Emma

You can find the full course details here.

What did you study at school and college?

For GCSE, the optionals I chose were Business, French, Geography and Drama. For A-Levels, I studied Economics, French, Italian, Maths and Physics, later dropping Maths and Physics at A2.

What has been your favourite part of the course so far?

My degree is a joint honours course, meaning that every year I split my modules between the two subjects on a 50/50 basis. It was great having the variability and breadth of knowledge that came along with this, as I had the opportunity to switch topic completely which felt refreshing at times. I’m also so glad to have been able to do a joint honours as it meant being able to meet twice as many people than I would have if I only studied under one department. My favourite part of the course was in my final year where I was able to put all the international business theory I had learnt over the years into more of a consultative approach within my assignments. It was great to use my knowledge to practice advising real companies on expansion strategies and study real cases.

Have you chosen/completed a Study Abroad or Industry Placement year?

I completed my year abroad last year and it was hands down the best and most rewarding experience to date. Being business-minded, when planning for my year abroad it was important to me to be able to gain professional experience while abroad, so I decided to find a placement instead of studying in a university there. Having the combination of working and living abroad was the best of both worlds for me, and I was so glad that my university supported this option. The process of applying for jobs and doing interviews in French in second year taught me so much and built my skills and confidence greatly. I ended up finding a great placement in a consultancy firm in the centre of Paris, and I loved the experience from start to finish. The sheer volume of professional experience that I developed and that I am able to talk about in graduate role interviews, has helped me tenfold and given me the experience that just isn’t comparable to any part time job that students my age normally have. I would recommend to anyone to go down this route. Although it may take more preparation and persistence to find the role you want, there is no question that the benefits will greatly outweigh any negatives.

What are your career aspirations and how will your degree help you get there?

My ultimate career goal is to become a consultant, helping businesses grow and internationalise, as this is something I’m very passionate about. My degree is provides a great platform to start my professional career towards this goal through it’s great reputation as well as all the knowledge and expertise I have gathered over the years. I have not only learnt business principles that I can apply in roles, but I have also been able to tailor my learning and modules greatly to find what interests me the most. Being able to combine my business studies with a language isn’t very common, and it shows employers that my skill-set isn’t limited to one subject area. Languages show open-mindedness and a plethora of knowledge about cultures and communication skills.

Why did you pick to study at the University of Leeds?

I visited around 8 universities at their open days, and I just remember the feeling that I got at Leeds that I didn’t anywhere else. It’s a greatly inclusive community, the campus is gorgeous and I felt a real sense of belonging. I remember being so shocked at how big the university union was, with a supermarket, a pub, bars, nightclubs, clothes shops, food markets, a bank, a beauty salon… you name it and it’s there! There are about 300 societies to choose from, and getting involved in any of them can have an amazing impact on your university experience. On top of that, the campus is really close to Leeds centre, where there’s a whole lot of exploring and fun to be had. The University of Leeds’ top reputation and notoriety, and its level of teaching and lecturers was the icing on the cake for me. I can honestly say that I’ve never looked back on my decision to go here and would do it all again!

What have you found most challenging about University?

Learning how to budget and make your money last is a steep learning curve for most, if not every student. I remember in first year how big of a shock that was for me. But having that responsibility and no parent to guide you towards the appropriate degree of maturity with money was an important lesson that I think everyone has to go through, which will help you so much throughout life.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to live up to someone else’s dream. Be kinder to yourself. Keep doing your best. Be proud of yourself and celebrate the little achievements.

What are your top tips when applying for University? Is there anything you did that boosted your application?

I recommend exploring in depth why it is that you are passionate about the subject you want to study, and then think of ways that you can show this. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn and see if you can ask them some questions about their field, and when you get enough interesting insight you can include that in your application. I think it’s good to show initiative, so ask and research for relevant material online and then put your own spin on it and give your opinion backed by evidence. Just be yourself and good luck!