Case Studies

Connie Birch

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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.

Results

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

University

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.

Benedict Weissheimer

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Benedict is from Germany and came to Gresham’s for Sixth Form where he opted to study the IB Diploma.  He became a prefect in the Sixth Form and worked with a number of charities as part of his CAS studies, namely The Holt Youth Project and at the Ormiston Venture Academy, Great Yarmouth as part of his Creative Action and Service activities which formed part of the IB Diploma Programme.

Why I chose the IB Diploma

The IB Diploma is an international qualification and I am very interested in working overseas.  I enjoy learning about other cultures and countries and for me the IB Diploma provided a great foundation which would allow me to go on and apply to universities both here and abroad and seek employment in international organisations.  The IB curriculum combines a broad set of subject requirements with the opportunity to study subjects which I am very interested in. Reflecting on my undergraduate experience I realise that the IB Diploma was a great preparation for university, as it teaches the skills and discipline required to succeed in higher education.

Results

Achieved 43 points which was the highest mark achieved by a Gresham’s pupil in 2013.

Studying at Gresham’s

When I came to Gresham’s I received a lot of support from my tutors and teachers.  The skills I learned at the School created the foundations for me to help me decide what I wanted to do.  It was a great environment which gave me direction to help me make the right decisions on what I wanted to do next.

As part of my degree I have had two exchange semesters, one at Cornell University in the US and the second at the National University of Singapore. During my studies I have specialised in finance and statistics.

University

I secured a place at the University of Warwick studying International Management. The University of Warwick is one of the world’s elite business schools which prides itself on attracting the very best students through its excellent teaching and the provision of real world experts and world-class researchers.

Gap Year plans

From September 2013, I travelled to Argentina with Projects Abroad to Cordoba to work as a teaching assistant in a local school for three months.  I then worked on the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador as a project volunteer which deals with the conservation of the environment. Following my visit to South America I completed an internship at an IT start-up in Sydney, Australia. This gap year combined a cultural experience with my first working experience, thus preparing me perfectly for my future studies at Warwick.

Future plans

I am about to enter my final year at the University of Warwick. During my time there, I have studied on three continents and worked in the controlling department of BMW in Munich. Following my bachelor degree I would like to pursue a master’s degree either at Oxford or in London. I hope to start my career in the consulting industry, either as deals’ advisor or strategic consultant. I hope this will expose me to a variety of international industries and businesses. This exposure will help me to work in a variety of environments and should be the perfect place to start my working career. I believe that the IB has helped me to succeed at university and has taught me important skills that will help me in my future career.

Charlie Jefford

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I have enjoyed many opportunities and experiences whilst at Gresham’s with a wide variety of co-curricular activities from music, drama and sport as well as developing additional responsibilities.  I was a Prefect at Sixth Form, Head of Farfield boarding house, Head Chorister, Captain of the 2nd XI Rugby Team and Captain of 2nd XI Cricket Team.

In music, I achieved grade 8 in trumpet and piano and received a distinction in my grade 8 singing as well as a distinction in grade 7 organ.  As a result I have had lots of opportunities to play and perform for the School at various events and secured roles in a number of drama productions. For example playing Captain Tempest in Return of the Forbidden Planet and performing as part of the orchestra in the production of The Sting.

There were opportunities to volunteer through CAS and take on leadership roles and I was privileged to be able to work with disadvantaged pupils supporting them in the classroom at Great Ormiston Academy which was a humbling experience.

Why I chose the IB

The reason I chose the IB was because I did not know what I wanted to do when I left school.  The curriculum provided me with a wide variety of subjects to study which would offer me more choices once I finally decided which direction I wanted to go.

I really like the IB because of the breath of subjects and the way the different subjects interlink pushing the IB learner to think “outside the box” rather than just learning to pass exams.

Results

Achieved 37 points in 2013 and studied Higher Level French, Spanish and History.

Studying at Gresham’s

Whilst studying at Gresham’s I was provided with an academic tutor who provided support with homework, course work, university choices and my UCAS application.

In terms of getting experience to support the Action and Creativity aspects of the IB Diploma the School was very good at creating opportunities.  For example, I was able to take on more of a leadership role in the Jazz band I played in through support and guidance of one of my music teachers, Chris Cooper.

University

I have received confirmed offers from Warwick and Exeter universities but I deferred entry until 2014 when I plan to take a gap year.  As the IB Diploma is an international qualification, I am also considering American universities as a possible third option. The reason I am drawn to American universities is due to their broad courses and breath of subjects on offer.

Gap Year plans

I plan to break my gap year up into terms.  The first term I will work at Beeston Prep School in Norfolk providing teaching support in music, languages and as a hockey coach. The second term I plan to work in a vineyard in Argentina where I hope to develop my Spanish and learn more about their culture and my final term will be spent in either Latin America or I will return to France to practise my French.

Veronica Caraman

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I came to Gresham’s from the Republic of Moldova in 2010, after having been incredibly lucky to be selected to receive a scholarship and be awarded the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference by Gresham’s that year.  Therefore, I did not choose the school, Gresham’s chose me and I am thankful that it did.

My time at Gresham’s provided me with a number of experiences that has helped to shape the person I am today. I came in touch with people who supported and cared for me in so many different ways, such as my housemistress and matron; people who encouraged me, such as Mr Kinder, the former Head of History, and the assistance I received with my UCAS application.

Being an overseas pupil, I was a full-time border, which meant I had the time and opportunity to settle in and make new friends in my boarding house, Britten House. The House Music Competitions were unique opportunities to meet new friends and become part of a big family who worked and sang together in order to win the coveted cup.

I owe so much to Gresham’s School and its staff members. The choice of university was influenced by the Head of Sixth Form at the time and my subject choice of Economics was due to the Head of Economics who nurtured a special love for the subject in me.

Why I choose the IB Diploma?

I chose the IB Diploma because it provided a broad choice of subjects which included Languages, Maths and Social Science, so it seemed a perfect fit for me. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the IB Diploma would develop a number of skills which would later prepare me for life at University. The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and its assignments prepared me for critical thinking and I believe that overall, the IB Diploma gave me an advantage in today’s difficult labour market and helped me to think on different levels and analyse problems from different perspectives. The course wasn’t easy and, with homework deadlines to meet it was sometimes difficult to juggle but, it was all worth it.

Subjects taken

I took French, Economics, Chemistry at Higher Level, and English, Maths and Spanish at Standard Level.

University

I studied for my B.Sc. Economics at the New College of the Humanities in London where I also was awarded the NCH Diploma for Liberal Arts, for which I took a minor in Politics, courses in Applied Ethics, Science Literacy, Logic and Critical Thinking, and Professional Programme.  I could not have been happier with my choice of university, as it was so much more than I ever expected: more challenging, more enriching and more satisfying than I thought Higher Education could ever be.

Future plans

In 2014, I was involved in an internship, doing economic research for six months for a Dutch economic research and consultancy.  In June 2015, I moved to Germany for a six-month internship at Deutsche Bank, in their Investment Strategy team. I am now doing my second internship at Deutsche Bank, this time around in a different area of banking, namely Investment Products. Despite being a tough industry I have always had aspirations to work in banking.  In addition to my internship, I also currently hold a part-time role as HR Manager at EconoTalent, a Dutch staffing company for economists and econometricians.

Studying for the IB Diploma at Gresham’s and Economics at NCH helped me to wear different hats and juggle different roles at the same time.  It taught me to deal with challenges both inside and outside the classroom, to work hard and just go for it, however impossible it may seem at times.