Alumni Profile: Tom Wheatley

Tom Wheatley (EMBA, 2017) is the COO of Fintech company Watson Wheatley. He talks about choosing Green Templeton, his time as an EMBA and his career path through motorsport and beyond.

Tom Wheatley kneeling by a Formula E car

I chose Green Templeton as part of the admissions process for the Executive MBA where were given the choice of a number of colleges. After visiting a few of them Green Templeton appealed to me because it was aimed at older students often with families, had a very international flavour with a lot of business students and I loved the Cotswold feel of the entrance to the college. It also has a nice balance between history and being a relatively new modern college.

My previous education was at Swansea Trinity St David University where I studied for a rather unusual degree in Motorsport Management therefore being somewhere like Oxford was a real opportunity that I had to accept.

There are some colleges that are more household names than GTC but its about where you feel comfortable. Being from the Cotswolds the architecture immediately made me feel at home and the location slightly outside the centre of Oxford was a little more relaxed. For anyone considering GTC I would suggest taking a look around and meeting other students. Everyone loves their college and I would suggest looking at what is happening at the college now rather than the history of some of the other colleges.

My most enduring memory of GTC was when we were supposed to be having a drinks event with the Principal and turned up at her house only to find it had been cancelled (we must have missed the email). She very graciously invited my classmate and I into her home anyway and we had a lovely time having drinks, getting the full tour of the property and a great, personal welcome into the GTC community.

Staying at GTC during my EMBA was another highlight as there was a room available to stay in for short visits. Even though I lived not to far away the ability to stay in the college and get involved briefly with some events was a real treat. This included a taster session with the rowing team which is something I absolutely love and really wish I had been able to commit the time to do more.

My current role is COO of Fintech company Watson Wheatley. We are based not too far from GTC in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire and we also have offices in London and New York. The company builds data reconciliation solutions for hedge funds, asset managers, brokers and private equity firms. More specifically my role is in the sales, marketing and client relationship area. This involves a fair amount of travel to places like Hong Kong, Singapore and New York as well as visiting London a couple of times a week. Watson Wheatley is a small business so I have to wear many hats which is tricky at times but getting easier as we grow. Fortunately, I can rely on my other directors (also family members) and the great team we have built over the years.

Before Watson Wheatley I worked at Cazenove Capital Management and The Bank of New York in the operations teams. My career hasn’t been all finance and fintech though as my first role was as an Instructor at Silverstone Circuit and then Mechanic/Instructor/Driver/Head of Operations at Bridgestone Racing Academy just outside Toronto. I then had a brief spell in the automotive industry before making the career change to financial services and relocating to London.

Motorsport has always been a major interest of mine therefore alongside my professional role at Watson Wheatley I sit on the board of the Monoposto Racing Club which runs race events at circuits such as Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch for single seater racing cars at the affordable end of the motorsport spectrum.

My original aim when I was at school was to become a racing driver and therefore I spent my teenage years and early 20’s pursuing this aim. This started in karting then attending racing school to learn how to race cars. I was lucky enough to drive in the British Formula Vauxhall Junior championship alongside some drivers who went on to have very successful professional careers. I then briefly moved to British Formula Ford with Alain Menu Motorsport and that is where the money ran out! After a couple of years away from being a driver (and while finishing my undergraduate degree) I moved to Canada for a further two seasons of racing. This brought some success in winning a scholarship from Bridgestone tyres, as well as a Formula 2000 championship.

After a significant break of 18 years from driving I now race at an amateur level in the Monoposto Championship. I run my own racing car which I run with the help of my father and some very experienced F1 engineers. It is a different environment from my earlier racing career in professional and semi-professional motorsport but is some of the best racing and best value for money that I have seen in the industry. It certainly helps keep my nerves down on race day knowing I’m only doing it for fun and not a career!

Motorsport and business means a lot of travelling therefore I’m lucky to have a very supportive wife and children. Aside from racing I like to spend time with my family, supporting my daughter at dance/ballet events around the country and encouraging my son to pursue his passion for farming either in our garden or by playing Farming Simulator!

I’m not sure I have a single greatest achievement that I could mention but attending Oxford University is certainly one of them! I was considered one of the least academic people at my (admittedly very academic) school and only had very narrow interests at that point. To be able to study at Oxford and enjoy the privilege that brings would be unbelievable to an 18-year-old version of myself. I’m very proud to have achieved that and enjoy the opportunities that it affords me.