Rachael Oliver

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Tax Professional Development Programme, HMRC

I chose to study at LUMS because it stood out from a lot of other universities for a number of reasons. For me personally, the main reason was that, as a mature student, I liked the support structure that was clearly evident at LUMS. This was put into practice when I had some personal problems to overcome in my final year – all staff within the department were lovely and personable, and helped support me through some difficult times.

Coupled with this, I liked having the flexibility to pick and choose modules with a great deal of freedom in order to create my own ‘bespoke’ degree scheme. Although I knew a number of people taking the BSc Business Studies at Lancaster, I’m unaware of anyone who picked exactly the same modules as me throughout the three-year programme. Alongside this, we were mixed with a number of other degree majors, including Marketers and Finance undergraduates, so learnt a number of transferable skills and learning approaches from them, too.

I liked all of the extra non-academic opportunities that were available as part of the course. These included the team-building day at Forrest Hills in the first undergraduate year, the preparation days for graduate job interviews and assessment days, personality profiling and the particularly interesting ‘insight day’ that was mandatory in the first year. The help from the LUMS Careers team to find a job after graduating was incredible, and really helped put all the work put into my degree to good use at the end of my final year!

I was involved in a number of extra-curricular activities. In my first year, I volunteered through LUSU Involve (formerly LUVU) on their ‘Voltage’ scheme, working with a group of special-needs children to help create their own social enterprise. In my second year I became a member of the Mature Students Society, and developed my involvement with them in my final year, being voted in as society secretary. I was also heavily involved in the Career Mentoring Programme in my final year, in which I met with the managing director of a local business and helped plan my career progression through my final months at Lancaster.

I would summarise my experience at Lancaster as life-changing!

I started working as a trainee on the HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs)Tax Professional Development Programme for four years, before progressing with the HMRC as a qualified tax inspector.