Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs

Although getting your first job is not easy, being persistent and learning from what went wrong at the previous interview will contribute to getting that role.

Course: Mathematics with Business and Management (3 Years) [BSc]

Course dates: 2002-2005

Current occupation: Accountant at AstraZeneca


How has your career progressed since graduation?

My first relevant role was at Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) and I secured this role through word of mouth.  Two other graduates from my degree were already working for JLT and told me that they had vacancies and encouraged me to apply.   

The second major step was joining the NHS graduate scheme in September 2006.  I achieved this by applying directly to various schemes.  I don’t believe I would have been offered a place on the graduate scheme had I applied straight from university; the experience I gained at JLT greatly helped me in my future career prospects.    

How has your qualification helped you in your career?    

I believe that by studying mathematics, I gained the confidence and capabilities needed to allow me to perform in each of my roles since leaving the University.  The ability to logically interpret large amounts of numerical data, and translate that in to insightful information for stakeholders, is a key part of a career in finance and my degree has given me that ability.    

What is your greatest achievement to date?    

From a career perspective it is becoming a qualified accountant.    

What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing a similar career route and what skills do you consider to be necessary?    

The choice of degree subject does not exclude someone from becoming an accountant. Not all accountants come from a maths, accountancy or finance background - in fact most don't.  Many accountants I know studied engineering, sciences, languages and other degrees that would be considered broadly as arts subjects.     

The important thing is that they are good analytically and can follow things through logically, which is a skill that can be demonstrated in all degrees. 

I would also advise someone that they should not worry if they do not know what they are going to do once they graduate, as the right job will come along if they keep focused.

When I graduated in 2005, I did not have a clue what I was going do as a career.  Some students managed to get a very good job on a graduate scheme straight away and others, like me, did not. 

One similarity between 2005 and today seems to be the widely held belief that the job market is getting more competitive year-on-year.  Although getting a first job is not easy, being persistent and learning from what went wrong at the previous interview will contribute to getting that role.    

What did you most enjoy about your time at Manchester?    

I loved living in Manchester.  When I started working for the NHS, I moved from Manchester to Birmingham and then to London, but after three and a half years away my wife and I made the decision to move back.  Also the student community in Manchester is second to none; everything is catered for up and down Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road.    

Why would you recommend the University as a good place to study?   

I would recommend the University because of the variety of opportunities available to students, the reputation the University has amongst employers, and the fact that Manchester is a great city in which to live as a student.    

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