Emma Woodward

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Financial Controller, Groupon

Lancaster is the only university which offers the BSc Accounting, Auditing & Finance. This degree really appealed to me as it incorporates 18 months of work experience and the possibility of a career with Ernst & Young at the end of the degree. I also felt that LUMS would be the best place to study Accounting and Finance because of its good rankings.

There were only 24 students on the programme and so this meant we were able to make really close friendships with like-minded people and to support each other throughout the degree.

The best part of my degree, however, was the three paid work placements I did in the London office of Ernst & Young. I was able to meets lots of people and learn invaluable life skills such as how to work in a team and work to deadlines and under pressure. The highlight of my placements was having the chance to work on international client accounts such as Universal Music and Saatchi & Saatchi, and being invited to the Brit awards in 2009.

During the placements I also completed some professional accountancy exams through ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) which now means that I am ahead of other graduates in terms of professional exams and being time-qualified.

As the degree meant that we were often away from the University working on our placements, it was difficult to commit to any clubs or societies for the whole year. However, I was heavily involved in the degree's buddy scheme whereby I gave advice and support to a number of students on the programme in the years below. I was also selected to be an EY Capella student representative for ICAS in 2009. Capella is the ICAS student society. This role again involved being on hand for any queries or advice for EY ICAS students. Finally, I played a lot of table tennis whilst at University and I joined the Thai-boxing society in my final year which was really fun.

As a result of my placements, Ernst & Young offered me a job in the entertainment and media audit department. This gave me the chance to finish the last three professional exams and to qualify as an accountant within two years. Ernst & Young are a really great company to work for.

After several years with EY I joined Groupon as Financial Controller for Northern Europe.