UCAS Listings: `Degree has given me a great head start in accountancy'

Case Notes: Joanne Ainge says the world of finance opened up for her after a course at Nottingham Trent
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Joanne Ainge chose to take her BA Hons degree in accounting and finance because she wanted to take a numerate degree such as maths - but preferred one with a clearer career path. "I could have chosen to take a maths degree," says Joanne, who took her degree at Nottingham Trent University, "but I'd already made up my mind that I wanted to head for a career in accounting."

After gaining A, B and E grades in her maths, sociology and biology A- levels, she narrowed her choice of universities to Nottingham and Loughborough. "Basically I didn't want to go too far from home," says Joanne, who lives in Melton Mowbray.

"The reason I chose Nottingham was because it is such a brilliant city for a student, and I would recommend it to anyone who is now considering their options through Clearing."

In the first year of Joanne's course, she took six modules for each semester. In the first year there were no options available, and all the business school students took the same modules, to bring everyone up to speed in basic accounting, economics and law.

Joanne says, "In the second year we had double modules in accounting, and we had to choose two options - I chose tax and marketing.

"In the third year we had to do a dissertation and we had to choose our own subject, so it was a way of developing a `specialism'."

Students could also choose three further options, and for one of these Joanne chose Spanish.

"The third year was really hard work, and I chose a language basically because I thought it would give me a bit of a break from finance and be something different," she says. The course was broken down in to one-hour lectures per week per module, and one to one-and-a-half hours of seminar each week per subject. There was also a number of workshops.

Joanne found that one of the hardest subjects was corporate reporting, because she said the law kept changing throughout the course. The course allowed Joanne to tailor her options towards her chosen career of management accounting. She has just graduated, and is now working as a finance graduate with East Midlands Electricity. "I have now got three more years of management accountancy exams which I'm doing on day release from work, before I finally qualify. To qualify as an accountant you need to take 16 papers, and my degree has exempted me from six of those, so it's given me a great head start."

But, she says, not all of her friends have headed towards accountancy. "The thing about a good business degree is that you can do almost anything with it. Some of my friends have gone into retail management training schemes, others into marketing, others into general management positions. It gives you such a wide scope in terms of careers."

Like Joanne, Alison Firth also took a degree in finance at Nottingham Trent, but she entered her business studies course by a rather different route, and one which is very much an option if you have not quite got the grades you anticipated.

Alison says: "I took an HND, and did three years on the HND course - including a year's work placement - before transferring to the degree course for the final year," she says.

"In the first year there was really very little difference to the degree course - we attended all the same lectures, but our course was rather more vocationally based and there was a lot of focus on personal development."

Alison spent her year out working at P&O in London, in customer services, which she found interesting.

To be able to join the degree course, she worked extremely hard in her final year of HND to move over. "In a way, the year of degree course was much easier because I'd worked so hard the previous year!" she said.

The business studies course allowed her to choose different modules in economics, accounting, marketing, human resources management, personnel, strategy, motivation and computer skills. "The best bit was working together in a team, and the support we got from the lecturers was fantastic!"

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