A De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester alumnus has been named among 100 of the UK's most outstanding black students and recent graduates by Future Leaders magazine.
Ryan Clarke is "honoured" to be included in the annual publication, used as a role model guide to inspire and raise attainment in younger students across the country.
The "icing on the cake" was an invitation to 10 Downing Street for a Black History Month reception.
"It's fantastic," said the summer 2018 Economics graduate, who works as an analyst for PA Consulting. "It feels really good to see yourself in the magazine."
After being nominated for the 10th anniversary issue of the publication, which profiles university students and alumni of African and African Caribbean heritage, Ryan was shortlisted and invited for an interview.
Chosen as one of the 100, he attended a celebration in London, which included skill-building workshops and the chance to meet business leaders, such as head of retail distribution at HSBC Raghu Narula.
"Just to be in the room with the quality of people was great," said Ryan. "It's even more of an honour when you look at some of the previous Future Leaders."
These include Joshua Bright, who became Britain's youngest person to pass six GCSEs at the age of 10, and is now a private wealth manager at UBS and Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, the youngest girl to pass A-level computing aged 11 and co-founder of award-winning social enterprise Stemettes.
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The 100 Future Leaders were also invited to a Black History Month reception at Downing Street, hosted by Prime Minister Teresa May.
Inside Number 10, guests included DMU's Chancellor Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, Paralympic athlete and TV presenter Ade Adepitan MBE and supermodel Naomi Campbell.
"It was an amazing event to celebrate the contributions of black British people, but also acknowledge that there's still more work to be done to fix racial inequalities," said Ryan, who spoke with Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
"With the Future Leaders the youngest there, I was thinking we could be like these people."
Ryan Clarke with Ade Adepitan MBE
Ryan, from Bedfordshire, is in his second month with innovation and transformation consultancy PA Consulting, having landed the role while still a student.
"It was definitely a big relief to secure my graduate job while still in university, eight months before I graduated, and just focus on my studies," said the 21-year-old, who is helping with bid work in the company's main office in London.
"The most interesting part about my role is research - and the research skills I gained at DMU have paid off," said Ryan, who also credits his course with giving him an all-round view of economics and how it relates to the world.
Keen to give something back, he is volunteering with the company's Springboard programme, which offers work experience to sixth form students from underprivileged backgrounds.
Ryan also represents his company at careers events, including the recent #DMUworks Graduate Recruitment and Placements Fair.
"It was exciting to be back at DMU and quite funny being on the other side of the table telling people about what we do," added Ryan, who boosted his employability while at university with a spring internship at global investment bank Goldman Sachs and an immersion week at Google's Ireland HQ.
Posted on Monday 10th December 2018