Icenian Interview – Jake

Jake was at Langley between 2008 and 2013, leaving with A-Levels in Business Studies, Economics, History, and Mathematics. Here we find out what steered Jake down a certain career path and he offers some sound advice for A-Levels students and those thinking about life after Langley.

Jake HardestyDid you know what career you wanted to follow when you were at school?
From aged seven, I always dreamed of being an airline pilot. The careers service at Langley advised me to join the school’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) RAF contingent, as well as studying Mathematics at A-Level, to help provide me with advantageous skills for the future. Sadly this aspiration did not pan out as I’d have hoped. I’ve since undergone quite a career change working as an Investment Management Assistant as part of a Leveraged Finance team for a global Asset Management firm.

‘Langley provided me with a unique set of opportunities that allowed me to develop not only academically but also as a person.’

Which extracurricular activities were you involved in at Langley?
I was a frequent hockey player and eventually rose to Vice Captain of Langley’s 1st men’s team during Upper Sixth. The then-new floodlight AstroTurf allowed me to improve my game and I was fortunate to play at a good standard against other regional schools. I was actively involved with Langley’s CCF activity and received extensive tutoring from RAF pilots in gliders as well as single propped planes during my tenure with the CCF. One of my biggest childhood regrets was not fully utilising the diverse range of activities that Langley had to offer.

Do you think the activities you took part in have been useful within your career?
Upon reflection, my involvement in sport at Langley was an invaluable learning resource for me. As a team based sport, hockey provided me with a plethora of soft skills that enhanced my overall ability within the workplace. My role as Vice Captain allowed me to develop leadership skills and improve my confidence with public speaking. This has massively helped me in a role where I currently supervise a small team in addition to pitching ideas to current/ potential investors in the boardroom. CCF further exposed me to perseverance, self-discipline and self-responsibility, which comes in handy at work when its 9pm and I’m revising for a self-taught IMC qualification.

What did you do at university?
I studied Business and Management at Durham University, graduating with a 2:1. I chose this course due to the opportunities to study a number of different topics and to tailor the degree to suit me. I focused on economic/ law based business modules that I found interesting. The Business department at Langley advised me which universities were good to study Business at and advised me to apply to Durham.

How did your career begin?
By pure chance. Upon graduating from Durham I was headhunted via LinkedIn for my current role. After interning at J.P. Morgan during the summer in 2015, I knew I wanted to work for a smaller firm where bureaucracy was less prevalent and the individual input was more tangible. After several rounds of interviewing, I was offered the job on the spot by the C.O.O. of the firm and haven’t looked back since.

Where are you now in your career and what have been the highlights?
After 15 months, I am still in my first job. I have recently gained responsibility for supervision of a fellow colleague and have begun studying towards professional finance qualifications such as the IMC and CFA. As part of a predominantly data analytical role, problem solving and being able to find the cause of an initially ambiguous issue are motivational for me. A key highlight was being asked last minute to fill in and deliver a pitch on ‘data management and order execution’ to a room full of potential investors. Despite having less than 30 minutes preparation, I was able to calmly and successfully pitch this to investors and hold a Q&A!

On reflection, did your time at Langley School help inform your career choices and your attitude to your career progression?
Overall, Langley provided me with a unique set of opportunities that allowed me to develop not only academically but also as a person. While I underwent a career u-turn before this initially began, my underlying mentality of hard work allowed me to develop a strong professional attitude.

What advice would you give to students currently considering their A-Levels and career choices?
Don’t be afraid. You may be feel pressured to pick certain subjects that you are not interested it but choose subjects that you feel a genuine passion and interest for. A-Levels are intense and can be fairly frustrating at times, so picking subjects that you enjoy is pivotal. It is also advisable to study qualifications that are relevant to your career aspirations. Discuss these aspirations with the careers advisor or your tutor before you make any decisions. While it may feel a long way off, the decisions you make during A-Levels shape your future and guide you onto different paths in life.
If you have a desire to further your education at university, look carefully into the options available and consider the subjects that top universities may require for your desired course. Utilise your long holidays to learn skills that will make your university/ job applications stand out from the thousands of other applicants. Part time work and work experience will open many new doors for you and will make it easier to write these applications. I would also strongly encourage students to pursue internships and placements during university as this will build your CV in a highly competitive job market.

Final thoughts
One of my biggest regrets is not learning a language during my education. In an increasingly global job market, large firms are advertising jobs with a requirement for at least two languages as a pre-requisite for the application. It is important to remember that, when you are being interviewed for graduate schemes and internships, there are a vast plethora of international students with the same grades as you but who have additional advantageous skills such as a second language. Additionally, with an increasing technological focus being incorporated into many roles at medium and large firms globally, I strongly encourage students to considering learning basic coding skills that are available to learn online or at Langley.

Published On: May 14th, 2021Categories: Icenians, News