Participating in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge, Flo Ward (MSc Management with Marketing 2016) rowed 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua – breaking the world record for the youngest female trio to have rowed any ocean and raising over £15,000 for charity.
What’s your career journey been since leaving the University?
I started work at a boutique digital marketing and research agency, then moved on to work as a data analyst on accounts such as Samsung, Nivea, EE and so on. I took a sabbatical to row across the Atlantic in December 2020, and when I came back, I realised I needed a change. I joined Accenture in November 2021, where I’m working as a growth marketing consultant. The beauty of being out on the ocean is that your routine is so simple – just row, eat, sleep, repeat. It gives you an opportunity to think about who you are as a person and what you want from life.
What were the high and low points of the row?
Before we left, a friend of mine said, ‘You've got to enjoy the lows as much as the highs, because you'll never be this low again’ and I thought these were great words to live by. When things went wrong, something amazing would always happen. For example, we got to a point at night where we had to turn off all our electrics to save power for emergencies – but without that we wouldn't have seen bioluminescence, which is just the most incredible phenomenon. It looks like the whole ocean is illuminated.
Did your time at Bath help to prepare you in any way?
In terms of physical training for the row, we did five or six sessions a week in the gym – which was slightly easier for me as a Bath University Boat Club alumna, because we trained 12 times a week! I learned great teamwork skills from competing at things like BUCS. Also, meeting such a range of people from my course made me more open-minded and sympathetic when I’m trying to compromise and learn to adjust to different people's ways.
Any favourite moments from your time here?
It was such a whirlwind of a year! I had two favourite lecturers. There was Professor Brian Squire, who did business analytics, and Mike Willis, who taught accounting. Mike’s lectures were phenomenal, because I've never seen someone who's so bright and enthusiastic about accounting at 9am on a Thursday morning.
You recently spoke at the School of Management’s Bath Link alumni event. How does it feel to be able to share your experiences in order to inspire others?
One of the reasons I did the row was to show what women are capable of in sports and how we can be just as successful as men. I hope it helps to shape people’s perceptions of what we can do, and also to inspire women to take on their own challenges – whatever they might be. I want to give women the confidence to know that they can do whatever they put their minds to. An event like this is also a great opportunity to reconnect and see what everyone has gone on to do with their degree. Having a master’s in management puts you in good stead to go on and do anything.