At Mill Hill School, we are continually impressed by the fantastic things our pupils achieve after leaving the School. We have caught up with Old Millhillian David Matthews (Priestley, 1987-1992) to learn more about his life at Mill Hill School and what he has been up to since leaving in 1992.
What have you been up to since leaving Mill Hill School?
After leaving Mill Hill School, I spent six months working in a warehouse in Essex for Britannia Music. I started this job to save money to travel around Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia with Old Millhillians Olly Wright and Paul Gugenheim. The trip was a massive highlight in my teen years, and I would recommend a gap year to anyone if possible!
On my return, I secured a place at the University of West of England (UWE) to study Business Studies, which included a year working for Reuters in London which was a wonderful opportunity. Whilst at UWE, I had various jobs, including working in a deli and providing room service in a hotel. After completing my undergraduate degree UWE, I spent a year at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) studying for a master’s degree in Information Systems. I then went on to gain a place on the graduate training program at NatWest Markets, where I spent two years learning the ins and outs of the financial markets.
In 1999 I moved into the property world and followed two previous generations of my family in residential and commercial estate agency and property management. I have been in the property world for 23 years and am currently the managing director of Dutch & Dutch in West Hampstead.
What are your career highlights so far?
I feel really blessed to have found an industry which I have always loved working in. I have acted on some of North-West London’s most exciting buildings and development sites, which has been a superb experience.
What is your favourite memory as a pupil at Mill Hill School?
I have so many happy memories from Mill Hill School. My highlights include rugby matches, ski trips, drama productions and CCF activities. I was in the CCF’s Navy section and went sailing and windsurfing at the Welsh Harp. This was a great experience, and I feel very fortunate that I was able to do this at a young age. Although these experiences were all incredible, my happiest memories are simply socialising with friends in Priestley House and the Sixth Form Centre, many of whom I am still in touch with.
How did your education at Mill Hill School influence your current career path?
I really enjoyed Business Studies and Geography A Level. Both of these are relevant to my career, although I didn’t know that they would be at the time! Geography with David Woodrow was always very enjoyable. I also have a love of history encouraged by Peter McDonagh (at Belmont!).
Could you share an inspirational quote with us? How and why does it inspire you?
“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it”. I like this quote because it encourages people to find and pursue their passions.
Do you have any career advice for our pupils?
Firstly, do what you love, and if you don’t know what that is yet, have a go at everything you can! In my experience, it will be your enthusiasm more than qualifications that will open doors, so try lots of things and find out what you enjoy.
Secondly, make the most of the OM network at Mill Hill School, as there are hundreds of OMs willing to offer advice, work experience or simply a nudge in the right direction. At Dutch & Dutch we recently had Luca I do some work experience with us which I’m hoping was a great experience for him! He is pictured with myself and the team above.
Thanks go to David for taking the time to speak with us. It was a pleasure to gain an insight into his life at Mill Hill School and beyond.