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News 2 > OL Spotlights > Liam Halligan (OL 1987).

Liam Halligan (OL 1987).

Full Name
Liam James Halligan

What year did you leave John Lyon (Class of)?
1987

What did you do after leaving John Lyon?
After I left John Lyon, I did Economics at the University of Warwick, following by an MPhil - also in Economics - at Oxford University

Can you describe what you have done in your career so far?
After Oxford, I spent some time at the International Monetary Fund and then joined the faculty at The London School of Economics. At this stage, I thought I would be an academic. But during my time at the LSE, I conducted a lot of research in post-Communist Russia, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I ended up living in Moscow - and began writing for The Economist and The Economist Intelligence Unit among others. When I returned to the UK, I joined The Financial Times as a Political Correspondent, and covered the early years of the Blair government. I then joined Channel Four News as Economics Correspondent - where I stayed for almost a decade - and wrote and presenting documentaries for Channel 4 Dispatches. Throughout this period, I began writing my weekly "Economics Agenda" column in The Sunday Telegraph - which I continue to write to this day. After Channel 4 News, I spent six years working in the financial services industry - helping to launch and run an asset management company focussed on investments in emerging markets. I then returned to full-time journalism - and have since had a "portfolio" career, combining work in print and on radio and television - including CNN, LBC, BBC, Sky and GB News - with public speaking, book-writing, podcasting and ad hoc consultancy contracts.

How did your experience at John Lyon prepare you for/or shape your future?
I won a scholarship to John Lyon - and without that scholarship, I would not have been able to attend the school. No-one in my family had ever been to university - and my place at John Lyon transformed my life. JLS taught me not only the value of hard work and resilience, but also the joy and benefits of kindness and camaraderie. I took advantage (eventually) of the many and varied opportunities I was given at JLS - in terms of music, drama and sport, as well as academic work - and that helped lay the foundations of a busy and varied professional life.

What has been your proudest achievements so far?
The birth of my three children. Nothing compares to that. But when it comes to my "work" life, I would have to say my proudest moment was the first time I secured a genuinely significant "scoop" - a story that was so important it secured "the splash" - the most prominent slot - on the front page of The Financial Times. I was 27 years old and had been a full-time journalist for two months.

What was your fondest memory from being at John Lyon?
My fondest memory relates to a conversation I had with Deputy Head Phil Davies a few weeks into the first term of my Lower Sixth. My attitude towards school had deteriorated - and Mr Davies invited me to his office for a coffee. Instead of complaining about my behaviour, he told me how much he believed in me, and how proud he would be if I did more to fulfil my potential. From that day on, my approach to my school work was transformed - and, at the end of the Lower Sixth, I was appointed Head Boy.

Are you still involved with the School and if so, in what way and why is it important for you to be involved in this way?
I have been a JLS Governor since 2016 - and in 2022 I also became a Governor of Harrow School and the broader John Lyon Foundation.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a current pupil?
Life is a marathon - not a sprint. Don't try to do everything at once.

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