Jack Hayes graduated from Sussex with a degree in Chemistry, he is now working in the USA for a financial services company. Jack spoke to us about his time at Sussex and how his degree put him on the path to his chosen career.
How chemistry helped Jack's career in financial services
Jack Hayes works in Boston in the USA as a fixed income and derivatives specialist for financial services company FactSet. He said his Chemistry degree helped him with the analytical aspects of his job.
What made you choose chemistry at Sussex?
"Chemistry appealed to me since a teacher at high school made the subject fascinating for me, and being able to break observable phenomena down into subatomic happenings really made the subject more interesting. Sussex appealed to me partly due to it's location (Brighton being an incredible city), partly due to its Chemistry department earning high praise from national rankings, and partly due to the scholarship they offered for academic achievement at A-level."
What was your standout memory of your time on the course?
"My standout memory was the research project conducted in my Masters year. This was a mini-PhD project, and had you working in research labs on a practical project for the whole year. This gave a great experience of working in a research lab, and many of the skills I learnt have been useful even in my career outside of chemistry. You are responsible for overseeing the whole project from start to finish, and is largely autonomous, before writing the whole project up in a dissertation and presenting to the department.
What were you proudest of?
"Definitely my research paper, published on research conducted in the Crossley Research Lab at Sussex between my second and third years. The project was an attempt to synthesise Platinum-centred Boratrane complexes, and was a fantastic experience working on true academic research so early on. We were not only able to synthesise the novel compounds we were seeking, but also uncovered a new reaction pathway by which two co-ordinate precursors would form three co-ordinate products."
What experiments/modules were your favourite?
"My favourites were always the courses that taught core principals and trends, which then allowed you to extrapolate that knowledge out to project and predict a variety of interactions. A course called co-ordination chemistry, which allowed you to use sub-atomic symmetry to predict allowed energetic states, and, consequently, probable reaction pathways, was a personal favourite.
What are you doing now?
"Currently I'm working in Boston, USA, as a fixed income and derivatives specialist for a financial services company, FactSet.
How did your degree at Sussex help you in your career?
"The analytical skills taught throughout the course helped me to look at the world of financial derivatives in a similar light, and the method of studying the very core, fundamental characteristics of a compound - or financial instrument - and extrapolating this knowledge, helped me to pick up the basics quickly. This then also helped me to understand the complexities too, as you start from a very good, true understanding of the most fundamental components of the market (or instrument). A final year masters course which worked on job interview preparedness, and associated specific writing skills, helped in very obvious ways.