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Kerr's people: Shira Cornwall; Jonathan Hakim; John Langton

Executive director and head of European bond credit research, UBS

Shira Cornwall

Take a classic educational background for a young English - sorry, Irish - woman. First go to St Paul's School for Girls in London, which tops every league table and leaves the best boys' schools looking as if they are caught in quicksand. Then move on to Clare College, Cambridge, developing your musical talents on the way. Take a high degree in English literature. The world is your oyster. Prominent positions in academe or music beckon. The Foreign Office will soon be knocking at your door. What do you do? You surprise them all and are accepted into the Salomon Brothers training programme in New York, made famous in Michael Lewis's book Liar's Poker.

Did Shira Cornwall disappoint her tutors? Certainly she hasn't disappointed herself. She withstood the vociferous banter and verbal hazing in the male-dominated Salomon training programme, which in fact proved to be perfect acclimatization for Solly's trading room in London. She didn't become a bond trader, but neither did Lewis, with whom she briefly worked. They were both salesmen - Cornwall's first assignment was on the uk gilts and Eurosterling desk. There she quickly learnt that if you have a story to tell you pick up the most profitable and largest tickets.

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