New award to celebrate resilience and performance by Economics undergraduates

  • Date

    Mon 23 May 22

photo of Ian Sinclair Begg giving a presentation

Thanks to the generosity of an Essex graduate, the Department of Economics will be giving four awards to undergraduates with the most improved academic performance.

The award will be known as the Ian Sinclair Begg Economics Award to mark his generous donation.

Ian gained his BA Economics in the 1970s at Essex. He worked as a stockbroker and fund manager for 10 years at JP Morgan Chase and HSBC in the City of London, before moving to Vienna, where he worked as an institutional fund manager for the OPEC Fund for International Development for 26 years up to 2014. He is now an investment consultant and a lecturer, a keen golfer and a badminton international. He visits Essex regularly.

Ian explained the background to his decision to offer the award: "It has always been my strong belief that we should make every effort to inspire as many people as possible, hopefully by our own demonstration, that there is much to be gained 'giving back to the community that which the community has given to us'. 

"I hope that this Award will first and foremost contribute to inspiring students to dedicate themselves to 'exceed the expectations' of all staff and students in the Department of Economics throughout their studies at Essex, whilst being rewarded for that academic achievement. The Award will also contribute to 'responsible financial management' and allow students to focus on their studies.

"My hope is that my professional background in Finance through the United Nations Organisations will inspire the future Graduates of Essex to follow a career path which may encourage a strong element of 'Responsible Giving',  in every sense, for future sustainability. Meanwhile, and finally, the award is also intended to inspire other alumni to contribute to the University by giving back."

Professor Marco Francesconi, who set the award up with Ian, said: “The Department of Economics is delighted and honoured to have received this generous support from our alum Ian Sinclair Begg to promote resilience, determination and high-quality performance among our students. The award is a clear testament of Ian’s indefatigable attachment to Essex and Economics. We cherish this endorsement wholeheartedly and hope it will serve new generations of undergraduates and enable them to succeed in their studies and in life.”

The awards will take place for the first time this summer and will recognise most improved academic performance on a course owned by the Department of Economics, including any joint courses, by:

  • Comparing year marks between Year 1 and Year 2. The student with the most improved performance will be awarded £650. The ‘runner up’ will be awarded £350.
  • Comparing year marks between Year 2 and Year 3. The student with the most improved performance will be awarded £650. The ‘runner up’ will be awarded £350.