Sophie Szyszko started playing volleball competitively when she was 13. “I played for fun before then because my dad played it,” says the Durham University final year physics student. By 15 Sophie was in the England Cadet squad, which is the under 17 squad, and then between 15 and 18 she represented England at junior level.
“When I was 17 I went to the youth Olympic qualifiers and got absolutely annihilated, but it was still a great experience.”
This gives a glimpse into the positive mindset of the aspiring banker. Since then she has collected 13 indoor caps and two beach caps for England. Sophie came to Durham University on a sports scholarship, and received her first senior England cap in May last year. We asked her a few questions about her process and how she has coped with a demanding degree and playing elite sport.
How has the Uni experience been for you?
Uni has been very intense. My course is in the top 5 at the university, I believe. Durham University is very different to other universities in that they appreciate sport, so they give us time to participate, but it’s still quite challenging.
Do you think you will be able to transfer the skills you’ve learned at University to banking?
I see a lot of transferable skills from physics and sport into finance. For example, the competitiveness and collaboration – you get that from sport – and I’ve developed analytical and numerical skills from physics. And I just love finding solutions to problems. So, the soft skills should be in place.