Ellie Roberts

Business Studies BA (Hons)*

  • Year of Graduation: 2022
  • Current Job Title: Audit Assistant
  • Organisation/Company: RSM
  • Industry sector: Financial Services

Your university and placement experience

Why did you choose the University of Northampton?

I chose to study at the University of Northampton so I could live at home whilst completing my studies. My sister had previously studied at the University and recommended I do the same.

Why did you choose to study your chosen course? Please say here the course you studied.

I wanted to focus down on the subject, instead of doing broad A-level choices. I enjoyed the A-level course so decided to apply to study BA Business Studies at university. I preferred to learn about Business as a whole, as I wasn’t sure which industry I wanted to go into and by doing this, I learned of my preference for finance.

What do you enjoy most about the course?

Finance modules, understanding how businesses are run and how businesses must generate capital to stay viable.

Where did you complete your placement year? What was your role?

I completed my placement year at RSM UK AUDIT LLP as an Audit Assistant. I had a wide variety of responsibilities throughout several different audits and was part of audit engagement teams carrying out a detailed, risk-based review of a company’s financial records and control environment to form an opinion on whether the financial statements prepared by the directors are true and fair.

What were the benefits of doing a placement year?

I secured a graduate role at the company I did my placement year in. By securing this role I was able to fully focus on my studies in year three. As I did a placement in audit, I ended up doing my dissertation on a related subject and was able to interview my former and future colleagues for my primary research.

Do you have any tips for applying for placements? What can students do to help them get one?

Research potential industries you’re interested in, attend the University’s placement fairs and apply for as many roles that you find interesting – it’s better to have to turn down job offers than not get any. Use the Changemaker Team to ensure your CV is up to scratch and learn how to write compelling cover letters. Also, you’ll likely have to complete a video interview, so get comfortable talking to a camera!

What employability skills did you develop during your placement?

Teamwork, timekeeping, leadership, communication, independent learning… the list goes on and on.

What advice would you give to students about to begin a placement year?

Apply yourself and really show them your worth, get them to want you back after you graduate! Even if you decide to change industry or job after graduation, having a glowing reference and a list of achievements from your placement year will be invaluable for graduate roles.

How do you think the placement year helped you with gaining employment after graduating?

It absolutely did – RSM offered me a graduate role within the first four months of my placement year. If I’d decided against accepting this job offer, I wouldn’t have had an invaluable year of experience in the industry and rare work experience which graduates often lack.

What advice would you give to those considering studying at the University and/or your chosen course?

Make sure you research potential courses in depth, as degree descriptions explain module choices and pathways. Attend open days and talk to current students/alumni – their own experiences will be so helpful when deciding on a course/university.

Any other comments

Do a placement year! I can’t recommend it enough.

* Business Studies has now been replaced with Business Management BA (Hons)