Luke Sparling came to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) with no knowledge of accounting - now he's landed a role with one of the Big Four firms.
The Accounting and Finance student was offered a role at EY before starting his final year at university and on the back of a placement with the multinational professional services company.
He is "very excited" to start in September 2019 and credits DMU with setting him up for the working world.
"I can't quite quantify how I feel," said Luke, who was offered the job as a second year audit associate while on holiday in Florida.
"I hadn't done accounting prior to university and I've gone from having zero knowledge to working in a Big Four firm.
"The final year at DMU is very intensive and this is one less thing to worry about and will also give me more drive."
The 22-year-old spent his third year at EY in Canary Wharf and his advice to placement searchers is to start early. Luke applied in the summer of first year, working with the #DMUworks faculty placement team through numerous online stages, an assessment centre and final interview.
It was a bittersweet moment when he got the call, as it was the day of his grandad's funeral.
"My grandparents had pushed me to work hard, so looking back it seems fitting," said Luke, who was responsible for helping to audit financial statements for multinational companies.
"It was a fantastic year. The people I worked with and the work I was exposed to were things I'd never dreamed of. I also had opportunities not always available to placement students.
"I had great support, professionally from my manager and career counsellor, and personally from friends at work and other placement students. I also owe a lot to my DMU placement tutor Danny Buckley."
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Luke is now settling back into life at DMU. "I have a new set of skills I can apply and am filled with positive vibes," he said.
Born in West Sussex, Luke's success story starts with a disappointment. "I sat my further maths A-level in my first year at college and I messed it up. I asked to re-sit the whole thing and got an A.
"It was a turning point in my life. I knew I had to knuckle down and focus."
Luke checked out several universities before choosing DMU. "I walked into the subject talk on Open Day and pretty much knew it was where I wanted to be."
Now he hopes to give the same impression to potential students through his role as a brand ambassador and inspire the next generation through his volunteer work with the #DMUlocal Playdough project, a maths-based investment game for primary schoolchildren.
"Everything I've learnt at DMU I have used in some way, shape or form, not only on placement but also in everyday life and it has set me up well to take on the adult working world," said Luke.
His non-academic highlight is easy - working as a fan liaison assistant at Leicester City Football Club in the year they won the Premier League.
"I never thought when I came to university I'd be involved in one of the greatest Premier League moments," he added.
Posted on Monday 3rd December 2018