Case study

How we helped Michael achieve his career goals

Our Accounting and Finance degree gave Michael Hackley all the knowledge and skills he needed for his career - but it was the real-world experience he gained from the internships we helped him access that meant he could hit the ground running when he joined leading accounting firm PwC.

Vital experience

Michael chose to study BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance at Derby because of the industry experience within the department - and because we came highly recommended by his friends.

He says: “I was aware of a number of friends who were in the process of beginning their studies at Derby, all of whom spoke highly about their own experiences. I also felt that the litany of industry experience throughout the accounting department at the University was vitally important and would ensure the appropriate blend of theory and practice.”

Michael had always had a general interest in business and felt our course offered a broad understanding of the key concepts of accounting alongside sound business knowledge, with the modules highly applicable to the content covered in his ACA (Association of Chartered Accountants) exams.

Valuable internships

When applying for roles in the professional services industry, internships are incredibly valuable. Our Careers and Employment Service found Michael potential placement providers and helped with CV writing and mock interviews.

Michael undertook a number of short-term placements throughout his degree. This involved a month-long internship within the Business Development and Commercial Finance team at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, as well as a week-long internship at Howsons Chartered Accountants.

Throughout the internships, Michael was visited by lecturers to check how he was doing and ensure he was gaining the right skills and knowledge to support his career. These experiences allowed Michael to further develop real-world employability skills and learn from accounting professionals - and this helped him to secure his graduate job at PwC.

“The teaching and support was always of the highest standard, with all academics meticulous in their efforts to ensure a positive student experience. The learning experience was challenging but hugely rewarding.”

Theory and practice 

Our course gave Michael an excellent foundation in the practical application of accounting and finance concepts, as well as the theoretical knowledge. He says: “I can certainly vouch for the relevance of all content covered on the accounting and finance course. The tax modules in particular gave me a great foundation on which to develop my technical and fiscal understanding in preparation for graduate life at PwC.”

What Michael studied has been entirely relevant to the challenges he has faced as an accounting professional. The course incorporates various presentational assessments and group work and Michael had to work independently and be self-motivated, and work effectively and constructively as part of a team.

Michael says: “Both aspects certainly played an important role in my personal growth, particularly in respect to self-confidence and speaking publically. To get a job at PwC, you must demonstrate technological literacy and an ability to learn and evolve with the times. The course at Derby fulfilled this.”

Our Accounting courses

We offer strong employer partnerships, real world learning and a broad choice of courses to launch and accelerate your accounting career.

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A standout candidate

After completing his degree at Derby, Michael went on to study for a masters degree at a university in London. He now works at a Senior Associate within the Corporate Tax Team at PwC, Bristol.

“Although the graduates at PwC come from a broad range of backgrounds, I feel that the Accounting and Finance course at Derby, coupled with my MSc, certainly enabled me to differentiate myself during the application process through evidencing my accounting knowledge and background,” he says.