Mark Devine tells us about life after becoming the 2014 Mathematics, Economics and Finance Undergraduate of the Year!

If I were to rewind to an afternoon in November 2013, I was sitting in the lounge of my student house when I received an email from Queen’s University careers department. It notified me of the 2014 TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards and, rather than spend another hour sitting through episodes of Pointless and Deal or No Deal, I thought I’d apply. Being from Ireland, a country whose people are not altogether well known for their wildly confident and self-assured personalities, I did so purely on a speculative basis. If I were being totally honest with myself, I didn’t think I was in the running to win, but it was a fantastic experience to meet some of the best and brightest graduates in the UK nonetheless!

After going through a gruelling assessment process, I was lucky enough to be successful in winning the award in my category and I am currently a week away from moving to London for the summer to work for Gazprom Marketing and Trading. I’ve worked for Morgan Stanley before in Glasgow so I have some idea of what to expect but, having never stepped foot in London before the assessment centre for the award, I am pretty nervous about moving there to live for the summer. Here’s hoping I don’t end up getting lost or trampled on during my commute...

We caught up with Mark during his internship to find out how he was getting on...

Given the fact that less than three months ago I was living in the library, studying for finals, it is hard to believe that I’m currently writing this blog from a plush hotel room in Singapore! I am about 14,006 kilometres (8,702.92 miles) away from my hometown of sunny Belfast (as per Google’s estimations!) and I have spent the last week working out of the Gazprom Marketing and Trading office in Singapore. A man whose complexion is not altogether cut out for the blistering 36 degree heat, I have sought the refuge of the underground train service each of the days I have spent commuting to the office. The first day I spent here, I tried to walk the total distance, an unfathomable stretch of about 700 metres, but arrived in the office disorientated, dehydrated and absolutely burned to a crisp. If my Gran were here, she’d be telling me God gave me legs for a reason, but at the risk of raising my core body temperature to around 1000°C I think I’ll be sticking to public transport until the end of the week.

Ailments aside, my experience here has been fantastic. I’ve never been to Asia before and was worried about the language barrier but frankly people here speak better English than I do – so not such a problem as of yet! I’ve spent a few nights out and about at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and tried to cram in as much of the local cuisine as possible. It’s pretty amazing how cheap it is to eat well here so it’s been fantastic for someone (greedy) like me.

This week I’ll be coming to the end of my internship with GM&T and do so with a heavy heart! Throughout the assessment process I met some absolutely fantastic friends, some of whom rolled onto the summer intern programme at Gazprom Marketing and Trading. I hadn’t had any exposure to commodities before taking up my post within GM&T so it has been a fairly steep learning curve but I’ve had an amazing experience. I would strongly recommend to any students who have an interest in meeting fantastic people and challenging themselves to apply for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards. I really didn’t think I would go as far as I did and am so thankful that I took the time to apply! I think I’ll be staying in London for the foreseeable future so now just to worry about heading out into the world of work...

Where are they now?

Commodities trader at Macquarie Group.