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Case Study: Simon

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Personal details
Degree:Economics & Finance Profile picture
School(s): School of Economics and Finance
Year of Graduation:Jun-1991
LinkedIn:
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: The Wall Street Journal
Job title: Broadcaster/columnist
Occupational Sector: Media / Television
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I spent over a decade working in various corporate and banking jobs. In 2004 I’d finally tired of the corporate life and decided to switch to journalism. I took a course in business news reporting at New York University and before the program was over I’d landed a job at TheStreet.com, a prominent financial news Website.

While I was at TheStreet.com I got hooked on video. By 2008 I was hosting recorded video shows at Dow Jones and then in September 2009 we launched our daily live Web show for The Wall Street Journal. Starting in 2008 I’ve also been regularly co-hosting a show on WABC radio in New York.

What does your job involve ?
Host of The News Hub, a daily Web-based TV show at The Wall Street Journal Digital Network – WSJ.com, MarketWatch, Barrons.com, Dow Jones Newswires.

Make media appearances on network TV and radio. Write a weekly column.

What are the best bits of your job ?
I really enjoy entertaining people. That’s vital in this job because in many ways financial news can be really boring. Making it fun is the art. It’s also the best bit of the job. To make fun TV you actually have to have fun.

Visitors to my office will note the vast quantities of children’s toys heaped on my desk – I use them to illustrate complex topics. It also means I get paid to play with toys. Recently I worked with colleagues to make a sock puppet to use on the show.

Why were you successful?
Tenacity. I decided I wanted to get good at TV work and then went ahead developing the skills. “The more you do the better you get.”

The decade I spent in corporate jobs also gives me the knowledge and confidence to ask the pertinent questions while hosting the show.

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
To conduct interviews properly I need a deep knowledge of business, finance and economics. During the financial crisis knowing the economic history I learned at St. Andrews was especially useful. In addition, the ability to quickly process vast quantities of information and then spit it out again in a pithy manner has really helped. That meant all those last minute scrambles to study for exams were exactly the right training.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Stay focused on what you want. The ups and downs of day-to-day work can be a distraction, but if you can keep an eye on the long-term goal then those things are less of a bother.