Portrait photograph of: Steph Smith

Steph Smith

Country Of Origin: United Kingdom

Degree: BSc Economics, 2015

Risk Graduate, The Co-Operative Bank

A top ten ranking with a reputation for having one of the best Management Schools in the country is what first attracted me to apply to Lancaster University. After doing some more research it became evident why the Management School has such a reputation, therefore I decided that Lancaster was the kind of University I wanted to study at. Right from the outset I could see the attention LUMS in particular pays to its students, with support provided throughout the degree and both contact and guidance available even after students have moved on.

One of the great things about studying BSc Economics at Lancaster is that there is a whole department devoted to the subject. You can therefore dive in and develop a deep understanding of those parts of economics that appeal to you most, with the opportunity also to make a completely free choice of modules in your final year. Choices are also guided by exposure to lecturers who are at the very top of their fields; they are always happy to help students to understand theories and their application in the real world.

Each year the Economics Department awards the Elizabeth Brunner Prize to the “most outstanding and meritorious final year student”, and it was a great honour for me to receive the prize when I graduated. The award was something I could never have dreamed of receiving without the benefit of the excellent range of knowledge and resources that the department made available to me throughout my degree.

Lancaster encourages students to have fun outside of their degrees, and provides plenty of sporting and social events which centre on the College chosen by the student when he or she decides to study at the University. Membership of a College confers an immediate sense of community, as well as friendly rivalry with the others. On top of this there are numerous societies students can get involved in. Involvement in sports and societies allow you to develop valuable career and life skills whilst enabling you to have fun at the same time.

During the Easter and Summer breaks between my second and final year I interned at the Lake District National Park Authority, helping out within the Finance Team in order to gain some valuable office experience. In that role I was able to pick up and develop a number of key skills, such as business etiquette and independent learning of new procedures, which I was later able to demonstrate when interviewing for my Graduate Scheme.

My time at Lancaster was a fantastic learning experience, and I can confidently say that it helped me to develop the knowledge and skills that I needed to secure the role I am in today.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Lancaster as a place that helps to guide and support students’ future careers, but which is also a place where students are able to have an amazing time whilst making friends for life!

Throughout my degree the LUMS Careers Team was very supportive, and provided me with a great platform for the start of my career. The support they provided ranged from helping me to build my CV, through to providing tips and workshops for telephone interviews and assessments centres, all the way to helping me make a final decision on my career path after university, when I had multiple offers on the table.

Since graduating from Lancaster University I have been working for the Co-Operative Bank on a Risk Leadership Graduate Scheme. The role has involved a great deal of responsibility early on in my career, with exposure to the senior leaders of the bank from day one. The leadership and teamwork skills I gained at Lancaster during group projects, my involvement on the Executive of the Maths Society and the professional advice I received from the LUMS Careers Team all gave me plenty to talk about throughout the application process. I can definitely see how the skills I learned at Lancaster continue to help me when performing the day-to-day tasks of my role.