CLAS Graduate Profile

Languages at Liverpool recently caught up with Jamie Leaney, who graduated with a first-class degree in German and Business Studies in 2012. Jamie has recently embarked on a highly prestigious a graduate training scheme at Ernst & Young, working in Financial Services Auditing. He tells us more about the scheme:

Accountancy is not really an area I ever thought of entering as a German student and I’d never really done anything related to it in the Management School, but I was looking for a varied role that would enable me to travel, work with a number of companies and gain some real commercial exposure. The job at Ernst & Young fitted that bill perfectly, and on hearing that they take students from any degree programme I decided to go for it!

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Jamie Leaney outside the office of Ernst and Young, London

As part of the graduate scheme we have to qualify as Chartered Accountants, so the first couple of months were spent studying.  After a couple of months of hard work we’ve now passed our first set of exams and are at work on our first clients. I’ve spent my first assignments working on parts of two insurance groups, one with revenue of over £2 billion, and another with revenue of over €90 billion, so am gaining an unrivalled insight into business and seeing some real responsibility from the very beginning.

So how did my time in the Cypress Building prepare me for a job that on the face of it sounds completely unrelated to what I studied? For starters, the tutors at Liverpool are really aware that the reason we are all at university is to find a job when the sad time comes when we all leave, so there is a real focus on employability in the way that the language is taught. The university has great business contacts, so I managed to get a fantastic work placement for Siemens in Munich for my year abroad which gave me a lot of practical skills which I’m now able to put to use in my graduate career. You also gain a real cultural awareness studying languages at Liverpool, which is invaluable working for a global firm where you are frequently exposed to other cultural working practices. With financial services being such a global industry I’ve been handed a lot of client documentation that is not only in German, but also in Spanish so I’m even making use of what I remember from my Spanish A-Level! Furthermore, as a firm with such international presence we are actively encouraged to consider spending time working abroad, so I hope to do a secondment in the German office once I have all of my exams out of the way.