Clare Coley

Accounting and Finance

Clare has always wanted to work for a big-four accountancy firm, and was sponsored through University by GE.
Long distance running, coxing for the rowing team and volunteering in homeless shelters have given her the social skills to complement the accounting and finance knowledge of her course – vital if she is to gain a place on a graduate accountancy scheme.

What do you hope to go on and do when you graduate from the University of Leeds?

When I graduate from the University of Leeds, I hope to gain a place on a graduate scheme in one of the big four accountancy firms. There I intend to complete my professional accountancy qualification while working my way up the career ladder within the firm.

What skills and qualities do you think you’ve gained from your course?

From the content of my course, I have gained the basic accounting and finance knowledge and increased my understanding of the UK economy and current recession. In addition, I have built on my analytical ability and strengthened my writing and time-keeping skills. Overall, my modules have given me the opportunities to work with peers on current issues while maintaining a career focus.

What skills and qualities do you think you’ve gained from co-curricular activities so far
(e.g. volunteering, clubs/societies)?

In my first year at university I was Treasurer of the JCR of my hall’s accommodation. We organised a variety of events, one of which was the Christmas Ball. By being treasurer, in addition to learning about making a budget to fit all the committee members’ ideas, I learnt sales skills when persuading the rest of the committee the optimal route to take when paying for the Ball.

In my second year I became Cox to the Novice Men in Rowing. Generally I gained teamwork and leadership experience while working with new friends. Specifically as a Cox, I increased my ability to gain trust and respect. In addition, as a result of participating in the land training I developed my skills in long distance running.

During the University breaks, I take part in volunteering in homeless shelters in London. From the volunteering I have learnt not to pre-judge people. I also interact with the residents through activities I create and manage.

How will these skills and qualities help you achieve what you want to do when you graduate?

Having organisation and time-keeping skills will ensure I meet project deadlines while working in my future career. Both skills will also enable me to have a suitable work/life balance once I have graduated. My teamwork, leadership and people management experiences mean that I will be able to work well with colleagues within my office team. This should ensure that all project requirements are fulfilled while maintaining a good relationship and positive attitude within the working team. I will be able to use my creativity and sales skills in my career when thinking of new consulting ventures and selling them both within the firm and to prospective clients. My greater depth in knowledge of the economy and accounting means that I already have the foundations to be able to work in my desired career. In addition to helping with my future, the real life aspect of my course, for example mortgages, means that I understand the environment that I am living in.

What has been your proudest moment while studying at Leeds?

My proudest moment while studying at Leeds University has been gaining a place on the GE Foundation Scholar-Leader Programme. Having submitted a lengthy and detailed application form explaining why I should receive sponsorship during university, I attended a 5-panel interview to gain a place on the programme. I am proud as I am one of 15 winners from across the UK. I feel I have used the sponsorship and additional experiences - seminars, networking and volunteering experiences - to the best of my advantage. Learning about leadership and business was an enjoyable experience, which also increased the opportunities available to me within the University.

How do you think you have benefited from studying at Leeds?

The main benefit I will receive from studying at the University of Leeds is gaining a degree from a ‘Russell Group’ University, which I believe is important to gain a place on a graduate placement. I have also benefited from the support I have received from my personal tutor. I have been encouraged to send in application forms for different programmes and converse about subjects in which I have become particularly interested i.e. banking and the economy.

Leeds University uses different platforms, such as Leeds for Life, to promote clubs, societies and skills modules on offer. I believe taking part in these benefits me by increasing the range of abilities I am able to put on my CV. In general, Leeds University not only enables students to gain a degree but it also gives them the opportunity to learn the extra skills and abilities required to survive in the real world and get a great start to a career.