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Natalie Jackson

BSc Economic and Social Policy

At age 18, Natalie Jackson had a clear plan to get herself a head start in her career in finance. After her A-levels she enrolled on a four-year degree in Economics and Social Policy taught in the evenings at Birkbeck, University of London. She also began working at Nationwide, where she learned about different financial products available. She then spent a year working as an accounts assistant, which gave her a good understanding of how companies’ finance teams work, and then between her third and fourth years of study she secured a summer internship at the, then known as, Financial Services Authority. The internship went well, and because her classes at Birkbeck were all taught in the evenings, she was able to extend it for another year while she finished her degree. When she graduated in 2012, her professional experience and prestigious University of London degree won her a place on the competitive graduate scheme at the Financial Services Authority (now the Prudential Regulation Authority).

Natalie says: 'If I’d been studying during the day then I wouldn’t have been able to do the internship during my final year of study and having both a well-respected degree and the work experience as well meant that I stood out during the recruitment process for the graduate scheme.

'While I was studying, a lot of the things that we were learning about at Birkbeck were really useful in my job. It helped me to understand how my role fitted into the broader picture and the context that I was working within. I definitely don’t think I could have done my job the way I do without studying at Birkbeck.

'Additionally, I was studying alongside professionals who were already working in the City, had their own companies or worked for Government and I found that really useful as I got to network with these older people who had a lot more experience than me. It was actually one of my colleagues who advised me that with the skills I had I would make a good actuary and when I was going to interviews they would advise me. To have experienced people who can point you in the right direction is very helpful.

'My employer is now funding me to do a Master’s course, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t have a good quality undergraduate qualification already.

'I’ve already recommended Birkbeck to friends and colleagues. One of my colleagues who was an administrator at the, then known as, Financial Services Authority started a course after seeing my positive experiences of studying there and he’s already seen an impact in terms of promotions and career advancement. I’m definitely a Birkbeck ambassador.'

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'I definitely don’t think I could have done my job the way I do without studying at Birkbeck.'