James Daw (Class of 2001)

Tell us what you do for a living?

I work at JP Morgan within their Securities Services arm. That is the part that provides outsourced services to asset managers (the firms that invest pension fund in shares etc.) amongst other similar client types. I am in product development which sits in the middle of technology, operations (the people that operate the technology), sales and product management (the people that run the business) to Design, create and implement  new solutions for clients. Involves creative thinking, problem solving, a commercial mindset (what will clients pay for) as well as an attitude to ensure things get done.

Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing after you left school?

I left RLS knowing I’d join the British Army post university. I wasn’t sure how long I’d do that for but a decade was long enough with tours of Afghanistan etc. so I made a change and really enjoy it.

What’s been your inspiration? What’s pulled you forwards and into your current role?

Personally I felt that living in a small town like Buckingham I didn’t know that investment banks, corporate law firms and big business was an option for me. Meeting my wife shortly before I left the Army opened my eyes to the opportunities that are out there. Ask everyone what they do and try to expand that bubble as widely as possible.

What would you say is your biggest achievement to date, the thing you’re most proud of? Professionally or personally.
Commissioning from Sandhurst after an arduous year of training. It was hard work but very rewarding.
Was there a particular teacher, or a moment at school that particularly inspired you?

Mr Green who taught history. He made me a reasoned thinker – to look at something from one perspective, then the other and realise the correct answer is in the middle. As Take That said, ‘There are three versions of every story – yours, mine and the truth.’

How important do you think your school days were in shaping who you are today?
Hugely. I did actually go to a different 6th form (I went to an Army school at that stage as I had decided to follow that path) which made me more confident and self reliant. RLS was great at teaching me to problem solve as the learning wasn’t by rote but about reasoned argument.
What’s your work:life balance like? How important is that to you?

Work life balance is hugely important to me but I only realise that now in my mid-30s. I’ve started turning things down that could earn me more money but would consume too much time or be too stressful. It took a wrong decision for me to realise that. You have to learn what you really want – very few people can have an interesting job, that fits in a 9-5 that also pays well. You’ve got to work out which is the one that you are willing to have less of.

What advice would you give to today’s students who may be struggling to choose which path to take beyond school?
Do a maths or science based subject if going to university without an idea of what to do next. Very few jobs say no because of those subjects but many will reject arts subjects. However you don’t have to go to uni. Many big firms do post A-level entry now and they can be a great way to get into consulting, accounting or similar.
Finally, do you have a favourite quote, expression or mantra which inspires you to keep going?

I like the expression, ‘Don’t be an idiot’ (which I may have re-worded to be clean). What goes around comes around so try to be nice and honest. It will pay off eventually.


Application to Sixth Form 2023

Save the Date

The Sixth Form Open Evening will be held on 17th November 2022.

Important announcement

We are open today, Tuesday 13th December. If the situation changes with the weather we will update the website and social media accordingly.