Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Arnold Foundation News > Bartek Zakrzewski (W 07-09) reflects on his time at Rugby School

Bartek Zakrzewski (W 07-09) reflects on his time at Rugby School

'My family moved from Poland to the UK when I was 13. I attended a school in Holland Park, West London, which had links with IntoUniversity. They thought I would benefit from boarding at Rugby School and I was one of the first students they supported in an application for an Arnold Foundation bursary. Both my parents had been boarders at school in Poland so neither they nor I was concerned about that aspect of going to Rugby.

‘I was slightly anxious about the application process because when I came to England I only had a few words of English and had to prepare to take GCSEs in two years. I did not think I was very bright academically, but I worked hard, had two part-time jobs when I was 14 and, looking back, I was mature for my age and had a positive outlook, helped by having a stable family background.

‘The fact that I was a bursary boy was of no matter to the other students in Whitelaw. People think that independent schools are quintessentially snobbish, but my own experience was of being welcomed. I could play the guitar and sing, I learned to play rugby and basketball; these were of much more interest than my background. I enjoyed all the co-curricular opportunities on offer and liked the attitude that it wasn’t success that mattered, it was giving something a try.

‘Somewhat misguidedly, I thought I wanted to be a solicitor. But it was the practical application of what I learned, especially maths, that was of most interest to me. The School helped me find suitable work placements – and so did ORs and OR parents. These gave me a better understanding of that and led to my career in financial technology.  

‘What Rugby taught me was that to get on in life, no matter how clever you are, you have to know how to work in a team, recognise the importance of the so-called soft skills. I look for evidence of that when I interview job applicants (we had a former Whitelaw student working as an intern last summer), and it’s what I tell any Rugby student who approaches me for advice about a career in finance.’

Bartek Zakrzewski (W 07-09) is the managing partner of a foreign exchange company in London. He stays in touch with the School and donates regularly to the Arnold Foundation.  

Similar stories

Most read

Have your say



Rugbeian Community Office

✉ Email us

+44 (0) 1788 556 139

© Rugby School 2022

Charity Registration Number 528752

This website is powered by