undertaking corporate challenges or taking up additional learning opportunities. A keen focus on, as well as enjoyment of, networking.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Work on key business skills of prioritising and chunking detail into easily accessible and understandable key points/actions. Networking is a critical skill and gets easier the more you practise. Similarly with speaking in meetings and presentations – be clear on your message and don’t get caught up in irrelevant detail.

What are your plans for the future?

Enjoying my new role and ensuring a good work-life balance. Continuing to expand my network and explore any new opportunities that come my way.


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