How Adversity Shaped Me: Ben Marshall Recalls his Journey from Rugby to Finance

Wed 16th Sep 2020

add-victor had the pleasure of sitting down with Ben and discussed the characteristics he’s taken most from sport, the difference between the Irish and English rugby spheres—especially in regards to their focus on education—and what he would say to an 18-year old Ben Marshall.

Sport is often a wild and inexplicable rollercoaster, consisting of furious heights, blind turns, and, naturally, painful lows. That was no different for Ben Marshall. As a former U20 Six Nation Champion and Pro 12s Championship winner with both Leinster and Connacht (14’ & 16’ respectively), Ben was at the peak of his  rugby career. Regularly featuring in first team action, he was experiencing one of sports furious heights. But, as can be the case, especially within a sport as unpredictable and intense as rugby, what followed was a blind turn and its subsequent low.


During a win against Ospreys in early 2016 Ben failed to return for the second half of the game; he went into a ruck and sustained a blow to the head. This moment, unclear at the time, would ultimately cut his career short. At 26 Ben, under the severe instructions of the doctor, hung up his boots.

Sport, as wild and inexplicable as it may be, can define a person. It can shape your characteristics and grant you skills applicable to every walk of life. That night at the Sportsground (Connacht’s home field) was a defining moment for Ben. It shaped who he is today: resilient, courageous, determined to reach the top again—albeit this time in finance.


Having graduated from Dublin City Business School with a MSc Finance last year he shortly landed an off-cycle internship in Debt Capital Markets. As that came to a close Ben contacted add-victor, sights firmly set on his vocational ascension. After an expansive interview with a leading global bank, Ben was offered a position within their sales & trading team; an opportunity he told us he’s looking very much forward to, “learning from some of the industry’s best and brightest is incredible exciting. I have always found the best way to learn is by doing and surrounding yourself with highly driven individuals.”

When did you start playing rugby?

I started at 9 – 10 years old in the local junior rugby club, Greystones RFC. I still love going down for a game or two when I’m back in Ireland and have a good group of friends playing there socially.

What would you say is your greatest achievement within the sport?

Two moments stand out immediately.

Playing for Ireland vs the Barbarians at Thomond Park and sharing the pitch with some incredible players on both the Irish side and on the side of the touring team.

The European semi-final vs Toulon in Marseille, unfortunately we didn’t come away with the victory however the sheer magnitude of the game will stand with me for a long time.


What is your favourite part of rugby?

It would have to be the changing room and the camaraderie with the rest of the team. It is a real privilege to spend your career, however long or short, surrounded by your friends.


What characteristic do you believe is the most influential to your success within sport and within finance? 

+ Resilience – a career, in sports or finance, is never a straight path. The skill to take a knock, pick yourself up, work to be better than before, and keeping your teams wellbeing as your paramount concern is critical for success.

Ambition – working every day to be better than the last. This permeates all aspects of life, from my time as a professional sports person, through my studies and into my next career.

+ Self-Assessment – the ability to be self-critical and honest. Every interaction / activity can be completed better or more efficiently it is just about finding those marginal gains.