Country of origin: United Kingdom
Tax Advisor, EY
I chose Lancaster University due to its fantastic reputation amongst students, academics and employers, and also because it offered a wide range of courses within my chosen degree subject.
Moreover it offered many exciting opportunities to study abroad, which was of particular interest to me. I also had the opportunity to study Accounting and Finance as an additional subject in my first year, and this also attracted me to the Management School. Furthermore, the careers advisers from the Management School came across as very helpful and knowledgeable.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking specific modules that interested me, such as ‘Industrial Economics’ and ‘Human Resource Economics’. The specialisation of modules on offer made my degree much more unique and exciting. My economics degree provided me with an excellent set of employability skills, such as time management, commercial awareness, team working and problem solving.
Within my first year at university I was a tour guide for LUMS, which required me to show groups of potential students and guests around the University’s facilities, providing them with useful information.
Also I went on exchange to Vancouver, Canada in my second year and worked for the Canada Revenue Agency as part of the local ‘Community Volunteer Income Tax Program’. This entailed providing tax assistance to senior citizens, low-income families, new Canadians and the physically and mentally challenged.
During my final year back at Lancaster, I was President of the Study Abroad Society, where I was the primary representative of the society to the Student Union, University and external bodies, co-ordinating and overseeing the activities of both the executive and the society as a whole. I was also a Student Ambassador for LUMS, which involved overseeing a range of events and activities, participating in the decision-making process, and making sure everything was run smoothly and effectively.
Experience in Canada
My Study Abroad year at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver required me to adapt to life in a new country with different customs and practices but also to take on board a much more prescriptive academic workload than I was used to in the UK. I had to establish my own existence in Canada regarding banking, health insurance, work documents, etc. I shared student accommodation and formed friendships with people from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. I also held a part-time job as a food and beverage assistant in the UBC Food Services Department. I gained a lot from this experience, becoming more independent and confident about working with new people, using my initiative to succeed academically and strengthen my team-working skills.
I was not involved in a company placement as part of my degree, but I did take the initiative to gain relevant work experience and undertook two work placements during the summer between my second and third years.
The first work placement was at my local council (Harrogate Borough Council), working within the Financial Management, Revenues and Benefits departments. Here I shadowed a range of employees, gaining a comprehensive understanding of what each role involved and their contribution to the department as a whole. I also attended the local Magistrates Court with the Council Tax and Business Rates team, and witnessed the process for collection of outstanding payments in action. This work placement helped me build upon my networking skills, from shadowing and meeting a wide range of employees.
My second work placement was working for IBM Global Financing Europe, at their head office in Portsmouth. Here I also shadowed various members of staff, but was further involved in specific project work regarding current economic issues that both the department and the company were faced with. My findings were included in a presentation I gave to the Chief Accountant of IGF Europe. Overall I felt I improved my research and communication skills, especially through the project I was set.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Lancaster. It has been a really rewarding and fulfilling experience. I especially loved my year spent in Vancouver, as it was fantastic to be studying and living in a totally different environment. It has been challenging at times, but I am proud to have achieved a degree from a well-respected university, whilst also gaining hugely from the extra-curricular activities I participated in.
Before graduation I managed to secure a place on EY's Graduate Scheme as an Assistant Tax Advisor.