Jess Arkesden

Jess Arkesden

How did you hear about Leeds University Business School and why did you choose to study here?
I spent a lot of time researching different institutions and found that Leeds University Business School has more than just a great reputation, promising statistics and a high ranking against other universities, but also that the course could be tailored to my personal interests through the optional modules available. The Business School also offered the largest and most attractive range of opportunities, from study abroad experiences to employability programmes. In additional to all of this, the Business School offered me a fantastic scholarship and support programme that confirmed my choice to study at Leeds. 

Tell us about your course – why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to study here?
I had always had an interest in economics but knew that I was not as concerned with the banking/finance/money side of the subject but more development topics and different schools of thought. The Business School programme offered this diversity and an ability at every level to make your own study choices to accommodate these interests. Even from the first open day I attended, it was very obvious that the lecturers at Leeds make an effort to express a myriad of views, not just the mainstream, to ultimately develop well-rounded students that can make informed decisions on a number of topics.

Did you receive a scholarship to study here? If yes, why did you apply for the scholarship and why do you think you were successful? What did it mean to you to receive it and how did it help you? 
I was offered a number of different scholarships but eventually received the Leeds Scholarship from the central University. Initially, I did not specifically apply for a scholarship as I assumed I would have no chance of receiving one. However, after the University contacted me directly and pointed out the different reasons I may be eligible for a scholarship I realised there was no harm in applying. 
I was successful based on a number of factors ranging from things beyond my control (for example, family circumstances, the area I was from, the school I attended) to things I could control and could prove (for example, my eagerness and dedication to study economics at Leeds, and my academic potential through the Access to Leeds scheme). For me, the money that came with the scholarship has obviously been a massive help and has enabled me to focus on my studies and take advantage of a myriad of opportunities. However, I think the biggest benefit of my scholarship is quite simply the confidence boost it gave me. Knowing that the University recognised my efforts, achievements, potential and ambition from day one made me realise that I could achieve anything I put my mind to at University, given that I was now much better off than before and was in a place where I could learn as much as I put my mind to. It gave me an incentive to continue to work hard and not become complacent.

What was the best part of your studies – what did you enjoy the most? 
All of the experiences I have had at Leeds have been memorable in their own way. The best part by far though has to be my year abroad in Australia. It was life changing in every sense. Studying at another world-class institution was an opportunity in itself, but also moving to the other side of the world on your own and building a life for yourself made me realise just how far I’ve come in my time at Leeds. The ‘icing on the cake’ was finding out that I was eligible for Australian citizenship, so the thing I enjoyed most about my degree is my year abroad because now it has completely changed my future!

What were your career aspirations? Do you think the experience and skills you’ve gained here have helped you in your career plans? In what way? 
At the moment it is my intention to move to Australia permanently once I can afford to do so. In terms of career plans, I am open to different opportunities and the option of further study. It is not that I don’t know what I want to do but more that my time at Leeds has taught me not to rush into anything and just to enjoy the different opportunities that I find and learn from these experiences.

What was your experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the city of Leeds and the Yorkshire region? 
In the time I have been in Leeds, the University has continually improved from the upgrading of technology to upgrading of entire buildings. It is that forward thinking approach that makes studying at Leeds so enjoyable and challenging in a good way. The staff are always engaging and keen to share their research interests. In terms of peers, I have made some phenomenal friends but have also been pushed academically by being surrounded by such intelligent hard working people. Leeds is a fantastic student city, and in my opinion one of the best cities in the country. It has the perfect balance of metropolitan life with an easy getaway to some fields in Ilkley for a country girl like me!

Are there any experiences outside of your studies that you have particularly enjoyed? e.g. participation in extra-curricular activities or groups, nightlife, the region’s historic places of interest.
I participated in countless activities in my time here over the years. Some particular highlights:

  • 1st year: Treasurer and Vice President of my halls of residence committee; student ambassador; participation in an international summer school at Zhejiang University, China; participation in the Nurturing Talent Mentor Scheme.
  • 2nd year: Treasurer of the Leeds University Union Badminton Club; student ambassador.
  • Year abroad: researcher for the UN SDSN Youth; working at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne and at the Australian Open and subsequent promotion to a Team Leader role (i.e. running and managing catered events at the stadium)
  • Final year: working FOH at a pub in Menston (part-time role); study abroad intern role; student ambassador.

Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here? 
I would recommend that people research their options thoroughly. Leeds University Business School was absolutely the right choice for me, and if someone researched their options and decided their course of choice was right for them and that the city is somewhere they could live, then yes I would absolutely recommend Leeds.