Tom Staley

Tom Staley

Year in Industry, Accenture

BSc Economics 2015

United Kingdom

Tell us about your time at Leeds

I chose to study at Leeds because it offers world class teaching and opportunities; with the Economics programme itself being ranked 10th in the UK at the time.

I am returning to University after a year out on industrial placement with Accenture; taking a break from my studies to gain experience in the consulting industry. A key reason for me attending University was to increase my career and employment prospects. I was therefore ecstatic to receive a placement offer from Accenture and found the experience truly invaluable, developing both professionally and personally as a result.

Nobody should underestimate the importance of securing work experience whilst at University and it should be viewed as an essential requirement for students wishing to pursue careers in specific industries. Leeds provides various sources of support for work placement applications, and has a very well regarded Careers Centre, which is available to provide advice and guidance every step of the way.

During my time with Accenture I worked in two separate roles, both based within Financial Services. I was provided with genuine responsibility and accountability in the roles that I was assigned and was often tasked with complex issues that required the development of a swift resolution in a time-pressured environment. By being pro-active and accountable for my actions I was able to effectively contribute to the workings of the wider team, helping to deliver high quality solutions that enabled our clients to operate as high performing businesses.

The positive feedback and graduate offer that I received both pay testament to the working methods that I adopted and evidence my ability to work effectively in a competitive environment.

I thoroughly recommend work experience to anybody who wishes to develop and maximize their chances of receiving a job offer from a multinational company upon graduation. My placement has also positioned me very well for my studies in my final year, helping me to develop a number of key business skills that enable me to co-ordinate both my academic and co-curricular commitments in a University setting.

What’s it like returning to University after a placement? Are all of your friends still there?

I've really enjoyed returning to University and applying the skills that I learnt in the workplace. I was amazed at how many people I still knew upon returning to University, it appears that the majority of my year completed an industrial placement or a year studying abroad so we are all back in together.

What has been your favourite module on your course?

Economic Development has been my favourite module. It places a real emphasis on many contentious issues within social science; looking at the stark disparities in inequality and poverty across the developed and developing worlds. This is a really good example of how up-to-the-minute research is being used in teaching at the Business School about “real world” problems and how we might solve them.

How does the city of Leeds compare to your hometown?

Leeds is extremely busy during term time, appearing notably more quiet during the holidays. It has a concentrated city centre and everywhere is walkable, compared to the village that I live in back home where you need a car to get anywhere.

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