Emma Duncombe

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Commercial Banking & Credit
Job title: Head of Talent Acquisition, Managing Director
Subject of study: History & German
Year of graduation: 1995
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name


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

I started my career in German translation, utilising my German degree as well as the research element of my History degree! I then decided I needed a career with more human interaction and unintentionally embarked on a career in recruitment – the first 10 years in executive search in the UK and then in house at various financial services companies across the Middle East, Africa, North America and Asia. I currently work for Citibank, managing a recruitment team of 250 people who recruit 20,000 hires a year across Asia Pacific.

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

I don’t think anyone truly ‘chooses’ recruitment! But for me I’ve found it has all the elements that I was seeking: making human connections happen, assessing people’s skills and motivations, enabling people to make realise their potential through career moves, understanding business strategy, managing operations. As my roles have become more senior, I spend most of my time focusing on leadership and coaching people who manage the recruitment activity. It’s also given me an opportunity to work internationally which I love.

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

German Society. I also played hockey and squash for the Uni throughout my 3 years on campus.

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

The first half of your career will be focused on gaining the technical skills; the second half is about honing your soft skills. The soft skills that are useful for anyone are grit, positivity, staying curious and being inclusive.


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