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Student wins through to final of essay competition

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Ruby impresses judges - and scoops £500

University of East London economics student Ruby Button is through to the final five in an essay competition organised by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

Ruby was encouraged to enter by senior lecturer Ejike Udeogu based on her strong academic performance.

Ruby said, “Ejike asked me to enter and I thought I shouldn’t turn down that opportunity. I get to go the finals, do the interviews, network and gain more experience.”

The second-year student spent a number of hours researching and writing a 500-word piece for the CISI’s Educational Trust awards on the selected subject – “To what extent do you agree that, in financial services, choosing to adopt a broader social purpose is only available to more profitable firms?’’

She said, “At first it was a question I was stuck on. I had never thought about the subject particularly as my degree is strong on the theory side. But as I researched it, I found it an interesting subject to explore. A lot of the big companies are taking up this approach to looking after their communities, ultimately to boost their profits.”

While tackling the question, Ruby's article also highlights the shifting priorities of companies which face a generational change. Millennials are more inclined to judge a company by its community contributions and values.

Ruby has received £500 for making the final, presented to her by senior economics lecturer Dr Shampa Roy-Mukherjee. Ruby said, “I thought ‘wow, they’ve actually given me money for this’.”

Ruby is now gearing up for a challenging final on March 6. She will face an interview by Educational Trust members and financial practitioners and will be marked via a general knowledge quiz, knowledge of CISI and current affairs, and business attire.

She said, “I was a little bit shocked when I found out I was in the final, and I am mildly nervous. I have sent the email confirming that I will be attending but I have no real idea what it’s going to be like. It is exciting in a lot of ways, in other ways, daunting.”

Economics wasn’t on Ruby’s radar at school. But then she was advised to pursue the subject at A level ahead of her initial choice, business studies. She “ended up really enjoying it, and it became the thing I wanted to do forever”.

As for her career plans, Ruby said, “I wouldn’t say anything fixed but I have an interest in behavioural economics and an interest in regulation and those are the sort of areas I would like to get into. I might stumble upon something else but that’s currently my thought process.”

The achievement marks the second time in two years that a University student has made the final stage, facing still competition from universities across the country, including UCL, York, Birmingham and Queen Mary.

About CISI

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment is a leading professional body for securities, investment, wealth and financial planning professionals. Formed in 1992 by London Stock Exchange practitioners, it has around 45,000 members in 111 countries and last year more than 40,000 CISI exams were sat in 81 countries, 15,000 taken outside the UK.

The Educational Trust, an education charity established and funded by the CISI, shares the charitable mission of the Institute but uses its funds solely to support educational initiatives in the public interest and for the common good.