Case study

Playing to

When his A-level results meant changes to his plans, Jack Hanson found his way to the BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance course at Derby through Clearing. 

Discovering Clearing as a solution

Jack had a hectic morning on A-level results day when he saw his grades online and found they weren’t what he needed to meet his existing offer. “I was unbelievably stressed," he says. "It was the scariest time of my life.”

He spoke to a friend in a similar situation about their plans, which helped him to understand his options. They were to either wait and apply again, retaking the year’s qualifications, or try to go through Clearing by making a new application on a faster timescale. While his friend opted to take a year out, Jack didn’t want to wait. He says: “I thought time is precious so I went onto UCAS to see which universities would accept me based on my points.”

Before results day, Jack hadn’t really been aware of Clearing as a solution. His highest A-level grade was in Maths, which told him to go for something numerical instead of what he originally applied for in Computer Science. That choice led him towards Accounting and Finance.  

Choosing a uni

Originally from Boston, Lincolnshire, Jack found a few options within a reasonable travelling distance, including Derby.  
The phone call he had with the course leader convinced him that Derby was the right university to choose.

He says: “I just felt it was right because of how much they cared, compared to how robotic the other ones were. They gave me additional information, offered to answer questions, and had a proper conversation. It was more personal and less like they just wanted another student to fill the numbers.”

The offer was then sent through on UCAS - and Jack accepted. Reflecting on getting his September back on track, Jack says: “It just gave me a nice sense of relief and security – it was like taking a burden off my shoulders.”

Another part of the process that was easily resolved was securing his place in halls of residence. Jack calls this “probably one of the easiest things”, as it was mostly sorted for him, and he liked where he ended up in the city centre. 

Building for the future

Was it the right choice a year on? “I’m very happy,” Jack says. “I got blessed with some lovely welcoming tutors who gave me all the support and help I could need, starting off with an introductory lecture that helped explain the entire course. As of today, I’ve passed all my modules so far, so they’ve definitely done something right.” 

Jack in the Financial Markets Lab
Jack working in our Financial Markets Lab

The course makes use of a teaching facility Jack expects will be of high interest to potential employers: “There is a cool room, the  Financial Markets Lab, which is a stock exchange controller we use from first year, where you can compile information on companies from around the world and compare them.”

Jack is looking to complete financial data company Bloomberg's training course on using the Bloomberg Market Concepts application in the lab, which can help when looking at careers in global finance.

He is about to go into his second year of his degree and he is keeping his options for the future open. He’s fully aware that the course gives him the foundation to become a Chartered Accountant, when combined with an external Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification afterwards.

The wide array of course modules also gives him the chance to specialise later on. He says: “We have things like Law for Accounting, and Operations Management. Then we have Management Accounting - different subsections - and, whatever we feel strongest in, we can explore in more detail in year three.”

Jack has also made use of career fairs held at the University which introduce him to recruiting companies in the region. He says: “I’ve been to all of them. They’re very helpful and useful. They inform you about things, tell you what requirements you need, and what you need to do.”

The fairs have given him ideas to focus on as he starts to think about his career. 

Beyond the course

Jack has stepped out of his comfort zone by playing a sport through the Union of Students that he’d never have thought of taking part in - American football. He went to the trial day despite not having seen a game in his life. He found it was a welcoming team who thought he would be a good addition. He says: “Being wanted and having that feeling there was what drew me to that.”

He even got the team award for ‘Offensive Rookie of the Year’ for being the best new offence player. His parents have been able to watch several of his games during the season. 

Coming to uni by his own admission has “been a massive step up" as he has become used to operating independently for the first time. "It’s halfway to being an adult," he says. "Worst comes to worst, you ring your parents and ask, ‘does this go in the wash with this?’, or ‘how do I cook that?’ It’s a fun challenge.”

Having quickly adapted to university and student life despite a turbulent end to his A-levels, Jack’s advice to others in the same situation is simple.

Jack Hanson outside

I’d say go for it – that’s the main thing. It’s been a very smooth journey with no complications, so I’m pretty happy.

Jack Hanson
Accounting and Finance student