Florence Allan: Dart Scholar Update

Florence Allan, a 2016 Dart Scholar, is a William A. Dart Memorial University Scholarship recipient and she started her final year at the University of Bristol where is studying International Business Management. A talented sailor, having competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio and the Central American and Caribbean Games, she also joined the University of Bristol’s sailing club where she currently serves as President. Read on to learn more about Florence, her experience as a Dart Scholar and her plans for the year ahead.

What led you to apply for the William A. Dart Memorial University Scholarship?

The main thing I was looking for was financial aid but I was also attracted to the work experience opportunities offered through the summer Work-X programme. I am still deciding what I want to do so the idea that I didn’t have to choose one specific area for my work experience at Dart was really appealing. The Work-X experience has been so beneficial for me as it really opened my eyes to all the aspects of the business that I had no idea about. I started off in the Human Resources (HR) department and now appreciate what they do and how important their job is because I was able to work with them. Same for the real estate marketing team, it was great to learn about real estate and it was interesting to see how to apply the information I learned to the investment role I had this past summer. These experiences have definitely helped guide my career path in that I was able to see the various options but it’s also helped show me what I don’t want to do which is just at important.

How has being a Dart Scholar supported your studies and your career path?

Being a Dart Scholar has supported my studies and career path tremendously! Apart from the obvious financial support, having the opportunity to work in different departments has opened my eyes to the working world. I find this experience invaluable, and it has allowed me to delve deeper into subjects I’m interested in at University through the courses and units that I choose. I think it’s very important to know what kind of job your personal skill set supports, and being a Dart Scholar and Work-X student has helped me understand this further.

Tell us about your life at the University of Bristol.

This is my third and final year at University of Bristol where I’m studying international Business Management. I also spent a year at the University of Exeter where I was studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics but I discovered that wasn’t the path for me so I transferred to University of Bristol - and I love it. I chose my degree because I wanted to keep my options open so I could try accounting, tax, economics, politics, law, and all these different subjects that I’m interested in and this path gives me the option to do this. I’m still debating what I’d like to do when I finish school. Last year, I took a Business Law Course because I thought I would really enjoy it and as it turns out, I loved it so now I’m thinking about converting over to law school.

Tell us about your life on the sailing club at University.

I love being on the sailing team, it’s something I’ve always been passionate about and I enjoy spending my time sailing. The type of sailing is a bit different than what I was previously doing in Cayman, at University we do team racing whereas in Cayman I was doing fleet racing. Team racing is a bit more inclusive and brings more people in. It involves two people on each boat with three boats per team, racing against another team. I keep busy with this every Wednesday and Saturday at Chew Valley Lake. I am the President of the Sailing Club where my job is to make sure every aspect of the club is run properly. Last year, I held the role of Treasurer and I worked really hard to turn the club around financially so this year I’m really helping us stay on budget as well as manage the other areas. There are three different aspects of the club; team racing, yacht services and social sailing which is teaching beginning sailors how to sail. I help to make sure all these get the attention they deserve.

You were a 2016 Olympic athlete, competing at the games in Rio. Do people still ask you about your experience in Rio?  

I have very special memories of the Olympics. It was an incredible atmosphere, and I don’t really know how to put it into words. There was such a positive vibe and everyone was so happy and excited to be there and compete. It was definitely different from any regatta I’ve been to before.

It took a lot of work, on and off the water, and a lot of sacrifice. But all the nights that I didn’t go out and all the beach days that I missed meant so little as soon as I walked out in that Stadium at the Opening Ceremony! All the work that I put in was worthwhile when I saw the Cayman Islands flag on my sail!

People do still ask me about the experience and I hope that I can inspire people to dream and achieve big things. I hope that our whole Olympic Team was able to show other people in Cayman that it doesn’t matter that we’re a small country and not recognised on the international stage – we can still achieve big things!

You spent the last three summers in the Dart Work-X programme, tell us more about what you did and how these experiences helped guide your current career path.

I spent my first summer in the HR department, my second summer working with the real estate marketing team and this past summer I was with the investment team. The main project I worked on last summer was researching data from Airbnb in Cayman. We studied the growth of this service over the past few years, if people chose Airbnb over hotels and how it affected the economy in general.

Do you have any advice for other students that are looking to become a Dart Scholar?  

My advice would be to put in the work to do extracurricular activities, find what you’re passionate about and excel at it. Then you can figure out how all the lessons you learn from that apply to the rest of your life. This is what I did with sailing. I was able to balance my studies with sailing because both were very important to me plus I am competitive and I wanted to get grades. I realised early on that sailing is something I loved and wanted to be good at so I knew I had to give up other areas of my life. I appreciate that doesn’t happen for everyone but if you can figure out what’s important to you and what will give you that drive early on, you will be at an advantage.