Chris Knott

What are you doing now?

I’m a salaried Partner at Big 4 accountancy firm EY (Ernst & Young). I lead their R&D Incentives offering across the Midlands, ensuring companies gain credit for the interesting and clever technical things they are doing. People initially think being a tax advisor must be boring (some areas are!) but the one I am in has allowed me to work with a number of the Formula 1 team, for instance.

I now live out in rural Shropshire with my wife, three daughters and various pets!

What route did you take up to this point?

From DHSB, where I won the Kitchener Scholarship, I gained a First Class Honours in Mechanical & Marine Engineering at university. I subsequently qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor and have now worked for three of the four largest firms in a 21 year career.

Any significant crossroads?

I wanted to join the Navy as a harrier pilot (having been born in Plymouth and brought up in Portsmouth/Plymouth/Bermuda) but was told I was colour blind. Hence the switch from an Engineering degree at uni to a career in accountancy (but with the R&D side of things ensuring I utilise my whole skillset). Essentially a different way of messing around with numbers all day, with a technical purpose!

What have you learnt most about yourself?

Stay grounded and don’t take yourself too seriously. A lot of people over the years have said they loved working for me because I don’t have the typical sense of superiority and distance that tends to come with seniority.

What words of wisdom would you give to a student joining DHSB in Year 7?

The transition from primary to secondary can be daunting at times but don’t let anyone get you down. Work hard and you’ll have the last laugh at some point.

And for a Sixth Former leaving DHSB?

Enjoy uni and choose a subject you like. Employers tend to look for result and application/work ethic rather than subject.

Any fond memories of school you can share?

Going to Bermuda at 14 at 4’11” and 7.5 stone sopping wet and coming back for 6th form 6’ and 15 stone and going straight into the first XV rugby team!

Do you have a message for any of your teachers?

No idea if he’s still around but I owe an awful lot to the teaching skills and patience of my old Maths teacher Mr Attewell.