James Westbrook

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Financial Reporting Accountant, 3i Group

When I visited Lancaster it just felt right, and it may seem like a stupid reason, but this was my main reason for going. It felt like a place where I would be happy, where I could make friends, work hard(ish) and have fun. I wasn’t disappointed when I came.

I really enjoyed campus life. Moaning about a 15-minute walk to your lecture seems ridiculous when you graduate and have to commute for nearly an hour. I also thought the college system was a great way to socialise and make friends: for four years the majority of my best friends were a three-minute walk away.

I also found the tutors very approachable, which is really important throughout your studies. Although the town itself is small, there is always a student night on somewhere and something interesting to do. The Students Union, the colleges and the University itself organise loads of events throughout the year – such as 'Roses' or the Christmas Balls. 

As part of my degree in Entrepreneurship I had a placement year, which I spent working for Lancaster's Department of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation.

This was an extremely valuable experience. My confidence levels grew exponentially. I came into my final year prepared to work harder than I otherwise would have done, and perhaps most importantly, I realised that I would be able to make a valuable contribution to any business that I entered after completion of my degree. The placement year also helped me during my job applications, as I was able to give specific examples of certain competencies within a work environment.

I’m now working for Deloitte in their Entrepreneurial Business department and I’m studying for my ACA qualification. My degree has helped me directly with some of the modules for my ACA qualification. In some cases the material covered during my degree went into greater depth than the material that needed to be covered for my qualification. The ACA is hard, and having an in-depth knowledge of certain areas of the syllabus has really helped me already.

My degree also helped me a lot during the interview stage: although I accepted the job offer from Deloitte, other large employers, such as Accenture and Mars, found my degree intriguing. The Management School careers department really helped me during my search for a job. I don’t think I would have got so much support elsewhere.

Finally, the ‘soft skills’ I’ve developed during my time at university are very important. Lancaster helped me to develop team working skills, my own personal maturity and a positive work ethic. I really think these skills helped me getting my job and then working within my job.

I really enjoyed my time at LUMS, but perhaps more importantly, I came out highly employable and highly motivated.

Since writing this profile, James acquired his ACA qualification and joined 3i as a Financial Reporting Accountant.