Read about one of our newest CIMA students path to Reed Business School
Charles Farmer is former CEO at The Really Useful Group (RUG). Prior to that he worked at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) for 21 years, most recently as EVP of International […]
Charles Farmer is former CEO at The Really Useful Group (RUG). Prior to that he worked at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) for 21 years, most recently as EVP of International Television Productions from 2018-2021. Now he’s embarking on something new – studying towards his CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting at Reed Business School. We caught up with him to find out more about his career pathway to date, and what led him to CIMA.
Charles left school before completing his A-Levels, opting instead to get straight to work. He tried his hand at all sorts of entry-level jobs around London, but it was while working on a sheep and cattle farm in Australia during a year abroad that things started to click into place for him.
“Something about the great outdoors and being thousands of miles away from home gave me a new perspective and the time and space to think about what I wanted to do. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and when I came back to London, I was ready to get stuck in to a new challenge.”
While his first couple of job offers on his return fell through, a call from one of his contacts led him to a temporary Receptionist role at RPTA, where he impressed his colleagues with his positive work ethic. He began to take on more responsibility in different departments, eventually finding himself in the Sales team.
“I helped with a bit of everything, but did well in sales, and soon we were hugely overperforming in some markets given the size of the company. I built up the central and Eastern European markets and was promoted to Sales Manager for the region.”
It wasn’t long before head-hunters came knocking at his door, and with an impressive track record and portfolio of clients, Charles was able to keep stepping up the career ladder at MGM.
But the more senior he roles he took on, the more it became evident that his financial vocabulary wasn’t quite where he wanted it to be, and Charles also wanted to have a more formal schooling in finance and business overall.
Deciding that an MBA might be too much of an undertaking, Charles’s research led him to CIMA, and he was delighted to find such a well-established and highly regarded school so close to him in Oxfordshire, without the need to go to London.
When Charles left the RUG in February this year, and with more time on his hands, he dived straight in to his studies, which he’s really enjoying so far.
“I thought studying towards a CIMA qualification would be a fascinating way to develop myself, but I’ve never really had the time to do it. It’s giving me an insight into the fundamental workings of finance and business, and while I’ve run businesses before and seen all the different areas, finance was the one aspect that always interested me, and now I’m really pleased to get more depth of knowledge in it.”
Charles is a big fan of the set up and structure of the classes, and all the online resources including class recordings that he can go back and revisit when he wants to.
“The tutor is incredibly helpful, and it’s fantastic that you can always contact them with any questions. The online documentation and paperwork are all excellent, as is the access to practice papers and questions.”
The classroom environment at Reed Business School means Charles also gets to spend time and share knowledge with those from different industries and experience levels. He finds it interesting to get perspectives on how other industries work, giving him an even more well-rounded learning experience.
Throughout his career, Charles has learned that he succeeds best in a disciplined environment, so completes 1-2 hours of personal study at the same time each day to keep on track.
“I like to learn new things every day, and believe that we should always keep learning no matter how old we are. I’m fascinated by this course, and am really looking forward to the next module, and the one after that. When I go back to work again, the structure of classes on weekends will fit in with my lifestyle, and I’ll have much more confidence in the nitty gritty of numbers to be able to talk with finance teams on their level.”