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John Walker's journey from a budding entrepreneur to securing a highly coveted apprenticeship at the Bank of America is a tale of passion, determination, and seizing opportunities. His academic path of Economics, Business and Core Mathematics, enriched by practical experience and a thirst for knowledge, serves as an inspiration to aspiring professionals in the finance industry.
Even before his time at Wyke, John had set his sights on a career in investment banking. The allure of financial markets became evident when he started trading stocks and crypto during the lockdown, coinciding with the "GameStop" phenomenon that made headlines worldwide. What began as a fascination soon turned into a profitable venture, demonstrating John's talent for trading, and solidifying his desire for a career in financial markets.
Growing up, John always had a keen interest in business. At the age of 13, he ventured into the world of online entrepreneurship, selling sold-out clothes for a profit. This early exposure to business laid the foundation for his future endeavours. It equipped him with invaluable skills, including communication, formal writing, email etiquette, branding, and a deep understanding of business operations. These skills, honed at a young age, would prove instrumental in John's journey towards becoming an investment banker.
Prior to joining Wyke, John meticulously researched the different pathways into investment banking, evaluating options such as universities, internships, and degree apprenticeships. He recognized the importance of work experience and successfully secured a spot in EY's Smart Futures program. During the rigorous application process, John showcased the key skills developed through his online business and demonstrated his commercial awareness gained from investing. Impressed by his capabilities, the interviewers appointed him as an Ambassador for EY Foundation.
As an EY Foundation Ambassador, John actively engaged in volunteering opportunities and participated in projects addressing social mobility and diversity challenges faced by young individuals. One note worthy project was the Diversity and Inclusion panel, where John had the opportunity to interact with 10 CEOs from billion-pound public companies, including well-known names like ITV, Autotrader, Centrica, Linklaters, Diageo, and EY. His involvement in such impactful initiatives elevated his CV to unprecedented heights, opening doors for future applications.
Undeterred by the conventional path of pursuing a university education, John realized that gaining practical experience while achieving a degree would give him a competitive edge. He embarked on a journey of relentless applications to renowned banks, targeting the bulge bracket investment banks. After navigating challenging stages, including video interviews and game-based assessments, John ultimately secured a higher apprenticeship at the Bank of America, becoming their first-ever Global Markets Apprentice.
On this apprenticeship, John will work alongside established investment bankers for four days a week, while dedicating one day to his Applied Finance degree at Exeter's Streatham Campus. Upon graduation, he will possess a degree in Applied Finance, coupled with Level 4 and Level 6 investment-related qualifications, enabling him to embark on a fully-qualified career as an investment banker.
John's unwavering determination, passion for finance, and relentless pursuit of opportunities have paved the way for his remarkable success. As he enters the Bank of America with enthusiasm and ambition, John serves as an inspiration to aspiring professionals, proving that with hard work, perseverance, and the right skill set, one can achieve their career goals.