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Insurance chief gives Ballard summer lecture

May 17, 2011

The former CEO of Axa Insurance in Asia Pacific gave the Ballard Summer Lecture last week to a generally young and enthusiastic audience, providing a unique insight into the world of Insurance and also, for the younger members of the audience, giving some valuable advice on developing a career in this growing industry.

The importance of knowing yourself and your strengths and weaknesses was also highlighted.

Mr Andrew Penn described how he left education at 16 without too many qualifications, but then ‘discovered’ work and soon found the necessary commitment and drive to catch up on what he’d missed whilst at school…culminating in an MBA, a place at Harvard Business School and the position of Chief Executive Officer within the world’s largest insurance group.

Mr Penn was very clear that international experience was invaluable in doing business in various countries.  It was vital in his view to understand the many different cultures and business methods.  He also pointed out the importance of developing your own moral rules and discipline in business and, whatever the temptation for achieving more profit, to stick to those rules.

The Insurance world has many careers to offer, and the speaker mentioned the areas of specialism that are covered by Insurance, indicating the appropriate pathways to follow in pursuit of these careers. Interestingly, he talked about one of his more interesting clients, the Olympic swimmer and multiple record holder, Ian Thorpe, before moving on to spend time discussing AXA Asia Pacific’s role in insuring preserved sharks as artwork by Damien Hurst!

Held at the Ballard School Performing Arts Centre in New Milton, this talk was part of an annual lecture series put together by both Ballard School and Highcliffe School. It is principally designed to showcase a range of careers to young people and to explore areas of real interest.

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