During the October Through the Looking Glass work experience, we visited Lloyds of London, Marsh and Willis, where I was first introduced to the world of insurance and instantly knew that this was the path I wanted to take. Having had a brief overview of insurance while we were there, encouraged me to look further into it as I was anxious to know more.

I registered with a charity, The brokerage Citylink, which aims to provide young people with opportunities to obtain employment in big city firms. An opportunity for an 8 week internship with Canopius, an insurance subsidiary of Lloyds of London, came up which I applied to. Only three students were shortlisted for an interview and having shown that I completed work experience on the programme on my CV was really helpful because it gave me the advantage that the other two interviewees didn’t have, as I was able to say that I had already visited Lloyds of London and already knew a bit about them. I was successful out of the three students and gained a place on the internship, which I really really enjoyed and hope to go back and work there one day. I am certain that part of my success with Canopius was because of my participation on the Through the Looking Glass programme, because if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have known anything about insurance or Lloyds of London and wouldn’t have researched further into it.

The programme gave me the confidence to take charge of my future and explore the different paths and opportunities out there. It also made me certain that I wanted to study Economics at university, which I will be doing from September 2013 at Queen Mary University.


Prior to the Through the Looking Glass programme, I had been considering applying to Russell Group universities, but I was always unsure of my abilities.

After taking part, I was inspired by Lesley to aim higher, and decided to apply to the University of Cambridge. The application and interview process was challenging, but my efforts were successful and I began my BA in History at Clare College, Cambridge in October 2014.

Whilst at Cambridge I involved myself in a range of extra-curricular activities, and was elected as the access officer for the university’s BME campaign in 2016. I organised events for sixth form students of colour to meet BME students at Cambridge, in order to encourage more students from underrepresented backgrounds to apply to Oxbridge. This commitment to widening access is one that was also inspired by Lesley and the whole Through the Looking Glass team.

Visiting a number of law firms during the Through the Looking Glass programme solidified my desire to work in commercial law. I am currently hoping to gain a Training Contract at an international law firm, and have been able to network with lawyers who support Through the Looking Glass.

The programme has influenced me to be tenacious and has provided me with support beyond the one week I completed in 2012, and this illustrates the unique impact of Through the Looking Glass.


Through the Looking Glass has enabled me to gain confidence and passion in a future career in law by meeting truly inspirational lawyers and barristers in many different firms as well as Lloyds Banking Group itself.

The unique experience has allowed me to gather the initiative to carry on with my passion, so therefore, since the week, I have found a mentor studying Law at Kings University who can give me information on the degree. Through the programme, I was also able to keep contact with a Lloyds scholar also studying law which shows the numerous opportunities and networks the course has provided me.

But significantly, I have been inspired by meeting Lesley Wan who represented a successful female lawyer and taught us ‘if we want something, you go out there and get it’ and whom I first met showed such enthusiasm and genuinely cared about our progression throughout. This has encouraged me furthermore to start my own online business alongside my sister, which has allowed me to become independent and create stability for my future.

Since working for Lloyds, I have involved myself more within the community and I have started a campaign in College, to encourage students to volunteer and fundraise at a local elderly residential home. I have taken part and volunteered at local events such as the annual ‘Cally Festival’, local bake sales, gardening team, film club and I volunteer weekly at the Local Scouts Association. I have also won an award by the Bangladeshi High Commission for ‘Outstanding Achievement’ which I am very proud of as I am representing my community in a positive manner which could not have been done with the foundation of the work experience, which I am truly grateful for.
The experience has truly motivated me towards my A-Levels and has encouraged me to work even harder at achieving my full potential, particularly during the last and fundamental year of College.


I was one of the original 12 students who participated in the inaugural Through the Looking Glass programme in London in 2012. This programme was pivotal in enabling me to discover my passion for finance. By the end of the week’s programme, I decided that the world of finance was the profession in which my future lay and where I wanted to build my career.

The programme provided me with a fantastic opportunity to meet many companies in a number of different fields; all experiences which have inspired me to pursue a career within the City. Prior to participating on the programme, I had aspirations of working in manual labour, specifically as a mechanic. This was due to my background of growing up in a family where manual labour was the go to profession – before me, no one in my family had gone onto higher education. I was therefore naïve to the fact that there are many other interesting opportunities within the City that exist and that if I worked really hard and dedicated myself to getting the best education possible, I too could have a great life and build a fulfilling career.

