Iain Drayton, alumnus

Iain Drayton

It’s BHM this month – which aspect of Black history, be it a person, event or movement, would you like people to learn about this year?

My big point with diversity generally, and black history specifically is the lack of (public) familiarity with high achievers, and by extension the lack of role models. The more role models can be show-cased, the less “novel” or exceptional people of a diverse background will appear, and the more stereotypes can be refuted.

Who are your BME role models and why?

Miles Davis — not for what he accomplished as a black man, but for his genius. Sketches of Spain is the single best piece of music I have ever heard, period, full stop. And I think I have probably listened to it at least once a week since I first heard it in 1993.

And on the human rights front it would probably be Martin Luther King (I read Strength to Love during my time at Trinity Hall, and it made a big impression on me).

What would racial equality look like to you?

Racial Equity to me would mean no more conversations about race as an issue to be addressed, so much as diversity as something to be celebrated.

What have you gone on to do since graduation?

I graduated in 1995 and have worked in Investment Banking ever since, for the last 25 years: 3 years in London, 12 years in Tokyo, and now 10 years in Hong Kong. I have been working at Goldman Sachs for the last 14 years, and am currently co-head of the Investment Banking Division in Asia ex Japan.

What’s your abiding memory of Trinity Hall?

Small, intimate, understated, yet cool. Matt McNeany and Tit Hall Ents! Full disclosure: Matt was in the year above me at grammar school, and subsequently the year above me at Tit Hall.

Why did you choose to study your subject?

I did a gap year in Beijing, and during that time my room mate introduced me to Japanese literature. The first novel I read was Silence by Shusaku Endo; and I haven’t looked back since…

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be such a perfectionist — seek opportunities to go outside your comfort zone — don’t be afraid to make mistakes — in failure lies opportunity. That’s the best chance you have to grow.