Sydenham High Economics students lead conference

Sydenham High Economics students lead conference

6 October 2022

Sydenham High School’s Year 13 economists, ably supported by Mrs Murphy, Head of Economics, worked hard to organise an Economics conference on banking and access to finance, where they came up with the focus, designed the marketing materials, organised the IT, and managed the Q&A with speakers from Starling Bank, Microloan and Deloitte. A number of other GDST schools attended the conference virtually.

The speakers who presented were:

Jason Maude (Chief Technology Advocate) Starling Bank

He discussed the changing face of banking with the rise of challenger online banks, and the key challenges facing the industry from both traditional banks and new entrants. Jason also gave an insight into why we needed change in the traditional banking sector and how challenger banks have helped to create this change. He also helped students understand the challenges for new smaller banks entering this market. Jason also provided his views on the likelihood of cashless society in the future and why perhaps we he thinks cash will not be phased out any time soon.

Maria Campanini (Fundraising and Communications Manager) Microloan Foundation

Maria is from a charity which supports female entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan African countries through microfinance schemes. She discussed how the model works, why they lend to women in groups and key challenges they face. Maria also gave us an insight into the darker side of microfinance schemes offered by some corporations. Students were inspired by the stories from the foundation, they were moved by the difference even a small amount to alleviating extreme poverty and breaking intergenerational poverty cycles.

Faiza Farooq, Director in Deloitte’s Prudential regulation team (Banking regulation)

Faiza has previously worked at the FCA as a banking supervisor and she spoke about some of the process and challenges of regulating banks as well as providing some careers insights into how to stand out when applying for firms like the Big 4. Faiza also discussed the importance of students’ promoting their diversity as a unique selling point.

The students were particularly interested in the work of the Microloan Foundation and the students are looking to put together a fundraising event later in the year.

Kyana, Year 12 said

“The speakers were really engaging and I particularly liked learning about micro loans and how they help people in developing countries”

Florence, Year 12 added

“The seminar from Starling Bank was fascinating and hearing the speaker’s views on a cashless society created a real talking point in the class”

Daphne, Year 13 said

“Being able to help organise the conference with Ms Murphy was brilliant. From researching the speakers, to building the programme and creating the marketing materials, I have learnt so much from this conference”

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