I am currently at university in my final year studying Accounting & Finance and hope to graduate with either a high 2.1 or a first. My participation on Through the Looking Glass Charity was instrumental in helping me to discover my passion for finance and to encourage me to go onto higher education. The programme helped me to understand how useful a degree in finance could be in any aspect of the City, as well as giving me the courage to believe in myself and apply for one of the most well-respected universities in the world – part of the renowned Russell Group. On top of this I have completed Bloomberg’s market concept course and have been awarded a certificate for my work. This is due to Lesley’s encouragement regarding extra-curricular activities outside of education. On top of this, I plan to do charity work abroad once I have graduated. I feel this experience will be life changing and will only increase my appreciation for life and how grateful I am for what I have. I hope to continue striving for greatness and one day inspire my siblings to also follow their dreams no matter what obstacles they may face in their journey.


Since I started the Through the Looking Glass programme, I have learnt that in order to succeed, not just in banking, I need to take the initiative and go out and get what I want.

Since the programme, I have thought more on where I want to go and how I am going to get there. Even though I haven’t made the decision on what I would like to be, I know that to get there I need to make the most of my time. After realising that, I started thinking about how to use my time better. I then invested my time in things that were worthwhile, like student mentoring. A big thing I want to do when I become successful is to give back and actually help others to succeed.

Through the Looking Glass made me think actually, there is no better time to start than the present – time is valuable. So, I started mentoring students from my old secondary school with a few friends on a weekly basis. I tend to just chat to them and advise them on what to do and what not to do. I also help them with any problems they have. I do this because I didn’t really have any of that when I was doing my GCSEs so I feel it may help them a great deal.
I also started to volunteer for my local borough council. Although I have only done a few days volunteering so far, I will be receiving other opportunities from the council. This really goes to show that if you put yourself out there, you will gain so many opportunities to help others.

One of my dreams is to study at a top US university. Since leaving Through the Looking Glass programme, I have taken matters into my own hands by trying to achieve my dream. I have since taken the SAT exam which is a requirement for all American universities. The US application process is so long and laborious that I questioned whether it was all worth it. But the ideas I learnt in Through the Looking Glass like being persistent and resilient really helped me push through and get everything done. I didn’t get a place at a top US university, but that doesn’t mean it was all a waste; it doesn’t mean I’m not proud of myself for having the guts to go through with it and actually have a go. I’m glad I put in the effort.

I didn’t only apply to American universities, I had my sights set on some UK universities also. Can’t have all my eggs in one basket. There was one particular university I visited, thought was pretty cool and decided to apply for. I was not selected as I didn’t have the right predicted grades. Not being selected did dishearten me but I chose to use it as motivation for my studies. I can happily say, as I am writing this now, with my grades in hand, I am extremely happy with them, extremely proud of myself and extremely grateful for the opportunity Through the Looking Glass gave me.

Now I have good grades in hand, I am calling up really good universities asking if I can attend and I can honestly say I can see how Lesley has rubbed off on me. She told us to go out there and get what we want and I’m doing it.
I wouldn’t have done any of these things if Through the Looking Glass hadn’t instilled the belief in me that I can achieve if I put my all in.


I was selected to take part in the Through the Looking Glass programme in 2013. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do in the future but following the amazing success stories I heard, the visits to an array of fantastic firms, and networking with such inspiring people, truly made my vision of the future a whole lot clearer. It inspired me to make decisions that would benefit where I see myself in the coming years and strengthened my drive for a career in finance.

I chose to study BSc Economics and was delighted to receive an offer from my first-choice university, Sussex. I studied and was thoroughly enjoying Economics in sixth form, and meeting the Chief Economist at Lloyds – Trevor Williams inspired me to focus on my passion for Economics at degree level whilst taking elective modules in finance at university. The programme also motivated me to find more opportunities, which included shadowing an Economist at the Greater London Authority.

My urge to start working in the city and the desire to feel like I was contributing to a firm’s growth, drove me to apply for a 12-month sandwich placement after completing my second year of my degree. I have only recently started but I’m working in a big finance team and am learning so much every day.

I believe the experience on the Through the Looking Glass programme has helped me secure my place in higher education and in the application for my placement. I look forward to returning to Brighton and finishing my degree and am currently considering accountancy qualifications. I want to travel, help save the planet and meet many more inspiring people to push myself further. TTLG programme helped me aspire to become someone bigger and I hope many more students can benefit from it as much as I did!


