Arnie Dunning

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Assurance Associate, Ernst & Young

During his placement year Arnie was a consulting analyst for Deloitte in London. It followed on from a year spent studying in the USA.

I chose to study at LUMS primarily because I was attracted to the BBA Management degree, which provides a unique opportunity to complete a year abroad together with a year in industry. I believed that completing such a unique degree would undoubtedly help me to stand out when applying for graduate jobs. I was also set on applying to LUMS because of its reputation as a tripled accredited and top UK business school, which is a true testament to the quality of education provided.

What I enjoyed most about my degree was its overall breadth and the opportunities to develop a broad knowledge base in business, whilst also having the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of interest. For example, I developed a particular interest in accounting during my first year and consequently decided to take a number of accounting modules in my second and third academic years. Furthermore, during the final year of the BBA Management course students have the opportunity to complete a dissertation, which allows them to develop their knowledge significantly in a field of particular interest to them. I found it to be a challenging but highly rewarding experience.

Placement year at Deloitte 

As an Industrial Placement student at Deloitte I was assigned to the Technology Consulting service line and was treated just like a graduate analyst, which to me was a great responsibility.

On initially joining the firm I went through the induction programme that was designed to develop ‘first-class Consulting Analysts who are client and project ready'. This induction programme lasted six weeks and was tough by tenure and rewarding by nature. As part of this induction programme I undertook a number of ISEB and CIMA-related qualifications that allowed me to develop my core knowledge base. This opportunity to study towards professional qualifications continued throughout my placement year, due to Deloitte’s exemplary focus on learning and development for all employees.

My role at Deloitte varied greatly from engagement to engagement as is expected in consulting. However, typical day-to-day activities included checking emails, requirements gathering from meetings, data analysis and the production of reports and presentations for my line manager.

I loved how each day was different because it allowed me to develop skills and knowledge in multiple areas whilst also keeping me fully engaged throughout the year. For example, during my placement year I was responsible for running the reporting process for a project, installing a new project management tool within a programme, issues logging and management, organising a team social, invoice verification of another contractor and requirements gathering from various steering group meetings, amongst many other activities.

One of my engagements was internal and allowed me to periodically travel to the Deloitte Belfast office where the National Solutions centre (development team) is based. I also worked at Rolls Royce in Derby for a couple of months, which provided me with a great insight into the inner workings of the organisation. It is this variety that was certainly another key highlight of my placement for me.

Study abroad in the USA

As much as I enjoyed my first year at Lancaster I was set on applying for Study Abroad in the USA, because it has always been my dream to study there.

When abroad at the University of Missouri in Columbia I found it very easy to settle in because everyone was incredibly welcoming and the University had an excellent, supportive international center. Academically, I was also able to adapt quickly and found the work to certainly be manageable.

My year abroad was particularly unique as I was socially affiliated with a fraternity called ‘Beta Theta Pi’. This was instrumental in developing my understanding of exactly what it is like to be an American college student. I also travelled extensively, visiting over 10 states and staying with an American family for a short period. I learned that study abroad is what you make it – I just happened to make it the best year of my life.

Applying to LUMS was without doubt one of the best decisions I have ever made because it has provided me with endless opportunities and everything that I wanted from a degree and more.

I am due to start at Ernst & Young in 2014 upon graduation, where I will train to become a Chartered Accountant while working in the Assurance Service line. The accounting modules I studied at University have provided me with an excellent knowledge base from which to excel in the position. Furthermore, I found the modules to be particularly valuable when completing my graduate application.