Belfast Telegraph

My inspiration: Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank

My mother says "why?" and "how?" were my most used words as a child, so I think questioning things and trying to understand why and how they happen is just in my nature.

Indeed, from a young age I can remember questioning the economics of Santa Claus. Whilst I concluded that it just didn't add up, for years my parents managed to persuade me otherwise.

My interest in the economy grew through a fascination with news and current affairs. Many landmark events in the 1980s were economic in nature, including the recession, the miners' strikes and the privatisation of large parts of society.

At school I was most interested in sport, but if A-level economics or politics had been available at my school I would have chosen them. They weren't and geography was the only academic subject that I really enjoyed.

Indeed, the "economic development" component of GCSE and A-level geography sparked a real interest.

My university decision was guided by my interest in sport - I was determined to go to Loughborough, and the subject choice came second.

My mum suggested that I would enjoy economics so I applied for economics and human geography and I quickly grew to like the subject.

I then studied for an MSc in European economics and finance at Loughborough.

European economics was a hot topic in the mid-1990s and I thought this, alongside branching out into banking and finance, would be a good career move.

My tutor was an expert in banking/financial crises and we studied the Scandinavian banking crisis of the 1990s in detail. This also sparked an interest, and my dissertation focussed on the parallels with banking crises in eastern Europe.

Following 10 years in various economist positions within the DFP, DETI and Invest NI I had become restless.

In late 2006 Ulster Bank advertised for an economist post and I jumped at the opportunity. Whilst joining Ulster Bank represented a huge culture shock, and steep learning curve, I have effectively become an economist reborn.

They say economics is the "dismal science", but the last four years has been the most challenging and fascinating time of my life.

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