Five of my friends and I organised a multicultural event in June 2013. We had to organise the event from scratch, which meant finding a venue, finding people who would help out and raising funding for it. We had some help with the funding from the Envision Group who gave us the opportunity to win up to £500 by pitching our idea in front of judges. We won the full £500 with the catch that we had to raise another £100 ourselves. The extra £100 was raised through a cupcake sale at our school. The sale was so successful that our school asked us to host another cupcake sale for Red Nose Day.

When organising this event I was in charge of marketing so I had to make the posters and advertise on social network sites. This went well but I was more interested in managing the money side of the event. Two other people in the team were the finance directors, which meant they were in charge of the money. However, over time I became the finance director, since I was handling the bulk of the money more and more. I realised that I had a strong interest in finance during the ‘Through The Looking Glass’ week in October 2012 as I got to see a larger variety of jobs that are done in the finance industry.

During the summer of 2014, Lesley invited us back to do a two week internship at Lloyds Banking Group. There I was able to view the financial business aspects in more detail, as the internship allowed me to visit different departments where I asked questions about specific jobs.

Returning to school, four of my friends and I participated in a business initiative scheme that my school had recently started. Our business idea was to create a recipe book that represented the different ethnicities within our local community. The recipe book was titled ‘The Trust Menu’ after our Trust school. The book consists of seven chapters, six containing three course meals from a single country, and the last chapter contains a three course meal which fuses British food with ethnic food. We were able to sell the book to many organisations such as Catlin, Tesco, and Canary Wharf Group plc. We raised over £5000 which has been divided between our group, and saved for university expenses.


I have had many successes since starting the ‘Through the Looking Glass’ programme as well as having developed my skills and gained new ones.

Firstly, I have been exposed to a wider scope of opportunities in the real world than the usual science and arts my college so heavily focuses on. I have seen a lot more to banking than the name and this would not have been the case had I not entered the programme.

Secondly, by taking part in this programme, I have had endless opportunities to network. Following on from the week’s work experience I did in October 2012, I now have great contacts from several different law firms and banking departments in the City which is really significant given that making contacts at the present time is really a mission.

Another success of mine since completing the programme is that I have had the confidence to mentor students in year 11 and year 9 in my school, advising them to be adventurous with their GCSE/A-level choices and to explore finance, banking and law with a positive outlook. I have also been teaching them to really think about working in the City, as the lifestyle, although demanding, is very rewarding.

My A-level choices are Biology, Chemistry, English Literature and Applied Business Studies and pre-October; I was heads on to studying Medicine. After my week in October, I became very interested in the legal side of banking and wanted to explore this further. Now, I am considering law and I intend to retake the year, drop my sciences and take AQ-levels in English Literature, Applied Business, History and perhaps Psychology. I then hope to gain grades ranging from A-A* and attend Cambridge University to study English Literature and then convert to law. Had I not been on this programme, I would not have found my inner interest in law and thus had a lower quality of life further down the line.

I was really inspired by Hardwicke Chambers and I really enjoyed the mock trial. I wish to gain work experience there. I also admire the bankers working at 10 Gresham Street, with 4 massive screens in front of them all day.
I would just like to massively thank Lesley and Trevor for putting this programme together as it has been really beneficial for me. I have learnt a lot and I am eager to learn more. I also aim to work in the City later in my life as I love the lifestyle and I have met some really nice people. Without this programme, I would not have much direction for my future, which I have now. I also aim to be on the Lloyds Scholars Scheme or gain an internship within the legal side of banking.


Before the Through The Looking Glass programme I was interested in studying Biochemistry at university. However, after attending the one-week work experience in October which allowed us to visit various firms in the city, I became more interested in insurance and risk. This led me to look into BA International Relations and BA Politics, which introduced me to the university where I am now a student, SOAS, University of London.

I attended a three-day Politics summer school at SOAS, which was just enough time to let me fall in love with the institution. On the second day, we were given a Burmese taster class by Dr. Watkins, which he ended with a few details about linguistics – as a languages lover, this really interested me. As soon as I returned home, I did my research on Linguistics and emailed Dr. Watkins.
I am now at SOAS studying BA Arabic and Linguistics, a course I don’t think I would currently be studying if it was not for Through The Looking Glass, which triggered the described chain of events.

Alongside my studies, I am an ambassador for Routes into Languages, a government-funded project to inspire students across the country to learn languages in schools, colleges, and universities. I am also Team v Leader, a programme powered by vInspired which recruits 18-25 year old volunteers to act on three campaigns over nine months. The third and final campaign will come to an end in May 2015 and I will be starting my Social Impact Summer Internship in June after I attend a week-long residential to kick off my year as a member of Campaign Bootcamp.