TO BRITISH-born Marc Sharpe there was a dynamism and a drive about United States businesses that he had never experienced in this country. It spurred him to save to study for an MBA at Harvard Business School.
While researching courses at US universities a friend pointed Sharpe in the direction of the Fulbright Commission and suggested he try for a scholarship.
"My MBA was going to cost me up to $100,000 for two years and I was keen to get as much finance as I could," he said.
Sharpe was the perfect Fulbright candidate. Having enjoyed a state education at Mill Hill County High, he had studied management studies at Oxford followed by a masters in industrial relations at Cambridge. To make himself a more rounded individual he had travelled around Asia for a year and was working for US investment bank Wasserstein Perella in London when he applied for the Fulbright award.
"I submitted an essay to Fulbright which was reviewed by the panel and I was told there was the opportunity of having a corporate sponsor who would put up the cash without asking anything of me."
Citibank decided it would sponsor Sharpe, but he is nevertheless still heavily in debt.
He described his first year as hectic. All his classes are case-based discussion of different business strategies. Students are given a company's strategy the night before class and have to lead the class through it the following day. Sharpe had to study up to four cases a night.
This summer he was offered an internship at Goldman Sachs where he has been working in the fixed income and sales trading division.
"It is an incredible opportunity for me to spend two years consolidating my working experience like this. I'm thrilled I won the scholarship . It has allowed me to take stock and decide which direction my career is going to take next."