Graham Smith – BSc (Hons) Environmental Science graduate
BSc (Hons) Environmental Science fieldwork - Crossing the River Dart

“Plymouth seemed like a great place to live as a student as it had great beaches, great surfing, and great golf courses. My best memories of the course were the field trips and the practical elements of the course: I very much enjoyed the trips to Dartmoor.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Before entering university I took a year out and went to live in Italy where I worked as a mountain guide in the Tuscan mountains. Soon after graduating I went to London and got a temping job in the mailroom of Smith Barney. At first I thought it was a security firm as I had no idea what ‘securities’ were!

I stayed at Smith Barney for most of my career (it became Citigroup). I started on the trading desk after the post room, trading mainly European stocks. I became Head of European Trading after several years and was promoted to Managing Director. I left Citi in 2009 and became Global Head of Trading and Sales Trading at Unicredit. I went on to run the European side of a small Global Hedge fund and have set up my own business, Instructus Markets: we are geared towards helping students gain employment in the financial services industry. I also now run sales trading and trading at the UK Investment Bank ‘Liberum’.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

In all honesty I entered a career that had nothing to do with my degree, although it certainly helped me get to get my foot in the door. Having any degree was important, and since then it has also provided an amusement to my peers in finance.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

Probably not a lot, except undertaking work based experiences whilst at university. I was lucky in that studying anything was more important than having a specific degree; employers were looking for the aptitude to study rather than the course.

Nowadays there are many more opportunities for people pursuing a career within the environmental sector. With the fantastic local topography, Plymouth offers the opportunity to gains some amazing practical experience.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The course offered a great opportunity to experience the practical side of environmental science as it offered great field trips and incorporated a lot of marine biology.

I was also lucky enough to still study at the time of ‘grants,’ so along with parental help and summer jobs I had enough money. With regards to social life I couldn’t have asked for a better university: I met my wife and some of my closest friends there.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Plymouth seemed like a great place to live as a student as it had great beaches, great surfing, and great golf courses. My best memories of the course were the field trips and the practical elements of the course: I very much enjoyed the trips to Dartmoor and the beaches.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University, and why?

Absolutely. I met my wife and, other than my children being born, had the best time of my life. The University offered the opportunity to do all the things I wanted from a degree. It also happens to be an amazing location.