Finance experts inspire the next generation of accountants.

Posted on 13th December 2017

Prestigious speakers from the Finance sector have passed on their expertise and experience to students at the University of Chester.

Greg Knight of CIMA undertaking a business game with third year students.
Greg Knight of CIMA undertaking a business game with third year students.

Students were treated to an employability session from Jonathan Maddams (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, ACCA). A Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) business game was led by Greg Knight ((CIMA) and was facilitated by a team from Bank of America Merril Lynch. Dil Randhawa, Director of Finance at the Bank, and his team also gave students an interesting insight into their careers.

Chris Lofthouse of KPMG provided an insight into the graduate recruitment and selection process within his  organisation and helped students prepare for interviews. The final session was a presentation on internship opportunities with Handelsbanken.

This annual series of employability sessions and workshops has been organised by Finance Programme Leader Helen Clayfield. She said: “Our aim is to ensure that students graduate with the skills that employers are looking for. As such, the programme provides opportunities throughout each of the years to develop key skills such as negotiation, leadership, commercial awareness and problem solving. Guest speakers from industry provide an invaluable opportunity for students to learn from the professionals."

The Accounting and Finance degree at the University has excellent employability success with 89% of recent graduates progressing to further study or employment within six months of graduating in the most recent Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey.

One student who is testament to the preparation the course provides for employment is Thomas O’Connor, who graduated in 2016. Thomas is an Associate at Pricewaterhouse Coopers and works in the assurance service line, focussing on Financial Service Clients (banks and insurance).

He said: “I found the teaching at the University outstanding. All the lecturers were there to support me throughout my degree and always around to help out if I needed them. The revision classes lecturers held in their own time in exam season were also a great feature.

“The course gave me an unrivalled foundation when starting my job in practice, gaining the maximum exemptions from ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) through my course. As well as this, the Worked Based Learning module allows you to get out of your comfort zone and experience what it will be like to work full time in a local business.

“Without Helen Clayfield and her team, and the confidence and encouragement they provided me with, to aim for the top tier firms, I believe I would not have been able to secure a place at PricewaterhouseCoopers.”

Dil Randhawa, Head of Global Banking and Markets Finance for Chester at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said: “My colleagues and I were delighted to join the University of Chester’s employability session, and share our knowledge, skills and career advice. As a large employer in Chester we hope to have made the students more aware of the range of careers that are available at BofAML in North West England.”