Image: Twitter/Jack Jacobs

“The Instinctive Investors is not work, it’s my passion” – An interview with Jack Jacobs

The Boar sits down with undergraduate business phenom Jack Jacobs

The Instinctive Investors is an online platform for young people with an interest in finance to come together and relate their academic knowledge to the real world by analysing and discussing current events.

The website has a rich articles section— where anyone can sign up to contribute a piece— as well as a forum space for people to discuss anything from stocks and commodities to issues in behavioural finance and Brexit.

The website was launched in 2015  by Jack Jacobs, a third-year Accounting undergraduate at Durham, and his co-founder, Michael Acheampong, . I use the term “undergraduate” loosely, as Jack is also an Audit Associate at KPMG, having joined the firm on a School Leaver Scheme in 2014.

Image: Twitter/Jack Jacobs.  Michael and Jack at an Instinctive Investors workshop at UCL.

I had the chance to speak to Jack about how he has managed to start a career in Finance, found a successful online platform and volunteer in a prominent charity— he is a media volunteer at Beat— while studying for a degree.

Instinctively, pun intended, the most obvious question comes to mind — how does he manage all of his  commitments?

“Durham and KPMG, plus the chartered accountancy degree is pretty hard,” he says, “but being efficient with your time and making sure you’re not wasting any is important. I’ve had to make sacrifices for my personal life in terms of socialising.”

Instinctively, pun intended, the most obvious question comes to mind – how does he manage all of his commitments?

There is a reason Jack doesn’t make a big deal out of missing out on socialising— as part of the KPMG programme, he is only at Durham seven weeks a year— so he recognises he has a very different university experience.

We turn to the Instinctive Investors, and Jack sounds ambitious and devoted as he explains his vision for the website as a platform which empowers finance students around the world.

Image: Chiara Castrovillari, Benjamin Hillyard/Boar Finance (from left to right): Jack Jacobs, alongside Rav Singh Sandhu of The Market Mogul, and Charles Riley of CNNMoney, at The Boar's Finance Journalism Forum.

“At university,” he tells me, “you acquire a massive amount of knowledge but it’s the application that’s important.” He remarks that learning how to analyse a balance sheet in class is one thing, but actually doing it for a company quite another. The Instinctive Investors addresses this directly, by allowing students to apply what they learn before going into a profession.

“At university, you acquire a massive amount of knowledge but it’s the application that’s important.”

This leads us to a timely topic at this time of the year— applying for internships and graduate schemes.

Do what you love and what you’re passionate about,” he says, “and don’t feel that you need to follow others, apply to where you want to apply and aim high. The only limit is the one you set yourself, don’t not apply if you’re scared of rejection.”


Image: Benjamin Hillyard/The Boar Jack Jacobs with The Boar Finance team, and famous Boar Head, at the Finance Journalism Forum.

He ends on a heartening note. “For me the Instinctive Investors is not work, it’s my passion and it’s something I’d like to pursue in future. I’m on the KPMG scheme for work and at Durham to learn,” and with this he makes it clear that he knows exactly what he wants.

“The only limit is the one you set yourself.”

He hopes to broaden the Instinctive Investors to include other subjects and disciplines, as part of a mission which seeks to make it easier to transfer one’s academic knowledge into the real world.

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