Merissa Gidden has achieved her goal of working with Goldman Sachs - while still studying at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
The Business and Management student and entrepreneur received a graduate job offer before returning to campus for her final year.
She credits her 12-month placement with another company, one listed in the FTSE 100, with giving her an edge over other candidates.
"It's about the opportunities you take," said Merissa. "I wanted to do a placement because I'd heard testimonies of others' experiences and could see the benefits. It has given me an advantage.
"It has also made life easier as I've got my graduate job sorted. The offer does depend on my grade therefore I still need to work and can now focus on getting a First."
Merissa underwent a vigorous application process for the role in operations analysis in London and is now a campus ambassador for the multinational investment bank and financial services company.
"I'm sharing my experience and giving students ideas of how best to perform," she said.
The 21-year-old was drawn to Goldman Sachs because of its career progression and global opportunities. When she was unable to spend her placement year there, she adapted her route.
"I have to sing the praises of the #DMUworks faculty placement team, particularly placement co-ordinator Zul Muhammad, who acted as a mentor," said Merissa, who secured a role as a digital marketing executive with investment management company Hargreaves Lansdown in Bristol.
"I worked with data to suggest changes to the company's app and website, improving the user experience."
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The experience had additional benefits - steering the way Merissa viewed Haus of FLVR, the business started while on placement offering alcohol-infused iced goods, which won the Young Start-up Talent South East 2018 entrepreneurial prize fund.
Originally wanting to be a fashion designer, the "business side really stuck out" for Birmingham-born Merissa, leading her to apply for Business and Management.
She is positive about both the course and DMU's location.
"Lecturers use various teaching methods so you can always take something away," she said. "They have different methods to help you shine and enhance skills such as teamwork and public speaking.
"I like Leicester as I can walk everywhere and everyone is so friendly."
When she's not studying, Merissa plays cello and drums. Having played for Aston Villa, she was a member of DMU Women's Football Club as well as a course rep in her second year. She also has two #DMUglobal trips to add to her CV - an academic-led visit to India and the mass trip to New York this month.
Posted on Wednesday 9th January 2019