‘Progressing in my role as an investment banker is very important’

Tolu Okeleye studied BSc Finance and Investment, graduating in 2022. She is now working as an investment banker analyst.

What was your dream job as a child, and what is your dream job now?

I like to be challenged. When I was 15, I was speaking to a family member who worked in banking about the career options available that would place me outside my comfort zone.

She explained the different career options briefly but then I did further research of my own. After reading a lot about different banking sectors I could go into, eg. Investment Banking, Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Asset Management and many more, it was Investment Banking that drew me in. Mainly because it’s a client facing role and a constantly evolving role, where no two days will feel like the same.

About your time at Kent Business School – what were the best things about your course? And what did you get the most out of?

Pretty much everything. I enjoyed how challenging it was, the thinking that goes into the calculations, even the theories behind the calculations. I enjoyed it all. Risk Management was the best module ever. It was challenging but the lecturer, Vasileios Pappas, explained it very well. I enjoyed the coursework very much too. I think this degree gave me the final nudge to go into Investment Banking.

Did you learn anything unexpected about yourself whilst studying?

Surprisingly, I enjoyed Business Law. I prefer calculations more than writing essays – but with Business Law it was very unexpected. I think it was more about the contents of the module, they were very interesting and the lecturer, Sue Tarrant, made the module interactive.

What have you been up to since graduating?

I have started a graduate role as an Investment Banker Analyst, which involves a lot of thorough research. I enjoy seeing the results of my research; it’s very rewarding. The tasks I have to do vary a lot and it is a very fast-paced environment. The most challenging aspect of the role is the tight deadlines that have to be met.

How do you apply the knowledge and skills you gained during your studies in your job?

As I said, my role involves a lot of research, so the research skills I gained at university are really helping me on a daily basis, as is the ability to meet deadlines – another skill gained at university.

What are your future plans / aspirations?

Progressing in my role as an investment banker is very important to me. I haven’t really thought too far into the future yet – I am trying to focus more on the experience and knowledge I can build in this field. I do see myself doing further study to support my career, if the need arises.

What advice would you give to current students doing your course?

Ask a lot of questions, your lecturers are there to help. Also, when it comes to applying for graduate jobs etc, start very early and don’t be disheartened by rejections. Rejections are just redirections.

Tolu studied BSc Finance and Investment at Kent Business School. Find out more about the course, here.

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