Sam's Blog

Charterhouse event

2 Jun 2015 | Sam | Schools, Visits away

During the Easter holidays, we were lucky enough to be able to invite fifteen top students from the South West with an interest in a career in finance to an event at the Charterhouse offices in London.

After a successful joint event with Slaughter and May for budding lawyers in 2013, we were delighted to deliver a university and careers event for another group of Year 12 students from schools in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. This time, it was all about exploring the world of finance and the university options ahead of them – how did the two link together?

First up was a well-deserved lunch given the length of the journeys completed by many of the attendees. Once all the sandwiches had been firmly taken care of, everyone listened to Jamie – one of the Charterhouse staff – talk about the City and the structure of the financial sector. I think everyone attending was really taken aback by the sheer scale and variety of the different activities involved. Jamie spoke about the various skills and qualities that students might need to be successful in the sector, such as confidence working with numbers, the ability to analyse lots of information quickly and foreign language skills.

View from the offices next to St Paul's... not bad!
View from the offices next to St Paul’s… not bad!

Downing Fellow Professor Bill O’Neill then spoke with the group about his own journey to becoming a research scientist. Thinking back to his own school life, he spoke about what led him to choose the university path (a love for Star Trek and lasers) and what he currently works on at the Institute for Manufacturing within the Department of Engineering in Cambridge (hint: it’s still lasers). It was fascinating to get an insight into the (quite literally) cutting-edge research going on, and interesting to hear about the links between research and industry through the lens of the financial world!

We had a brief tour of the offices (great view, see the picture on the left) before I spoke with the group on exploring university choices. We looked at developing academic interests outside of school and how to go about researching. The main recurring theme during the day was about choosing to study something you enjoy – this was obvious in the huge range of degree subjects which the staff at Charterhouse had studied at university. Many were surprised to learn that you don’t need a degree in Economics, Business or Mathematics to work in finance. In fact, the graduate destination information from our own Careers Service in Cambridge shows that Music, Natural Sciences and even Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and other graduates might well find themselves in the City too! It’s often much more about the transferable skills which a degree gives you than it is the specific subject content.

It was lovely to hear such nice feedback comments from those who attended about how it’s helped them develop their academic and career interests. We are incredibly grateful to Jamie and everyone at Charterhouse and beyond who helped with this event and continue to support our work with schools and colleges.


I was once a student at Downing, but now I work full-time as the School and College Liaison Officer. I'm responsible for organising our outreach work in the South West and advising students and teachers on all things Cambridge!