Naomi Pallant - BSc Economics with Spanish | Grant Thornton UK, London
I studied Economics with Spanish at Birmingham, graduating in 2016. The course at Birmingham really appealed to me as it is (or was when I was applying) one of a small number of universities in the country that offer Economics as a major with language as a minor - a lot of universities I looked at only offered this combination as a joint honours programme, which I didn’t want as I wanted to be able to have the choice of a full economics course alongside a language module. And in fact in my final year I took French as a module too, so I was fortunate enough to study essentially three subjects.
The course was four years, with one year spent in Spain on a year abroad, where I studied Economics at the University of Castellón, on the East Coast near Valencia. This was one of the most challenging yet rewarding years, learning to adapt to a different culture, different university, different teaching methods (which at times was particularly challenging!) and studying my degree subject in another language.
And of course the amazing campus and competitive and non-competitive extracurricular sports and activities were a huge pull for me. Some of my favourite memories are from being part of the University Dance Squad, travelling the country to national competitions and performing at events such as Xplosion.
As well as being part of the University Dance Squad for the three years I was in Birmingham, I was also on the Committee in my final year, which provided me with vital collaboration and leadership skills, both of which have helped me in my career to date. I was also a student representative for the Economics Department and was on the Student and Staff Committee for the Business School. I would say being involved in opportunities academically, not just extracurricular, definitely gave me a boost when it came to applications and interviews for Graduate Schemes, and I encourage all those still at Birmingham to take up as many opportunities that you can whilst at Uni. There will never be so many opportunities on your doorstep again, and it is so easy to take that for granted!
School: Birmingham Business School
Department: Department of Economics
Programme: BSc Economics with Spanish
Career: Business Growth Services Associate, Grant Thornton UK, London
The sense of community that Birmingham creates is rare and so important at University; those final few weeks as a Graduand, post-finals before graduation, with Grad Ball and all the other celebrations, really reveals how much Birmingham is the home away from home for so many students at Birmingham.
"Those four university years were hands down the most amazing and unforgettable four years, both academically and socially - I couldn’t have had a better experience, I met friends for life and made memories that will be hard to top."
I am currently working at Grant Thornton UK, the sixth largest professional services firm in the world, as an Associate in the Business Growth Services Division of the organisation. We work with some of the UK’s fastest growing small to medium sized businesses to help them to achieve their growth potential. I am on an 24-month rotational programme; so far, I have spent six months in the marketing team and six months as an Analyst. I am extremely fortunate to be working for such a large organisation where I have learnt and continue to learn huge amount. I am looking forward to what is to come within the firm.
My experience at Birmingham provided me with the tools to succeed in the business world. The knowledge from the Economics department and Business School and the support from the Careers department, teamed with the life skills I learned as a student enabled me to be successful in my applications to Graduate roles and to enter a corporate environment as a young professional.
I urge all students, particularly those applying from Grad schemes, to take up the opportunities that the Business School offer with regard to application and interview help and guidance. I attended a 1-day assessment centre workshop, where there were 4 external speakers from large firms giving their advice, interview preparation, interview and assessment-centre-like scenarios and team building games that I feel were invaluable and prepared me so well for the assessment centres that I attended.