Year 10 Aspirations Day

After navigating the Underground during peak time, we safely arrived at One Canada Square and were told we’d be travelling up to the 49th floor – quite a surprise, as (after the Shard) it is the tallest building in London. The Bank of New York Mellon was the first business we visited, and being one floor from the very top gave us quite the view of the city. Our students had the opportunity to speak with twelve of the BNY Mellon employees, each of whom were involved in different sectors of the business including Financial Law, Investment Management and International Relations.

The employees each shared their experiences of school and continuously stressed the importance of gaining experience outside of your studies to make you stand out. "It’s not all about grades," one employee said, "you also have to show you have an incredible work ethic, or that you can build a good rapport with clients – in industries like banking, those skills can be even more valuable than straight-A*s."

Our group then toured the BNY Mellon offices and were given the opportunity to ask further questions. One member of BNY Mellon said that when she first starting working here, she was scared of heights. "I had to get over that fear quickly!" she said.

At lunchtime we stopped off at Tinseltown to debrief on our experience at Canary Wharf, and to indulge in burgers and milkshakes. Whilst waiting for our food, the students drew up elaborate diagrams to show the huge number of careers involved in different businesses such as a plumbing service or a nursery.

Our next port-of-call was the Urban Outfitters Headquarters, a complete contrast to the corporate environment we’d been introduced to that morning. URBN was keen to give our students an in-depth look into the array of jobs available in the retail industry. We watched a video of interviews with a graphic designer, a fashion buyer and store designer. We also discussed photography, HR, modelling, marketing and finance, among many others. Again, gaining extra-curricular experience was emphasised in their CV workshop, in which they highlighted the importance of offering more to an employer than good grades alone.

Ms Fowler would like to thank the group of students for their excellent behaviour all day and for making the most of the day by asking thoughtful questions. We hope this day of engaging with employers in both a corporate and creative environment will have prepared students for their work experience and given them some insight into the wide range of careers available within every business.

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