Our Talent - Daniel

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where you grew up, your family and so on.

I grew up in a village called Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire, just outside London. I am the youngest of three siblings, with an older brother and sister.

What stage of your studies are you at? How are you enjoying them?

I am going into my 3rd year, out of 4, of my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial. I have greatly enjoyed university life; however, the Imperial workload is high. Being part of Uni sport clubs is great fun, and great for socialising.

What do you hope to do next?

After I finish Uni, I hope to work within the finance  industry, hopefully either within an Investment Bank or Asset Management firm.

Studying at Imperial, can you tell us something you love about the city? And something you don’t like?

I love being in London as there is always something going on, and places to explore. It is something I take for granted sometimes. However, it is very intense, and difficult to find peace and quiet, unlike at home outside of the city.

What is your disability?

I have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Dysgraphia

How long have you known about your disability?

I was formally diagnosed with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dysgraphia in Year 12, and ADHD last year. It was suspected that I had learning difficulties prior to A Levels, however due to excelling academically my school refused to offer support. It was only until I moved to a Grammar School for sixth form, they offered me the support and assessments

Did you receive adjustments when you were in education? If so, did you feel they were effective and adequate?

I received 50% extra time in A Levels and at Uni, which greatly helps me. I also receive help from the Disability service at Imperial, with assistance on planning and strategies to cope with my disabilities.

What, if anything, do you find the most daunting part of the application process for jobs or internships?

I find the most daunting stage is writing cover letters. Due to my learning difficulties it takes me a great deal of time to complete them. I also find video interviews very difficult. I find the lack of someone to physically speak is much more intimidating. With normal interviews, I find it is easy to adapt what I say to depending on the interviewer’s body language and what I believe they would be interested in. However, this is not possible for video interviews.

Can you tell us about any internship you’ve done? Highs? Lows?

I’ve been lucky enough to complete two internships at Investment Banks: at NatWest Markets and J.P. Morgan, with the help of EmployAbility. I found that both firms where highly educated on how to meet the needs of employees with disabilities, and both made an active effort to ensure my required adjustments were being met. Both were great to further my understanding and get first-hand experience of the finance industry, as coming from a non-finance background it is difficult to gain an in-depth knowledge.

When a job application form asks if you require any reasonable adjustments, do you know what to say?

It was a question that, prior to being made aware of EmployAbility, I had no idea what to say. However, EmployAbility has given me guidance and helped choose the reasonable adjustments for me, so I now do.

How does your disability impact your day-to-day life?

I must spend more time planning and organising than most as, due to having ADHD, I need to make sure I work efficiently without distractions. I struggle to keep up with the pace in lectures, so I  spend more time after lectures re-reading the material to ensure I understand it.

Do you think society’s attitude to disability is changing?

Yes, I do. I think people are becoming not just much more aware of disabilities, but also more aware of the positive traits they can bring.

What are the greatest positives of your disability?

I find that it enables me to think more outside the box when solving problems, and I can visualise problems to help solve them, which is really useful for studying engineering. While my short-term memory is weak, once I have memorised something via repetition, I have very good long-term memory.