Suneet Kumar

Charity Investments Adviser, Barclays

The fact that Suneet Kumar is now vice-President in Wealth and Investment Management at Barclays, is something for which he holds his student days at Lancaster University very much responsible.

"It was the right place for me,", he says. "It provided just the right environment for me to transform as an individual, to become more independent and to learn life skills."

Now, Suneet - who describes himself as a charity investments advisor - is based at Barclay's headquarters in Canary Wharf, and works with non profitmaking organisations ranging from charities and universities to church dioceses, to help them to make the most of their resources and investments, in a climate of shrinking government grants and diminishing public donations.

His days are spent maintaining relations with clients and ensuring they are informed of changes in the markets, which means keeping constantly up to date himself too. He also needs to have his eye on cultivating potential new business in the future.

The uncertain 18 year old, who arrived at Lancaster University to study law in 1995 from South Manchester, had no concept of what a fulfilling future for him might look like, although he was excited about becoming more independent. He came from a close-knit family and had never been away from home, the university was not his first choice and even his degree choice of law, was simply something he thought he knew about.

He was aware that clearing had produced a university option with a good reputation and he was drawn to the idea of a campus-based institution, but his first few days were miserable, as he questioned himself about whether he had done the right thing.

"I was quite surprised about how quickly I settled in," he recalls. "That was partly the experience of campus life, which quickly allowed me to build up close-knit friendships, some of which I have maintained to this day."

He found the three-subject first year was an ideal model for him. Alongside his major in law, he also took history and accounting and finance, but felt after 12 months that law was for him. He describes the law course he went through as 'really stimulating' and relished the balance between looking at straight contract law alongside related subjects like jurisprudence and constitutional law.

Alongside his studies he also took part in college sports - playing for the cricket, pool and darts teams - and participated in the university debating society. He also made the most of the university's location to explore the Lake District and the nearby Dales for walks and picnics - with a particular affection for the old town of Kirkby Lonsdale.

On graduation, in 1998, he was unsure about his career path but embarked on the one-year legal practice course at Chester College, to become a solicitor, but soon realised it was not for him. He joined Rathbones in Liverpool as a trainee investment manager in 1999 at the height of the technology boom, has taken his professional exams and has stayed in the field ever since.

Suneet has been in his present job at Barclays since 2010. He also spent four years with HSBC Global Asset Management.

He feels that Lancaster University has played a formative part of his life so he has given financial support, which he has requested be put into the institution's studies into food security, where he feels it is ahead of the game, and which needs to be higher up the political and economic agenda.