Making complicated concepts easy to grasp
We chatted to Irish Sailing Team athlete Aoife Hopkins about her exciting upcoming internship with Citi and how sailing has helped her reach this point.
Within this multinational bank and financial services corporation, Aoife will be learning the ins and outs of sales and trading in her role as a summer analyst. Although studying financial maths in University College Dublin gave her a good starting point for the application process, it was in fact Aoife’s experience as a student athlete that caught the eye of the recruitment agency ‘Add-victor’.
The highly competitive application process began last October with a maths test, of which only roughly 10% of applicants got through to the next round. However, the intense nature of the test and the following five interviews was, according to Aoife, beneficial as it mirrored the competitive environment to be expected in the workplace. After just coming out of a high-intensity Olympic campaign in the Laser Radial, Aoife felt that the challenge of the application process and the competitive, performance-based nature of the job was a good rollover into the career world. Not only that, but the fact that her experience as an athlete had made her well accustomed to competing and putting in long, hard working days to reach a certain level of performance, put her ahead of other applicants in the eyes of the recruiters.
The performance-based nature of both her sailing career and the internship were not the only parallels that could be drawn between the two. In fact, one of Aoife’s main talking points in her interviews was the crossovers between the analytical skills required in competitive sailing and the trading aspect of the internship. For example, she pointed out key similarities between the analysis required in the decision to separate from the rest of the boats in a race or stay with the pack, and the management of risk and reward and leverage as a trading analyst. Her ability to explain these parallels to a room with little sailing experience was noted as particularly impressive by the panel.
According to Aoife, this talent identified by the interviewers of being able to ‘make complicated concepts easy to grasp’ also stems from her sailing experience. From presentation, communication, and teamwork to managing professional relationships, her sailing career has given her soft skills that are extremely useful in all aspects of life, including a sales environment like Citi. In particular, she believes that her confidence and well-spoken nature was pivotal in convincing the employers that she was the right person to join the team as a summer analyst.
As Aoife nears the start date of her internship, she is confident that she will be able to balance it with her professional sailing career. Despite her busy training schedule, she has always been a big advocate of pursuing education alongside sailing in order to balance the extreme highs and lows of her career as a professional athlete. Therefore, although it may entail early starts to late evenings, Aoife is excited to pursue this opportunity with Citi and use her skills as a performance sailor to progress in her new internship position.
James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing Performance Director added “We are delighted Aoife has the opportunity to take on this internship. We’ve always said our programme produces quality people due to the skills they develop, so it’s great to see the corporate world recognise this.”