Connie Birch

My time at Gresham’s probably culminated in accepting the role of Head of School, but the earlier years were very important too – I boarded in Edinburgh House and enjoyed time in the Navy section of the CCF. I played for school teams in hockey, netball and tennis and completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition a month before my final IB Diploma exams.

Taking GCSE Drama and making several appearances on-stage at the Auden Theatre no doubt inspired my theatre today. I loved the school for its family spirit – House Competitions, from the infamous House Music to the less well attended but equally raucous House Debating, are memories I will cherish forever.

Why I chose the IB Diploma
The IB Diploma was perfect for me as, even at a young age, I felt no particular calling to one or two subjects above the others. When I arrived at Gresham’s in Year 9, I knew that I wanted to study the Baccalaureate but, as the school did not then offer the curriculum, I intended to move schools for Sixth Form. Happily, Gresham’s decided to take it up. The IB Diploma was hard work, but completing the Diploma took organisation skills and not supreme intelligence. I liked that you could design your own experiments, develop your own coursework questions and pursue your own presentation styles.

In retrospect, it set me up fantastically well for my degree as it fostered university-level critical thinking and encouraged me to make the most of the opportunities in London – I worked a day a week for the Theatre and Performance Department at the V&A throughout my degree. The international focus of the IB Diploma certainly differentiated me for a place at UCL (N.B. their slogan ‘London’s global university’) and probably helped with my application to work for a multinational corporation.

45 points
Higher Level: Economics, English, History
Standard Level: Latin, Mathematics, Physics

University College London, BA History

Plans for the future
I started work as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs after I graduated in Spring 2014 and was promoted to Associate under a fast-track scheme at the end of 2016. My time at Gresham’s studying the IB Diploma continues to influence me – I travel frequently and recently accepted a posting to Warsaw to help to grow the company’s presence in Central Europe. Longer term, I hope to be able to take the business skills that I learn at Goldman Sachs toward the creative or educational business sectors.