Beyond the desk

Sandip Dhillon has recently contributed to 'How the world really works: investment banking,' a children's guide to banking

How did the book come about?

The book is the first in a new series of children's books about the world of work. It was created in association with the Guy Fox History Project, an educational charity in London that encourages children to explore the world around them. My colleagues and I helped create the book in collaboration with pupils from Brook Community Primary School in Hackney, London.

So why a children's book about investment banking?

The idea is to give children a sense of their opportunities and to show them that work can be rewarding and have an impact. It's about helping children understand what the world can offer beyond school - and what they can offer the world.

How did you get involved in the project?

UBS does a great deal of work in the community, especially in the areas surrounding the office. When an email came through asking for volunteers, I put my hand up.

How do you go about explaining a complex topic like banking to children?

We set up an imaginary company with the kids, and then we took it through a private equity offering, then did an IPO and finally, a merger activity. All the while, we were explaining terms like "debt", "equity" and "capital" and the kids were illustrating the things they were learning.

The book was a collaborative effort between bankers and schoolchildren. How did that work?

It was brilliantly orchestrated by a co-ordinator from the Guy Fox History Project. We had a number of structured sessions at the school in which we spent time in the classroom, answering questions - it was very interactive. The children also visited us at UBS - we gave them a tour of the trading floor and devised a trading game to help them understand the allocation of capital.

Has working on the book contributed to your personal development?

It's not every day you deal with a class of 20 to 25 children between the ages of eight and ten! It was fascinating to get different perspectives on what we do - and on what the children wanted beyond school. We learned a lot from them that you just don't get from sitting behind a desk.

How has being involved in the project made you feel about UBS as an employer?

The project is just a small part of what UBS does in the community - and it's very much appreciated, both inside and outside UBS. Helping others is a massive part of feeling good about what you do. And hopefully, the children will give back to the community when it's their turn - it benefits everyone.

Finally, do you plan to collaborate on any more books?

I'd definitely get involved with this kind of project again, but I think I'll leave the drawing to the children. They were definitely better at that than me!

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