We caught up with Programme Director of our BSc Accounting programme, Jennifer Rose, to find out how she has designed this programme to give her students the tools they need to achieve their ambitions in business or finance.
A degree in Accounting from Alliance MBS provides students with the flexibility to work in financial management in practically any industry across the world, including: sports, charity, fashion, healthcare, government, or global events.
Congratulations also go to Jenni as this year she was the recipient of the University’s Distinguished Achievement Medal for Lecturer of the Year 2020. This reflects the hard work and dedication Jenni has put into developing the BSc Accounting degree over the past few years, to give her students access to myriad opportunities, and ensure they are best prepared to take on the working world.
What skills can students expect to gain?
“A key aim of the ICAEW, the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, is to ‘work with others to develop strong, accountable and open economies where people can trust data, leaders can make good decisions, public finances are transparent and businesses are accountable.’ The BSc Accounting degree, in partnership with ICAEW, is specifically designed to help you to develop skills in seven key areas which are vital for accountants and business leaders; Adding value, Communication, Decision making, Ethics and Professionalism, Problem solving, Teamwork and Technical competence.”
What makes BSc Accounting unique?
“We are a relatively small course focused on the individual needs of our students and able to connect our students to businesses, both in accountancy and in industry to give real insight into professional life. As a small cohort, we visit potential graduate employers and industry-leading company’s offices (e.g. Grant Thornton, KPMG and the Co-op) and we can also take trips to Chartered Accountants Hall in London. We look after the wellbeing of our students and give them the study skills support needed to achieve their potential at Manchester and beyond.”
Can you expand on how you support the wellbeing of your students?
“I want to make sure all students can flourish on the programme, so I have initiated regular ‘mental health’ check-ins and encouraged an increased awareness of individual’s own mental health and focused on how my students can support each other. If you don’t feel good, you can’t learn, so I am passionate about student wellbeing. For this work I was recognised with a Commended Award for Making a Difference from the Vice-President for Social Responsibility.”
“From day one, our students receive wellbeing support, and mentoring from experienced academic advisors from the accounting and finance department who support students closely through their time on the programme and beyond. My students receive focused regular newsletters updating them on the three pillars for their programme; wellbeing, study skills and employability, with input from wellbeing specialists, the library team and careers services to support their development on the programme.”
How do you further support the employability and career prospects of BSc Accounting students?
“Our students are supported by close guidance and employability coaching to help their chances of success when applying for a placement in their chosen industry. I’ve also worked closely with the ICAEW and local employers to gain their input about key skills they are looking for in our graduates, and fed this back into the programme to boost students’ employability. In addition I’ve focused on growing the links to local, national and international employers. Over 35 different employers, such as Airbus, PwC, Beevers and Struthers, are engaged and set to attend speed interviewing events and new speed feedback networking sessions with BSc Accounting students. Company representatives come to Alliance MBS to interview our students and often offer placement years and internships following on from these events.
Finally, we have a new coaching programme with student involvement, giving coaches the incentive to get Associate HEA membership from their work. Two second year coaches support a self-selected group of 4-5 first year students, meeting with them regularly, coming to their classes to support their study skills and employability development.”
Who teaches on the programme?
“On the programme, you will hear first-hand from our world-class lecturers how their experience as chartered accountants saw them play a prominent role in company strategy, sit on company boards and play a vital role at the highest level of organisations. We also have a strong input from academics like Chris Humphrey (a leading academic on the Brydon report and audit reform) and Ken McPhail (Deputy Head and Director of Research at AMBS) to stimulate your intellectual curiosity and original thinking applied, right from first year.”
What help do first year students get to adapt to University study?
“We co-created, with a second year student and a librarian, a study skills curriculum of seven key study skills (Academic Integrity, Academic Essay writing in English, Collaborative learning, Information Literacy, Critical Thinking, Using Feedback, Assessment Literacy) and a reflective journal for students to accelerate their learning and maximise their grades. This study skills programme ensures that students get the chance to develop note taking, reading, essay writing, referencing, critical thinking and assessment literacy skill so that they can excel in exams.”
We also have a new Blackboard community, LinkedIn groups, Skype chatter group, welcome back meetings and feedback meetings to increase communication across the programme as well as a series of videos of “things I’d wish I’d known” offering advice from older students to those in the year below them.”
Do students benefit from any partnerships with professional bodies?
“The BSc Accounting programme now has 8 partnerships with companies and professional organisations, most recently with CPA Australia. CIMA, CIPFA, ACCA, CPA Australia and the ICAEW all offer exemptions from their examinations, and students can count their work placement year towards the experience they need to gain qualified chartered accountant status. In addition, I have worked with the ICAEW to give all our students free membership on their student scheme so that they can access additional training on Xero and Excel and apply for part qualified status (CFAB status without placement year and Business Finance Professional (BFP) with placement year). Other partnerships include ICAS, CFA and the Co-op. The Co-op currently offer an annual careers insight day/workshop and a summer internship paid work experience for five BSc Accounting students (this is approximately 1 in 10 students on the programme) from Alliance MBS in the summer of their second year.”
Where do students go after graduating?
“Graduates progress to work across a variety of industries and companies, as well as securing roles in the Big Four firms and smaller and medium-sized accounting firms. Recent destinations of our graduates include: Accenture, Airbus, Aldi, BAE Systems, Barclays, BDO, Beevers & Struthers, BNY Mellon, BP, Cooper Parry, Cowgills, Deloitte, E&Y, GCC Accountants, Grant Thornton, HSBC, Innospec, KPMG, Lloyds, L'Oreal, Mazars, Morrisons, NHS, PwC, RBS, Rolls Royce, Shop Direct (Very Group), The Hut Group, Unilever.”