In 2002 I contacted BSB for a loan to go on the Cisco Networking Academy Program which on completing the final examination gave me an industry recognised qualification in internet technologies called Cisco Certified Network Professional. I studied over the course of four terms at ‘Richmond – The American University in London.’ Shortly after I secured a role with TotalFinaElf as a network engineer and was able to pay back the loan very quickly. The reason the BSB loan is different is that there is no pressure to repay the loan to a tight deadline and also you’re able to negotiate the level of monthly payments you can afford.

Last year after separating from my ex-wife I found myself in a difficult position and needed to approach the BSB again for a small short term loan. Once the divorce was finalised I was able to start repayments and paid off the loan. The other great benefit of this loan was that even after receiving the funds from the BSB I didn’t have to start making the payments until three months later.

In the months leading up to the start of my university career there were many apprehensions and concerns dogging me but knowing I had the BSB’s financial support eased my trepidation. Thanks to them I was able to devote more time not just to my degree in Drama and Theatre Arts – Arts Journalism BA Hons, but also spend time doing student theatre, becoming involved in politics and getting experience as an unpaid writer for the Edinburgh based Arts & Culture based site

With the BSB’s generous fiscal assistance I was able to achieve a 1st and through the skills and opportunities writing for TVBomb has given me, (because extracurricular activities are just as important as the degree) my business partner and I are now attempting to set up our own Arts & Culture site. I thank the BSB for their truly benevolent actions owards me and I praise their continued existence for the many people who flourish from their contributions.

I graduated from the University of St. Andrews with a First Class MA (Hons) in Social Anthropology in 2009. I then decided that in order to pursue the career I was interested in I needed to specialise by doing a postgraduate degree.

I applied to do a MSc in Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford, and was delighted when they offered me a place on the course. The BSB were kind enough to offer me a grant and an interest free loan to help me cover the costs of the course. I am eternally grateful for the BSB’s financial assistance and without your help I couldn’t have done the MSc.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and did extremely well as I was awarded a Distinction at the end. As a direct result of having this additional qualification in a specialised area I have been able to pursue a career working in museums, particularly with ethnographic collections. Since finishing the course in September 2011 I have worked as a researcher for The Penrose Collection (a small private collection based in Sussex) and as a cataloguer at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford on a project titled ‘Small Blessings: Animating the Pitt Rivers’ Amulet Collections’.

For more information about this project and the work I did see

Thank you BSB!

I left CH in 2007 and went on to do a 2 year degree course at the School of Audio Engineering in London. It is a privately funded institution with a wide range of industry standard equipment and fantastic tutors, but is also very expensive. It was a huge financial struggle to afford, and I would not have been able to do it without the generosity of my family and my extended family of Blues that is the BSB, who granted me an interest free loan and a grant. I achieved a First from my studies and made the most of being in the capital by taking all extracurricular work and internships I could get my hands on.

After completion of the course I worked for a music technology company called RjDj, who specialise in next generation music consumption on mobile platforms such as the iPhone. It really is cutting edge stuff! Now I am in the process of starting my own company – Reactify Music. It is based on creating reactive music for the RjDj platform as well as interactive sound installations in collaboration with top artists, and two months in we’re showing good progress and potential.

I am extremely grateful that a collective such as the BSB exists, and their help has been instrumental to my success during my education and professional career. I have repaid most of my loan now, but sincerely hope that I will soon be in a financial situation where I can contribute more to this fantastic institution. Thank you BSB!

I think my University experience was much the same as the majority of people – great fun, meeting lots of good friends, learning (a bit), and racking up loads of debts! This does leave you with a bit of a dilemma – while you want to make sure that you pursue the career that is right for you, which can take time to discover, you also want to start to pay back the money you owe. Even more importantly, you want to rent a flat and have money in your pocket.

The financial assistance I received from BSB was invaluable for all of those reasons. It gave me that crucial breathing space to take each step at a time and make sure I found the right company, and the right job. In my case it allowed me to jump ship from my first job (subscription sales) and make a move into online advertising, and still being able to pay my rent in the interim. Subsequently I set up an sales agency with my colleagues from that job, which we have recently sold to France Telecom.

Thank you to everyone at BSB for all of the work you put in that allowed me, and lots of others, the chance to consider their options and find careers that are right for them.

I was preparing to go to France for my year abroad as part of my university studies at Canterbury, where I was reading anthropology with French. The French university that was to play host to me needed me to pay for my accommodation, and a deposit, up front, before they could reserve me my meagre garrett!

I was already struggling with my finances in the UK (I had just paid my tuition fees and rent on my Canterbury room), without having to pay bills in advance in France.

A fellow Old Blue mentioned the BSB and mooted the possibility of asking them for a loan. After my initial request to the BSB, I was amazed at how quickly the process worked; in no time I was able to secure my accommodation in France.

The great thing about the BSB is that it is not a bank, but a friend you can rely on in times of need. After my year abroad, I was able to complete my final year and post- graduate teacher training year, without the worry of expensive repayments hanging over me. The BSB was understanding and supportive throughout, and as soon as I started working, I was proud and happy to be able to repay the loan, at a rate which I could afford, without interest.

