Sara Douglas (MSc Accounting and Finance 2008)

Sara Douglas

Why did you choose Leeds University Business School?

I completed my Undergraduate in Law and Management Studies at Leeds University but I wasn't quite ready to leave it there! Leeds offered me a full-fee scholarship to study my Masters, and as I had secured a job at Deloitte for the following year, there was no question about staying on to do such a fantastic course.

What was the best part of your studies here – what did you enjoy the most?

The people I met. Without doubt I made some of my best friends for life during the Masters. We have all stayed in touch, and a couple of friends from our group even got married last summer - we were all at the wedding for a big reunion! I am getting married next year so that will be reunion number two.

What were your career aspirations when you arrived?

I wanted to ease my transition from Law to Finance, so that when I joined Deloitte I was able to demonstrate the understanding, maturity and confidence to help me do well in my role.

Do you have any noteworthy achievements from your study at the Business School that you can tell us about?

During my Masters, myself and friends Seamus and Panu from the MSc Financial Maths programme established the Irish Society; we won the award of Nicest Committee that year. I also led the organisation of the first Finance Masters Ball, which I believe has continued since I left. Getting a Distinction was my main achievement.

Were your career aspirations expanded by studying here?

Absolutely. I loved my time at Leeds University Business School and wouldn't change it for the world. It opened up a range of possibilities for me that I didn't know existed before. It was brilliant to be in class with a group of like-minded, yet culturally diverse, ambitious young people.

How has your career progressed since leaving the Business School? Have there been any notable highlights?

I completed my ACA qualification with Deloitte in Leeds, and came first in the world in the Business Strategy Paper of the Professional Stage exams, winning the Railton Prize from the ICAEW. After a year and a half in Leeds practicing Internal Audit, I was awarded a secondment through Deloitte to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), where I worked for almost 3 fantastic years! It was an incredible experience I will never forget. When the Olympics came to a very successful end, I transferred to Deloitte Consulting in London permanently and have had many interesting clients and been lucky enough to be part of some fantastic project teams travelling the world. I am just about to move to San Francisco on a career break from the firm to complete an MBA, after which I will return to the London office.

What is your current role and with which employer? What is your job remit?

I am currently a Senior Consultant and Chartered Accountant with Deloitte in London. I sit in the Profitability and Cost Management team, within the broader Finance function. My role is varied depending on which project/client I am working on. In the main, I advise clients on improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of Finance processes, help to develop and implement Finance Target Operating Models and do a lot of advisory work around the development of KPIs and creation of robust internal controls.

What did you learn at the Business School that has helped you in your current role?

I learned the value of building a strong network of like-minded peers, who then became close friends. I think that the Strategy modules that I took at the Business School also laid the foundations for me winning the Railton Prize from the ICAEW.

What are your ambitions for the future?

Next year, I will embark on my MBA. The programme is with Hult International Business School so I will be based in San Francisco for most of the year, rotating for a term to Boston (and possibly Shanghai!) and ultimately graduating in Switzerland in August 2015. I am then getting married in September back in Northern Ireland to my fiancé - who I met at Leeds University during our undergraduate studies. He studied Graphic Design and is now an Art Director at Apple based in San Francisco. He is the reason I am studying in the US rather than back in Leeds!

Were there any other positive aspects of your time at the Business School that are noteworthy?

I was a member of the Stage Musicals Society for a few years during Undergrad. This was actually how I was introduced to Deloitte - they sponsored the SMS (and I think they still do!), and they took a bunch of us out to dinner to try and persuade us to apply for the Summer Vacation Scheme, which I did...the rest is history I suppose! I loved the Irish Society, and organising the LUBS Masters Ball.

Would you recommend the Business School to others?

Without question.