From education to employment

Salford students paving the way in finance

Meet the trailblazing accounting and finance graduates who started their studies at the height of the pandemic and are already taking their industry by storm

BSc Accounting and Finance with Placement students Sarah Hallett, Lloyd Townsend and Muhammad Chopdat, have today graduated with first class degrees from the University of Salford Business School and walked straight into their dream careers.

Sarah has secured a role as an Audit Trainee at leading accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO, after completing her placement year with the company; while Lloyd, who did his placement year working in finance at Unilever, has landed a coveted Finance Analyst position with global online travel agency, Expedia Group.

Muhammad will continue his career in the healthcare space after doing his placement year at NCA (Northern Care Alliance) NHS Foundation Trust, progressing his career post-graduation at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, where he has secured an Assistant Management Accountant role.

Starting university in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic presented many challenges and for students like Sarah it wasn’t easy.

On her journey into higher education and ultimately the accounting industry, she commented:

“My A-levels were at the height of the pandemic and as a result, I wasn’t able to sit my exams, while the vast majority of my first year was online. This led to exam stress and a real lack of confidence in my ability to perform well.

“The University really helped me to overcome this, so I can’t thank them enough as it’s led to me being able to pursue an exciting career path with a global firm. Not only am I incredibly proud of getting my placement and full-time graduate role at BDO, as well as achieving a first-class honours degree, but I was also named the Dean’s Undergraduate Student of the Year for Law, Economics, Accounting and Finance – a huge moment for me to be recognised for all of my hard work.”

Lloyd was the first person in his family to go to university and had three offers for graduate positions, before opting for his first choice with Expedia Group. He initially applied to university through clearing, after being stuck at a crossroads on graduating from college. Today, he graduates from Salford Business School with top grades, a year’s experience in industry and ready to continue his journey into finance at one of the world’s leading travel firms.

Lloyd said:

“There have been several moments I’m proud of from the last four years. From the portfolio of work I’ve created, to the work experience I now have under my belt, thanks to my placement. But, above all, the biggest has to be receiving three graduate offers. This really is testament to the platform the University has given me to improve my employability.

“Like a lot of people, the pandemic was hard for me. Lockdown was tough and it had a huge impact on my initial plans to go straight into industry. But, eventually getting that face-to-face university experience, meeting the people I’ve met both here in Salford and Manchester, as well as in London during my placement, and being able to thrive independently has really built my confidence as I continue progressing into my career.”

Muhammad, who is also the first person in his family to go to university, initially struggled with confidence and interviews. But, thanks to the support of his Lecturers and the industry connections the University has introduced him to, he now has multiple roles in finance on his CV, including with the NHS and a summer internship in the University’s finance department.

Muhammad added:

“I initially struggled with job interviews however, university experiences transformed me to a more capable and confident person. This has led to my proudest achievements to-date, getting a first class degree and securing job roles both during and after my studies.

“My previous role with the NHS provided me with valuable insights to affirm the career route I wanted to take, further solidifying my interest in healthcare finance. Studying during the pandemic three to four years ago presented significant challenges, but to be here today with so much industry experience so early on in my career is a great feeling.”

Geoffrey Evans, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in Accounting and Finance at Salford Business School, concluded:

“The fact each of these students are graduating with first class degrees, as well as strong CVs and graduate job offers with dynamic organisations at the top of their fields, despite the challenges they faced with the pandemic at their start of their studies, is remarkable. They really are proof of the value of placements, showcasing the impressive employment opportunities and strong degree classifications they can lead to, thanks to the hands-on, real-world experiences students get. “The work they’ve put in to get here is outstanding, with their continued commitment to getting to the top of their game really shining through constantly. Their hard work has really paid off, as they’re now well on their way to becoming the pioneers they set out to be in this exciting and rewarding industry.”

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