The ‘Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’ was the venue for the second meeting of our Alumni Business Professional Network on Thursday 11 May. Over 60 alumni gathered at the Bank of England to enjoy an evening of speeches, presentations and networking opportunities with Bank staff and staff and alumni of the university.
Dr John Mc Loughlin, Director of Development, Alumni, and External Affairs at the University of Hull opened the event with a warm welcome to all alumni and thanked staff and volunteers for making the event possible before introducing the host for the evening, Alex Dunn (Politics, 2012). Alex began by recalling his experience as a Politics student at the University of Hull and linked his career route into the Parliamentary Affairs Group at the Bank of England to his experience at Hull and the opportunity that he enjoyed as an exchange student at the City University of Hong Kong. Alex then provided a warm introduction to our main speaker for the evening, Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England.
To put the Bank of England into perspective; it is the Treasury’s nexus for monetary stability and asset purchase; it employs 3600 people and holds around 5,134 tonnes of gold in its vault with an approximate market value of £161 billion pounds. With the presence of the University of Hull in such an esteemed venue, it was perhaps appropriate that our keynote speaker should be Yorkshireman, Andy Haldane, Chief Economist and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee. Andy enlightened the network on the historical and ongoing relationship between Hull, its university and the central bank. When the Bank of England opened a branch in Hull in 1829, it met with considerable opposition from the Mayor of Hull and local businessman who feared the effect of competition on local banks, despite this, the branch remained open until 1939. Andy also referenced various recent visits from senior Bank staff to the city and the university and underlined the bank’s commitment to ensure that it harnesses the most talented students from around the country.
Alex handed on to fellow alumnus Tim Pike who spent his early career working as an economist in the Treasury before joining the Bank of England in 2001. Tim initially worked on the Inflation Report and coordinated the bank’s Agency network before himself becoming Deputy Agent for the South East and East Anglia. Tim spoke in vivid terms about the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and posed the question ‘should economists be more concerned about artificial intelligence?’ He concluded that, although previous technological development has general augmented labour rather than destroyed jobs, artificial intelligence (or the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ as he describes it) poses a genuine unemployment risk to millions of people, particularly in low-skilled sectors.
Concluding the speaker line-up, Norman Day, Director of Careers, Entrepreneurship and Study Abroad at the University of Hull, outlined the various successes and challenges of careers work at the university before reaching out to alumni with an opportunity for them to get involved in professional mentoring work with students, particularly through the highly successful Career Bridge e-Mentoring Programme to which alumni have been key contributors. Norman concluded by thanking all attendees and inviting guests to reconvene at the Counting House pub for further networking.
Based on attendance and feedback, the event provided an enjoyable and stimulating networking opportunity for our Business Professional Network. It is our hope that, through our alumni, we can maintain an ongoing relationship with the Bank of England that will benefit not just the alumni network but also enrich career opportunities for students of the university and create further opportunities for exchange between our respective institutions.