One of the main things that appealed to me about Aberystwyth before attending my first open day was the possibility to participate in the Year in Employment Scheme (YES). This was something that I had always had the intention of doing and it was important that the university I chose was able to allow me to do this. On attending my first open day, I met a number of University staff members who would become my lecturers, who instantly made my mind up on where I wanted to go to University. They were welcoming, and it didn't feel like you were just a number. This combined with the wonderful coastal location of Aberystwyth were definitely a major selling point for the University.
When looking into my degree scheme, I liked the variety of modules, and the flexibility that allowed me to study modules from within other areas of the School of Management and Business. Looking back, I think this gave us accountants a strong overview of subjects such as Economics, Marketing and Management. The new facilities in the Rheidol Building have been invaluable, and having communal space specific to SMB staff and students was something I personally liked best - whether you were having a break between lectures and sitting talking with friends, or revising for exams where you could just pop upstairs if you had any questions for your lecturers. We are very lucky with our SMB lecturers, they are very supportive and this has been a huge help throughout my time at Aber.
As for making friends - I was terrified at the thought of not knowing anyone when first moving into halls but then you come to the realisation that every single first year student was in the same position as you, and it suddenly becomes a lot easier. I met a girl moving into my halls the same time as me, and before we knew it, we had rounded up a group and went for a walk to the seafront, before coming back up and going on our first night out as University students. Yes, it was scary, but it was about stepping out of your comfort zone, and that is something that has run throughout my whole Aber experience which has made it much more than just a degree for me.
I really enjoyed my subject area after my first year but as I had no practical experience in that area, I emailed around local accountants to see if I could get some work experience. I managed to secure a work placement at a local accountant for 4 weeks before I went onto my second year in University. After realising that a career in finance was something that I wanted to pursue, I started to look for an undergraduate placement to undertake between my second and final year, which resulted in my placement (on the YES scheme) at the Welsh Government where I worked as a Finance Officer. My year out with the Welsh Government was invaluable to me - not only did it give me a full year’s salary but it made the third year of my course much easier.
Since finishing university, I have secured a job with the BBC, and I am currently working as an Assistant Accountant, and will soon be starting my professional qualifications to become a fully qualified accountant. I truly believe that the relevant work experience I gained during my Year in Employment was a major factor in securing my job here and I would encourage all future SMB students to register for the scheme as I can assure you that it will be invaluable when it comes to applying for graduate roles.