I hope in the future to be able to return the favour. Without the BSB’s help, I might not have made it to France, and might never have been able to pursue my chosen profession: as a French teacher!

Heading off to university is a time often met with both excitement and apprehension, but when you decide to head to another country to study, the dial gets turned up especially with regards to financing your studies. Heading off to boarding school certainly forges a certain resolve, so it wasn’t too unusual to consider heading to the United States to study, after leaving CH in 2005. With a year of transferable university courses under my belt, and having worked to pay a good portion of my way, I headed off to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina in 2008 to study economics.

Through working two part time jobs, including one as a student fundraiser, and an ‘overload’ schedule, I was able to complete my studies by 2010, thanks in a big part to the interest free loan I received from the BSB, which I’m pleased to have now repaid. The support of the BSB gave me the breathing room financially to take a step back and see where I could add to my resume and set myself up for a career. With the time gained I was able to take on an additional internship in the economics department and also run our rugby club, two experiences that have paid dividends through experiences I’ve drawn on in my early career.

Now living in Washington, DC, I’ve drawn upon my early experience in fundraising and head up the fundraising team of a national non-profit that ironically focuses on the American Founding! I’m extremely grateful to the BSB for enabling me to take advantage of the various opportunities that would otherwise have not been available to me, and in time I look forward, as my means allow, to doing the same for future leavers.

I am hugely grateful to the BSB for their support, without which I would not have been able to study at the Royal College of Music. Here is a brief update of my progress: I was awarded the Joseph Horovitz Prize for Composition for Screen at the end of my first year. I graduated in 2011 with a Degree of Master of Music RCM, in Advanced Composition, with Distinction. One of the highlights of the course for me was attending the Soundtrack Cologne film music conference in November 2010, during which I was awarded the European Talent Award for ‘Best Film Score’ for one of my compositions. The prize that came with this award was a recording session with the WDR Radio Orchestra, which took place at their studios in Cologne in August 2011. It has allowed me to build working relationships with many German composers, which I hope will continue to grow.

I have always had an interest in working in journalism or publishing. During my time at CH I worked on The Blue editorial team and my tutor encouraged me and helped me arrange work experience on one of the national newspapers, which gave me a taste of what a career in journalism would be like. After leaving CH I went straight to the University of Bristol to complete a BA. During my time at university I kept up my writing and wrote for the features section of the university newspaper, Epigram. I worked in and out of term time to support myself financially, but by my final year at Bristol I was struggling to both achieve the standards of academic work I wanted and still work the hours needed to support myself. At that point I approached the BSB for financial help and they generously gave me a grant and interest free loan towards supporting myself in my final year.

This meant I could scale back on my term-time job, dedicate more time to my university work and concentrate on achieving a good final grade for my degree. Their help also meant I could afford to participate in an Insight into Media course held by the Arts department at Bristol just prior to my finals, which gave me further information about the career options open to me.

It was only when the BSB’s offer to help arrived that I fully realised how much my financial situation had been worrying me, and the lifting of that pressure at a time when I needed to concentrate on my studies and future career was something I will always be grateful for. I graduated in 2006 with a high 2:1, a result I was thrilled with.

After graduation and some travel I undertook work experience, internships and freelance work with a number of publishing houses, before finally being offered a job with the media company I remain with today. I am now the Asia Pacific Editor for my my company’s flagship magazine, The Superyacht Report, and recently relocated to New Zealand for work. I love my job and am so glad I work in the publishing industry. When I first started working, being able to pay back my loan in small monthly installments was a real help as the repayments were affordable, and I could manage my finances without being overwhelmed. I paid off my loan from the BSB this year, and am now a member of the BSB myself. Thank you so much to the BSB for giving me help in a time when I didn’t have any other options for financial support.

I left CH in 2003 and continued directly on to university and completed a BSc Geology in 2006. I wanted to continue with education and took a Masters in Engineering Geology. I saved as much money as I could and was helped a little by my mother, but half way through the course it was evident that I would be struggling to continue.

An Old Blue reminded me of the BSB, so I contacted them, explained my predicament and put in a loan application. Within two weeks I was granted a £1000 interest free loan. Not only did this allow me to meet my commitments for the remainder of the course, but it prevented me worrying about them and enabled me to focus on the exams and final project to obtain my Masters. I achieved a top grade and was immediately offered a position with a huge engineering firm. The BSB suggested that I settle in to the work environment for a few months prior to paying back the loan and they informed me that the repayments could be as fast or slow as I needed.

The BSB were very supportive of my needs and gave me the means to achieve my goal at the start of my career. I would recommend anyone in a similar situation to get in contact with the BSB as they are there to genuinely help Old Blues.

I am currently working alongside world leading geologists and geomorphologists mapping landslides in Turkey; something which I thoroughly enjoy and did not expect to be part of at such an early stage in my career.