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Accounting & Finance at Lancaster University - Jennifer Hanford

Accounting & Finance Case Study
Jennifer Hanford

Jennifer Hanford, 21, is studying Accounting & Finance at Lancaster University. Born and bred in Doncaster, Jennifer discovered her love for Mathematics during her time at school. It was this passion that helped Jennifer decide that Accounting & Finance was the subject for her, and we caught up with her to find out more about her studies:

What inspired you to study Accounting & Finance?

Whilst I was in year 9, I participated in a careers trip to Leeds. There were a number of successful businessmen from many different industry sectors, including Accounting & Finance. We listened to a talk specifically based on a career in Forensic Accounting and I knew immediately that it was the perfect career for me. It sounded so interesting that I simply couldn’t imagine being anything else from that point onwards, and I researched it immediately when I got home so that I could select the appropriate GCSEs and, ultimately, A-Levels. 

Why did you choose to study at your university? 

As I knew I wanted to study Accounting & Finance, I researched universities which had high recommendations for such courses and found Lancaster. It was recommended highly in the results tables and university guides, so I decided to attend an open day. As soon as I arrived in Lancaster I fell in love. It is such a beautiful campus with everything you could ever need, and it immediately felt like home.  

What do you like about the course? 

I have really enjoyed the Accounting & Finance course at Lancaster. Each year the modules build on the previous year’s knowledge, so I am constantly progressing but also starting from strong foundation. This results in a good understanding of the subject material. There are also opportunities on the degree for group projects, which I found very rewarding. I was able to work with different groups of people, from diverse backgrounds, learning many practical and transferable skills for the future, whilst simultaneously improving my confidence.

What learning methods does your university employ?

Lancaster University has multiple learning methods, ensuring everyone finds a way that is suitable for them. 
Typically, each module consists of weekly lectures, seminars/tutorials and workshops. The lectures are structured to cover specific aspects of the course, which are then analysed in detail during the tutorials/workshops. There is always the opportunity in lectures to ask questions, but they are primarily there to offer an introduction to a topic, which you can then research and read over after. 
In advance of tutorials students are expected to attempt questions covering the lecture material. This is done so that when students attend their tutorials, they come with specific questions on areas where they need further clarification/understanding. Tutorials are a lot smaller than lectures, so it is less daunting to ask questions and you receive teaching on a more one-to-one basis. 

What aspects of the course do you find difficult? Does the university support you well?

Accounting & Finance is a challenging degree, there is a lot to learn and it can be complicated when applying theories to real-life situations. I have found that most modules are very challenging when they first begin, as there are a lot of complex calculations and new concepts. However, if you work hard and remain motivated, they do become easier and make more sense as the course comes to a close.  
There is a lot of support from the Accounting & Finance department, which makes the course a lot easier to cope with and understand. Each of my lecturers has office hours every week where students can ask specific questions about areas they are struggling with, allowing them to understand the more tricky content and continue progressing with the course. 
From personal experience, lecturers also respond very quickly to emails, either sending help, solutions or offering me an appointment. I find this very useful in helping me clearly understand complicated aspects of the module.

 How do you fund your studies? If you have taken a part-time job please include details. 

I fund my studies with the student loan from the government, which covers the cost of my course and some of my maintenance costs. I also have a part-time job at the university, writing a weekly blog for the accounting and finance department.

What about the social side of things at university, does an Accounting & Finance student find much time for it? What sort of things do you get up to?

I believe it is essential to be an active member of a society as it enhances your university life. Every degree is time consuming and involves a lot of work, but it’s also important to relax during the week. I’ve personally found being in a fun society reduces my stress levels and it’s definitely improved my university experience. If you plan which societies you are passionate about and when they are, it is very easy to participate without damaging your studies. 
I am president of the Lancaster University Gospel choir and I love it. We rehearse once a week for two hours and have bi-weekly socials. As I know in advance when I have choir practice, I plan my studies around it so I am able to complete everything I need to and also have fun at choir.

What do you plan to do once you’ve graduated? 

After graduation I’d like to work for a professional accountancy firm, eventually qualifying as a chartered accountant. However, before I embark on this path, I would like to do a year abroad in America, studying Accounting & Business Studies at a postgraduate level.

How has your university supported your career aspirations?  

As part of my degree at Lancaster University, I completed a placement year with Ernst and Young. The university was very supportive in the process and helped me choose the correct modules in my first year, enabling me to be successful in my placement aspirations. The university has an amazing careers department who run regular sessions assisting with different degree aspects and any career questions or aspirations.

Any other advice? 

I would recommend Accounting & Finance to anyone, especially those with a passion for both Mathematics and English. It is important to be able to do the calculations, but it is just as important for such a degree, and for future jobs, to be able to understand accounting concepts and write about them. 

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