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Connecting with Old Boy in Hong Kong

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Old Boy Nat Roohan (Class of 2017) spoke with boys in Year 8 about his degree apprenticeship with JP Morgan. After leaving Bolton School he decided not to follow the traditional path of university and instead joined the JP Morgan Apprenticeship programme in London to obtain a degree in Finance from the University of Exeter, in addition to a number of professional qualifications. He travelled to Hong Kong with the company in early 2022 to work as a Securities Finance Trader for six months.

Nat explained to the boys why he chose a degree apprenticeship and the benefits of taking this route. For example, he enjoyed not being on a student budget all the time as he had a salary from the start, the company paid for his degree, and he was able to gain valuable work experience while studying. However, he also said that it was a difficult decision to move into a corporate environment at the age of 18, and doing so meant that he didn’t get the ‘university lifestyle’.

The preparation for applying to a degree apprenticeship is similar to applying to university: Nat said that it’s important to work hard and get good results. However, he also recommended lots of extra-curricular activities and reminded the audience that it’s important to show employers that they are well-rounded individuals.

During his time at Bolton School, Nat took part in the Cowgills Future Stars programme to gain additional knowledge of finance, as well as taking advantage of other opportunities through school and that he set up himself. He recommended doing as much work experience as possible.

Though he took maths, further maths and economics at A Level, and this has helped in parts, these subjects are not required. He emphasised that a wide range of people move into banking, and encouraged the boys to study languages as this can be helpful when working internationally.

Though his audience were only in Year 8, Nat finished his talk by saying, ‘The more you can do to put yourself in a good position, that helps.’

The Zoom call was then opened up to questions from the audiences. Nat explained that he chose JP Morgan because he saw in the people working there what he wanted to become. He talked a little about the stigma attached to apprenticeships, the process for applying and how to find more information. When asked about skills that have helped him most in his career, he said it was not necessarily just one skill and added how school helped him in this: ‘You’re not going to Bolton School just to get good results, but it helps you become a well-rounded, interesting, nice young person.’

He talked about taking on the responsibilities of a job at 18, describing it as a ‘trade-off’, and the challenge of moving to London by himself at a young age. However, he was able to adapt in part thanks to the routine of school. In addition, he was able to talk about the benefits that working for JP Morgan offers, for example healthcare, pensions, clubs and societies and sports teams, but also the opportunity to work in another country, learn new languages, and take financial exams. He described it as ‘like school: it is what you make of it, and it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunities.’

Nat also spoke about his experience working in Hong Kong and his hopes to extend his six-month placement there.


Nats talk is available to watch in full here.

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