When I left school, I went to college to study Foundation Certificate in Personal Finance (FCPF), Certificate in Financial Studies (CEFS) (both run by the Institute) and Applied Business Studies.
I didn’t really think about it - I did it because my Mum was always business and accounting focused and I thought it would be a “safe” choice. I completed the 1st year of all 3 qualifications to then proceed to the full A Level qualifications.
But… here comes the first diversion. … During the summer of 2007 when I was expecting to continue my A Levels, all my friends started joining football academies and told me I should come for trials, “they’re linked with Barnet FC” they said. So in my head I was thinking I have a chance of being a Pro. I went for trials that summer and was 1 of about 50 people picked from hundreds of trialists nationwide. I didn’t know I’d need to go to a different college and study a sports, fitness and coaching BTEC. Anyways, I decided to do the BTEC and start my studying again.
In my second year at the academy, everyone started getting itchy feet about getting professional contracts. We were all 18 or 19 at the time and it’s a well-known thing in football not many people get professional contracts after this age if you’ve not played for a professional team before.
Back up plan
So… here comes the back-up plan. I decided to finish off my A-levels ‘just in case’. So I enrolled at my previous college to complete the Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS) whilst also finishing off my BTEC and playing football at the academy.
Only one person nationwide got a professional contract at the end... Luckily I had my A Levels and BTEC to fall back on!
Now… the second diversion… I went to University of Brighton, studying Finance and Investment. Not only was this degree really difficult academically, I was commuting from London to Brighton four days a week, and, during this time my – now 10 year old – son was born. So after the first year (scraping the 40% mark) I decided to stop studying and start working full time to support my family. I got a job in business to business sales and did this for about seven months, but decided it wasn’t for me. It was in that period my – now 8 year old – daughter came along.
I then decided I wanted to have a proper career and needed to go back to Uni. To do what though? Banking Practice and Management with the Institute of course!
The Institute changed my life
I can honestly say that The London Institute of Banking & Finance changed my life. The course content and the way the teacher/lecturer delivered the first course I studied (Foundation Certificate in Personal Finance (FCPF) in 2006) made me more and more interested in finance, but more importantly, made me want to do well. It encouraged me to carry on studying. So I went from a personal finance qualification to a full undergraduate degree in about a 7-8 year period.
When studying my undergraduate degree the faculty here were incredibly supportive; we had many conversations around my grades, my attendance and my lateness... Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for their support and encouragement.
During the second year, there is an optional summer internship module. I had opportunities with an asset manager in Wigan, which eventually fell through, and then an opportunity to interview at HSBC – but that fell through because I didn’t get an A in English and Maths.
In my head, I wasn’t doing the internship module. However because I’d really tried to improve my attendance and grades, the Faculty put me forward for a Barclays internship.
That moment pretty much changed my life.
Where am I now?
After completing the assessment day at Barclays, I was offered summer internships at Barclays Internal Audit. Amazing right? It gets better.
This summer internship was an opportunity to:
1. See if working in a bank is a career path for me
2. Display what I can offer Barclays Internal Audit, with my skillset.
It took a while to find my feet, but when I did I really started to fly.
I went from internships to a permanent analyst role within Internal Audit. After four years at Barclays, I joined Old Mutual Wealth (Now rebranded to Quilter Plc) Internal Audit. I spent two years working in Internal Audit Operations but then decided to return to Barclays Internal Audit - so I’ve gone back home.
The springboard for my career today
The course content, the industry experience from the lecturers, and the different events and networking forums, allowed me to be in control of my career.
I am proud to have attended The London Institute of Banking & Finance and proud to be part of the first cohort of undergraduate students.
Being a young person once upon a time, I know that you’re always searching for inspiration, motivation and role models. It’s not always easy to find, so it’s important to make the support as easy to find as possible and for those of us who can, to step forward to help.
If everyone with a success story was to help one other person imagine how many more success stories we would have.
I hope my story will help others understand that, even if you make a few false starts in life, with the right support and encouragement you can achieve whatever you want!
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