Securing a place on the Volkswagen Group's "exceptional graduate scheme" is Katharine Whiting's biggest achievement to date.
The Business and Management graduate credits her course with giving her the skills needed for the real world and her placement experience as setting her apart from other candidates.
Graduating with a First from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) today, Katharine was also being presented with the NatWest/Times Business Ethics Prize for Best BA (Hons) Business and Management Student and was joint winner of the Award for First Place Work Based Learning Certificate.
She will start her "dream role" in September based at the global brand's UK head office in Milton Keynes.
Katharine said: "I am incredibly happy and I can't wait to begin my career with such a fantastic company.
"The graduate scheme is rotational, so I'll be moving around three different departments and three brands within the two years and undergoing constant training.
"The aim is to train you to become a future business leader and, once completed, you are guaranteed a permanent role - usually managerial - within the company."
Katharine would recommend her subject to anyone wanting a career in business, having chosen to study at DMU because of the campus environment, facilities and varied course content.
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She said: "DMU really prepares you for employability - lecturers come with a wealth of knowledge and industry experience and everything you learn can be directly applied to the workplace.
"I particularly enjoyed a work-based module that allowed me to act as a consultant and make recommendations for a local firm.
"DMU also has fantastic employability facilities such as a placement and careers office that provides so much help and support when searching for a job."
Katharine's 12-month placement, with Volkswagen Financial Services, saw her work as a reporting analyst.
"I absolutely loved it," she said. "I provided analysis and reporting on various aspects that impacted the business, which were passed on to the senior leadership team to assist with their strategies.
"I was also given real responsibility, as I had to represent the company at several external events, including flying up to Glasgow to speak on behalf of the company."
The 22-year-old would highly recommend a placement year. "I learned so many transferable skills, made great connections and came back to my final year much stronger - plus it enabled me to secure three graduate job offers," she said.
Katharine boosted her confidence and public speaking skills by becoming a Brand Ambassador for the Faculty of Business and Law, which involved presenting to prospective students at Open Days, and broadened her horizons on a #DMUglobal trip to Copenhagen.
She said: "We were able to visit our partner university, which was so interesting, go into various different businesses to see how they operate as well as have a talk at the national bank."
But it's not been all work and no play for Katharine, who joined DMU Badminton society during her final year.
"The team are amazing," added Katharine. "They are all so supportive and like a little family! I received great professional training, had an amazingly supportive couch and made wonderful friends."
Posted on Tuesday 18th July 2017