Liz, an economics graduate, attributes her success as an associate with Price Waterhouse Coopers to a summer internship with the company, between her second and final years at university.
What is your current profession?
I am an Associate in the Government & Public Sector department of PricewaterhouseCoopers, in the Manchester office.
Describe your role.
I am in a three year training scheme with the firm, so I spend quite a lot of time in college studying to be a chartered accountant. The rest of the time I work with lots of different clients at the firm, doing various projects. I primarily do audit work, such as looking at the financial statements produced by organisations, or reviewing procedures to advise on improvements, but as a firm we get involved in nearly all aspects of running a business. Clients that I have worked on include primary care trusts, local government, universities and charities.
Describe your career progression.
I applied to do an eight week summer internship with PwC between my second and final year at university. I got a lot of support from the Careers Centre, in terms of reviewing my CV, and practice tests etc. This helped me to get the position and from this I was offered a full time position after I finished university.
What did you do immediately after leaving University?
Well I worked for about 6 months and then went off travelling. I was fortunate enough that PwC let me defer starting for a year so that I could travel - knowing I had a job to come back to was a great help.
What did you do whilst studying that helped pave the way into your chosen career?
PwC recruit people from all sorts of backgrounds and degree courses, as long as you demonstrate the attributes that they are looking for. Employers are generally interested with you as a person as well as your academic record, so showing that you can do more than just pass exams is a big plus. It also helps to start researching about different careers and possible employers as soon as possible so that you can make informed decisions about your future.
What skills and attributes did you develop as part of your course?
Throughout my course I had to learn to work independently and have confidence in my decisions. I think doing a dissertation was one of the biggest learning curves, from deciding what subject to concentrate on, to researching, and finally editing everything I had learnt and formatting it into something that actually made sense to the reader! When you've got lots of deadlines to meet, being organised and able to prioritise is also important. All these skills transfer into the work place, and you often learn a lot more from being at university than you realise at the time!
What skills and attributes did you develop as part of your co-curricular activities?
Just being at university gives you the chance to learn so many new skills and develop ideas. I got involved in a few sports teams at Leeds which first and foremost is a good laugh, and is a great for practising communication skills and team work abilities. I also did some volunteer work with Access and Community Engagement, which was a really rewarding experience and helped me to become a better listener and to adapt to different situations.
What advice would you have for students studying today?
Basically the best advice I can think of is to just make the most of all the opportunities that are presented to you while at Leeds. There is so much to get involved in, and you just need to get out there and have fun while doing it.