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More than three-quarters of the graduate vacancies advertised this year by City investment banks and half the training contracts offered by the leading law firms are likely to be filled by graduates who have completed work experience with the employer.

High Fliers Research on “The Graduate Market in 2016"

Laura Burrows

Trainee Accountant at Kingston Smith LLP, based in London

Laura graduated in 2010 with a degree in Mathematics. She began working as a Trainee Accountant in September, after having applyed for the position during her final year of study. Below she talks about what her role involves.

What do you spend most of your time doing as a Trainee Accountant?
So far I’ve spent most of my time in audit, which is when you go out to clients and check that their accounts are a true and fair representation of their financial position. I also attend college to learn the technical knowledge which is needed alongside the job. 

How do you use the knowledge you gained from your studies in your job?
Oddly, I haven’t heard Fermat’s Little Theorem mentioned once...
Accountancy bears very little relation to a maths degree; however, it’s great for it simply because it shows that you are intelligent, hard-working and able to assimilate a lot of varied information quickly.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There are about 30 of us in our year (spread across several offices), so the social life is good. The company regularly organises socials and events for us to attend, and we frequently meet up outside of work too.

How do you think that maths graduates would benefit from following your chosen career?
Brilliance at maths isn’t really a prerequisite for accountancy and auditing; it’s more important to have a good level of general intelligence, be hard-working and personable. I would say that maths graduates from Leeds are uniquely able to benefit from this as it’s a good degree from a well-known university where the students both work hard and play hard!

Why did you choose to study maths?
Many reasons! I liked maths (although not applied maths, but I was able to choose modules where I did as little of it as possible), I’d done Maths and Further Maths at A-Level, both my parents had done maths degrees... and I was also aware that a maths degree was a good degree for getting a job at the end, which I hadn’t taken into account at the time but is useful in the current financial climate.

Why did you choose Leeds?
It’s a well regarded University which also has a good social life, and, more importantly, it was a long way from home! Actually, the real reason I chose it was because I went to the open day and it was pouring with rain and I still really liked it, the atmosphere was brilliant.

What are your favourite memories of studying at Leeds?
Well, probably not the ‘studying’ part, but that’s a fact of life I suppose... First year was the best year of my life: new people, new experiences and not too much work. I don’t know anyone who didn’t love being in Leeds, as it’s a proper student city. Most of my friends stayed there after finishing uni.