Nic Sestaret is arguably one of the busiest men in the Aviva Premiership. The Exeter Chiefs’ centre already has an impressive list of qualifications but he is now using his spare time away from the field to prepare for life after rugby. The Players’ Room met up with the talented Frenchman to hear about his latest career move with HSBC.
Nic, it sounds like it’s been a busy year for you so far. How do you manage to fit everything in?
“I don’t sleep anymore… just kidding! I have a diary that lists everything I have to do that week and it is in order of priority. I’ve usually got lots to fit in to one week but that’s my character, I like to have a lot to do, it’s good to keep my mind stimulated. I also have very understanding fiancée, Charlotte!”
Can you tell us how you recently became involved in working with HSBC?
“It was over a year ago now. I hold a bank account with HSBC and I was in the branch sorting out one or two things when I was introduced to the Senior Premier Manager, Theresa Norton.
“I thought this is my chance so I asked her about what the job involves and the possibility of work experience. I’ve got some qualifications, although they are not totally to do with banking. I thought this could be a good opportunity and three weeks later she called me and asked me to come in for a chat as they thought it could be interesting for both parties.”
What is your role within the bank?
“At the moment my role is to assist Theresa and the other Senior Premier Managers. I’m currently only working on the Premier side of the bank where I mainly deal with other rugby players because of my relationship with the sport. In two or three months I’ll be free to move into different departments such as marketing or international finance.
“It’s great because they give me the freedom to move departments to gain as much experience as possible and on a personal level I get to see which area of the business interests me most and where I would like to work should a position become available in the future.”
What was the interview process like; did you feel like you were on the apprentice?
“Well because I wanted to do a year’s work experience I had to go through the process as if I was being interviewed to become a full-time Premier Manager. I was interviewed by two HSBC representatives, one of whom had come up from London. It lasted over two hours!
“I had to do a role play on how I would deal with certain situations and complete a number of assessments; they asked me about 70 or 80questions. I was nervous but thought regardless of whether I got the job or not it was a fantastic opportunity for me and great experience.”
Had you always been interested in working in the financial sector?
“A lot of my former team-mates back in France went into the banking industry once they’d retired and one my best friends has done a similar thing. Having spoken to him it sounded like something that would be good for me and it was an area I was interested in.
“I’ve always thought I’ve got a good mathematical brain and I like to deal with people so when a bank the size of the HSBC presented me with this opportunity I thought it was one I couldn’t turn down.”
So what would a typical week consist of for you?
“Basically chaos… again I’m joking! As I said before everything is based around priorities. Obviously my family and rugby comes first, after that I schedule one day a week to work at the bank following that I do some coaching. I coach at Plymouth with my team-mate Neil Clark, which is another great opportunity for us and we need to take these chances while we can.”
What do your team-mates think of you potentially being their future bank manager?
“In Toulouse our bank manager was an ex-player and he was well respected, but here my team-mates do have a laugh with it and are always asking me for good rates on a mortgage or interest free loans!”
Would your team-mates represent a sound investment or would you decline any loan requests?
“I’m going to be diplomatic here and say yes, all my team-mates would be a sound investment… (laughs).”
During your time at Exeter and as a member of The RPA have you studied for any other qualifications which may help your transition into a future career?
“I have a European Degree in Management and I have my Level 2 coaching award and I’ve also started a strength and conditioning course. The one I’m perhaps most proud of is my GCSE English qualification! I did it about two years ago by going to night classes at Exeter College.
“Obviously being from France I wanted to improve my English but also I wanted something that showed I’d studied in England and gained a qualification. I went for 3 hours once a week and it was really good to spend some time with people who weren’t into rugby, they were a great group.
“I must say I’d be open to doing more if it would help me in my future career at the bank, anything that helps me can only be a good thing.”
What role has The RPA played in your current situation?
“My PDM, Josh Frape, has been great, he’s always been there to give me advice and help me out, especially when I met Theresa for the first time. The tips he gave me for my interview were brilliant and really helped me to prepare for the questions I faced.
“The connections Josh & The RPA have with HSBC have been invaluable. I know for example that my name has been mentioned by Richard Knight, the Head of Premier Banking, he even sent Theresa a message to wish me good luck on my first day.
“For someone like myself the networking and connections that can be made in the banking industry are invaluable and I have to thank Theresa and everyone at HSBC for giving me this chance, I’m extremely fortunate.”
Contact your PDM for further information on work experience opportunities or educational courses available to you, alternatively visit www.theRPA.co.uk