At secondary school I always enjoyed studying languages and their respective cultures so studying French and German at university seemed like a no-brainer. I had accepted an offer for French and German at the University of Bath but a few weeks before starting I decided I would like to incorporate a business dimension to the degree so I switched to International Management and French. This was a straightforward process which most universities will permit up until the end of the first few weeks of the semester.
I thoroughly enjoyed by time at university as I made lots of new friends and developed skills which I hope will serve me well for the working world. I am happy with my degree choice as it made for a very diverse course where I’d study a new management discipline each semester. By fourth year I was able to hone in on finance modules as I thought ahead to my potential future career path. The course also featured an ‘overlap’ module whereby each semester a management discipline was taught in French to develop sensitivity towards business practise in France. My year abroad as an intern in Communications at Thales Electron Devices for 12 months in Paris was the best year of university. My regret was living with friends from university as whilst together with the ERASMUS community we made the most of our free time in Paris, my French didn’t improve as much as it could have and I didn’t truly get to see the French way of life. Therefore, when in final year the opportunity to apply for a teaching position at Aix-Marseille was advertised, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. What’s more, I had been advised by many already in the working world that once the treadmill of working has commenced, it is very difficult to get off!
As I began to teach I started applying for graduate schemes in the finance sector for autumn 2017 start and knew that whilst I wanted to be challenged, I also wanted to have a reasonable work life balance. I decided to apply for roles in assurance and in regional offices for a slightly smaller firm feel. PricewaterhouseCoopers stood out for me due to its seemingly friendly and collaborative culture. I therefore went through the application process of numerical and logic tests, telephone interview, assessment centre and final interview and have been fortunate enough to have been offered a position to start in September 2017 in the Bristol office. Time will tell whether it was the right decision for me but for now I’m very excited at the prospect of working at PwC next year, and making the most of my time in France in the meantime.
In terms of advice for sixth form students, I recommend that you take a really good look at all the options available and if you have a career in mind, don’t be afraid to contact relevant companies to ask for advice and guidance on how you plan to approach the coming few years. For me, living and working in new environments where I didn’t know anyone has been so enriching and really made me grow as a person so I’d say don’t be afraid to grab new opportunities as they come.