It pays to know finance!

Trystan Colley graduated with a First class honours degree in BSc (Hons) International Financial Services in October 2015. Whilst studying on the degree he worked two days a week at Standard Chartered on the Undergraduate Employment Programme.

Making that infamous exam walk, up the JIBS steps, into our final Globalisation in Financial Services exam in September feels like a life-time ago. Although it has only been 5 months, it feels like a lot has changed since that final exam for myself and I’m sure other alumni members as well. Whether that is new jobs, hometowns or travelling the world, it is funny how life continues smoothly after years of education.

Firstly, why did I decide to complete this particular degree? When I finished my A-levels in 2011 the labour market was visibly tough for young people which led to a desire to be slightly inventive in my next crucial step into higher education. I decided on a mixture of working in order to gain practical experience and the conduction of a vocational degree so that I could seamlessly enter the world of work on completion. The JIBS degree fitted both of these desires with great aplomb. Other important factors included the degree’s shorter length and living at home which saved on living expenses.

In terms of the degree itself you gain a holistic knowledge of the entire financial services industry.  This is a positive because it allows you to understand what you are doing and how your job role impacts the sector which ultimately leads to higher job satisfaction. For me this knowledge increased my understanding of the sector thus increasing my confidence and created a whole new field of interest which I am constantly updating and exploring (The Economist has been a staple of my travel reading).

In regards to my work placement I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work for Standard Chartered. This two-year rotation scheme proved to be an effective complement to the degree in subject areas such as Service Management, Risk Management and Regulation. It allowed me to gain valuable work experience in multiple departments as well as shadow top industry professionals within the financial services industry.

This mix of college and work placements creates a challenging but rewarding experience. However, we still found time to socialise. I have fond memories of JIBSiversity Challenge, our 5-a-side football games against the other JIBS cohorts as well as our London trip. Importantly, you will inevitably meet people who you will develop strong bonds with.


Since the completion of the degree I decided to go travelling before entering the working world. My adventures have taken me through the USA, Europe, Thailand as well as coaching hockey in Ghana. Even during my travels I used my degree knowledge. For example, having to juggle five different currencies in one week or distinguishing the currency cards that paid the best exchange rates and had the least costs. It has paid to know finance!

In hindsight an important aspect of the degree was a mixture of a shorter degree with practical experience as it allowed me to gain a little extra time. This allowed me to go travelling as time pressures are less pressing. This is due to the degree being a year shorter and the extra two years of work experience which places you ahead of many peers when compared to your average degree.   For me it turns out that extra time is an incredibly valuable commodity (the extra money earnt throughout helped too!).