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  • Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
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The Adam Smith Society

The Adam Smith Society

On the evening of January 13th at 8:30pm in the Coffee Shop, Radley College and the Adam Smith Society were lucky enough to host Douglas Ker OR talking about his successful career in the insurance industry, and then as an entrepreneur, working with his wife in her handbag company, Meli Melo.

Mr Ker’s father, Roger Ker, interviewed him in front of us, asking him question about his career so far and how he had got to his current position as CEO of Meli Melo. Meli Melo is a luxury handbag startup, initially launched by Mr Ker’s wife back in 2005 and is a highly fashionable brand, hugely popular in China and across Asia. The handbags are designed by Mr Ker’s wife, manufactured in the Italian city, Florence, and then shipped across the world to the customers.

Mr Ker started off talking about his time at Oxford Brookes University where he studied French and German with business. He stressed the importance of internship and work experience, and utilising our parents’ contacts in various industries, regardless of our preferred career path. From University, Mr Ker described how he went into insurance broking, where he climbed the ranks at Miller, then Aspen, and also did an MBA in parallel with these city jobs. Mr Ker decided to leave Aspen to help his wife grow Meli Melo, which at the time was a very small business. He told us how important it was to do what you enjoy, and this is the reason he quit his highly-paid insurance job, as he wanted more of a thrill outside of the City.

His father then asked the interesting question, “What will you do next?” Douglas Ker then went on to say that he believed in having many careers during one’s lifetime, and wanted to become an investor and, after, donate to charity. Finally, Mr Ker gave us some advice on how we could succeed in the business world and as he spoke, it was clear that everyone was listening intently. He said that you need a passion to succeed; you need to gain plenty of work experience to be a viable employee for companies; and finally, you should never take no as an answer.  The talk concluded with a question and answer session and it was a lovely evening, listening to a talented Old Radleian talk about his passion.

Report and Picture by Tom Whitbread and Alexander Dernie, A Social, 6.1

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