This month on my podcast I did a live interview in front of the MBA class at Leeds University Business School with alumnus Thomas Hughes who made a career switch from a Manager in the hospitality industry to a Territory Manager for Shell with additional responsibility for sustainability initiatives being rolled out in the field.

Thomas readily admits that he has never had a clear idea of what he wanted to do in this career having applied to do archeology at Sheffield University then switching to politics. A chance encounter led him to an internship for a political lobby in Washington. Despite this experience that he wouldn't swap for the world, he found the conflict with his principles meant it wasn't a long term career for him. He decided to come back to the UK and fell back into the hospitality industry, where he had worked since he was 16.

Despite being a successful Manager for Mitchells and Butler, one of the largest pub, restaurant and bar operators in the UK, Thomas again knew this industry wasn't the long term career path so decided to apply to do a MBA at Leeds University Business School.

He says 'Doing a MBA was probably the best decision I ever made not only from what he learnt but also the career progression it allowed me to make.'

The career self-reflection process allowed him to focus on finding a company that would align with what was important to him, namely the opportunity to help a company to transition to electric vehicles and make an impact at scale, in the field of environmental sustainability.  His role combines his cross transferable skills with his passion for the environment, clearly made him standout. He continued to pursue this once he had joined Shell, which led to the responsibilities he has for sustainability. Advice for other career changes includes really working out what you want to do - even if it takes some time, as this shines through at interview and can inform which companies you actively target for applications.

Thomas is a great example of really taking charge of your career!

For more advice and career stories you can listen on Spotify.