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Fordham business students get a behind-the-scenes look at Labs

June 11, 2018

Fordham business students get a behind-the-scenes look at Labs

Students, like most people, have a lot of preconceptions about the lives of financial industry workers. Blue and grey suits. Hierarchical business structures. Fiercely competitive yachting and fox hunting...

So, for the students of the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business – based in New York – it was an eye-opening experience visiting 33 Holborn to experience the diversity and openness of Octopus Labs.

“People are always surprised by the different working style at Labs,” said Sam Handfield-Jones, Labs Director, who spoke to the students and gave a tour. “We’re much more open and casual in terms of how we communicate. Everyone hopefully feels like a peer. Debating and challenging those more senior or less senior than you is openly encouraged — something you don’t see much of in big banks and consultancies.”

Sam engaged the students in a discussion about Brexit, technology, and the Octopus Academy – a programme designed to develop UK digital talent in the wake of Brexit. Sam also spoke at length about automation and how it’s transforming industry by removing manual tasks and giving workers more freedom to think strategically and creatively.

The trip was organised by Zosia Rutkowska, from IES Abroad London. Zosia said of the trip “[The students] requested several visits to fintech companies in London, and Octopus was on their short list… We thought it would be a long shot, but we were very pleasantly surprised to receive a positive response and such a warm welcome on the day of the visit.”

“The Fordham students were engaged and really wanted to learn more about Octopus. They loved the office environment and some even asked how they can get a job working for Sam.”

Sam, however, might take issue with that request. Though he would be more than happy to see Fordham graduates working at Labs, he insists that no one works for him. One of the keys to success at Labs has been creating an environment where colleagues, no matter what their role, work with one another, not for.