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Case StudySHIRLEY

Shirley Batten-Smith

Member since 1984.

 

What year did you join the industry?

I joined Williams & Glyn’s Bank in 1983 at the age of 28 and started studying for my banking exams straight away. I’d left school at 16 with only a few GCSEs and I enjoyed the first year induction course, because I didn’t have A-levels. 

How did you find the experience of study and working full-time?

After the first year I found it hard to find time to study. I took three subjects the next year – only to fail all of them. 

I was on a ‘relief team’ covering South Wales and the West. Working full time in the bank and travelling all over the place, I decided to try a different approach to get through eight papers.

I’d get up really early – about 4am – and study for two hours every weekday.  That left my evenings free to relax. On Saturdays, I’d go to the local library and find a quiet place to study uninterrupted for a few hours and Sunday was my free day.

 I also studied only two subjects at a time with the aim of passing at least one.  I found this regime worked and I took my last exam – ‘The practice of lending’ – a few months before I got married. 

Any special memories or stories about taking your banking exams?

After the exam, my fiancé picked me up from the College and we went for a celebratory meal.

As soon as I sat down in the restaurant the stress of all the studying and the wedding preparation overwhelmed me. I started crying, and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I couldn’t eat or drink anything.  

All the way through the meal the waitress was horrified. She must have thought my fiancé was a real cad because he ate all his meal and just kept laughing.

All I could do was say sorry over and over again. In the end we gave up and came home. 

I did pass the final exam – with a distinction. And I went on to use this technique to pass several more professional exams. 

I have now been happily married for 28 years and we still laugh about that meal.