Placement or No Placement?

Hi, my name is Becci and I am in my final year at the university, studying Accounting, Business Finance and Management (ABFM for short, as it is a bit of a mouthful). As I have just returned to the university after spending a year on placement, I thought I would use this blog post to share my experiences with you!

The York Management School and Placements
 Having been offered a place to study at the York Management School (TYMS), the likelihood is that your degree choice will include the option to spend a year in industry, which will typically take place in your 3rd year of study. The search for placements will start at the beginning of 2nd  year, some people start to apply earlier than others, and generally people start to receive offers from the end of October, right up until the following August. There is a vast amount of support offered by TYMS, starting before the application period starts, when there are opportunities to visit our dedicated placement coordinator Nicola in order to spruce up your CV and receive guidance on the nature of work you might want to do while on placement. You will then have access to a section of the universities Virtual Learning Environment that is dedicated to placements, where vacancies from across the country will be advertised and updated on a daily basis. Hundreds of companies are advertised by the university, including Morgan Stanley, PwC, Disney, Jaguar Land Rover and Boots, so there really is something for everyone.

My Placement Experience
 I was lucky in receiving a placement offer quite early in the process, but that was after a lot of applications being sent out and receiving a fair few rejections. While applying for any form of work, rejections are going to be inevitable, so I found that the best way was to keep positive and keep applying, as all the hard work will eventually pay off (which it definitely did for me and a lot of others in the management school!).  The company that offered me a placement was Experian, a global information services group, whose operational headquarters were based in Nottingham. Having never even been to Nottingham before my interview, the thought of moving there was quite daunting, but I managed to find a room to rent in a house share where I was living with some great people, and I then settled into the city surprisingly quickly.
At Experian, I was part of the Group Financial Reporting team, who held a lot of responsibility in the company’s financial reporting process, including providing all the financial data for the Annual Report. I was under the impression that as a placement student, my role would involve a lot of coffee runs and printing, but that definitely wasn’t the case! From the very beginning, I was given my own specific role that was relied upon by the rest of the team and the wider company. The thought of having so much responsibility (something I actively avoided as a student) was scary at first, but I received so much help and support that I quickly became comfortable with the work required of me.
While on placement, I was worried that working 9-6 would mean my social life would suffer, I was very wrong! At Experian, there were around 20 placement students across various different departments, as well as Interns, Apprentices and Graduates, meaning that I got to know some great people and made some incredible friends. Due to meeting people that had a different interests and hobbies to myself, I got involved with things that I am almost certain that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. This included going on my first ski holiday, trips to Trent Bridge to watch cricket and camping in the Lake District. There were always events going on inside and outside of work, which gave me hope that it wasn’t going to be all work and no play once I left university!

Placement or No Placement?
 As you can probably tell, I absolutely loved my placement year. Not only did I meet a lot of great people and have some incredible experiences, but the skills and knowledge that I have gained from the year have been invaluable. I have come back to university feeling so much more confident in myself and my ability to do well in the finance industry, and the experience has been a massive help whilst applying for graduate schemes.
However, placement isn’t the be-all and end-all. If you decide not to do a placement, that definitely doesn’t put you at any sort of disadvantage to those who did. I have a number of friends from both ABFM and Management (BA and BSc) that chose not to do a placement, and they have now gone on to work at incredible places such as KPMG, PwC and Hays. Placement or not though, I am more than confident you will have an amazing time during your time studying at TYMS!

I hope you found this little insight into a placement year useful, and if you have any questions just drop them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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Hi! I'm Becci, a final year student at the University of York, studying Accounting, Business Finance and Management.

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