#SBSStudents: Finance for all? An insight into the world of money, power, and poverty

By Anna Hinds, BA Accounting and Financial Management Student

Last week was a real eye-opener into the true world of finance for both the first and second-year students at the University of Suffolk. The true identity of finance was revealed in the form of two field trips for the second-year students, one of which we were accompanied by the enthusiastic first-years, who rekindled our excitement for the subject that we are studying.

The week started off with the second-year students paying a visit to the Ipswich Citizen’s Advice Bureau, a UK charity specialising in advice and support for people in all kinds of difficulty, from debt to bills to unemployment and benefit support. A detailed and informative workshop was delivered to us by Nelleke, who quite clearly explained to us the role of the CAB; their aims as a business; and what they help their clients to achieve. It was also made explicitly clear that they are non-judgemental and confidential, which is of particular importance to their clients, so that they feel confident and have no shame in asking for help when it is needed. The CAB is a free advice service (a charity), which is indirectly funded by taxpayers to provide a free service to the user. The two main aims of the organisation are to: give help to people advice for any problems that they face; and to seek change and influence decision makers. In a modern society where we are continually fighting for equality, should a charity organisation have to beg those in government etc. to change the laws to make things fairer for those who are at the bottom of the social hierarchy? I wonder.

PHOTOS: Left to right: students at a CAB workshop; students at the ICAEW listening to Martin’s presentation; on the City of London tour, taking in the scenery and architecture.

We were also given a task on debt to complete, which highlighted serious consequences to us that we were unaware of – including the fact that a £1,000 fine is incurred for not paying a TV licence. Leaflets and budgeting programmes were also received which is used for clients to help maintain their money; this was particularly useful for us as well.

The second field trip, despite starting out on a dull, cold, and wet journey into Liverpool Street Station, was soon turned around with the awe-inspiring buildings and architecture of the City of London as we embarked on our tour of the square mile, giving us a brief, but informative overview of the City’s history and quirky facts too. The guide was the talented historian Marilyn Greene, who used to work for the Victoria & Albert Museum and is a professional historian. The huge sky scrapers and modern yet historic feel of the city oozed out the feelings of wealth, power, and knowledge, making us students feel somewhat medicore in comparison. Our trip to the City was further extended by a visit to the ICAEW, where they kindly provided us with lunch and refreshments, before delivering presentations to us, one of which by Dominic Sheehy explained what it entails to embark on our journey to becoming a fully-fledged ICAEW Chartered Accountant. This was followed by another presentation by Martin Martinoff, which even though it may have been less formal, definitely left food for thought, and much room for discussion and debate about the culture and ethics of modern day finance, including: what is our goal? Why do we want to be accountants? Is there room for accountants in the future?

The day ended with a brief but relaxing meditation session with Professor Atul Shah, the organiser of the whole experience, which enabled us to reflect on our journeys in life, ranging from our school memories, up to the present day. This exercise helped us to think about our futures after graduation, and what it is that we are striving to aim for.
Overall these two field trips have given us invaluable experiences, and have undoubtedly taught us a lot. On a personal level, it has struck a huge reality check for me; the stark contrast between organisations such as the CAB and big central banks in the City, where it is extremely clear that more than ever before, the contrast and gap between the rich and the poor in this country is huge – and what can we do about it? Will we ever see the time when a bank opens its doors to teach the financially illiterate how to understand mortgages, APR rates, and even the basics of finance, or will we have to keep relying on small charity organisations such as the CAB to pick up the pieces that these larger organisations have created and dumped onto society?

For more information on our Accounting and Finance degrees, please see our website.

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#SBSStudents: Charlotte on how her degree has helped build confidence

Graduation 2017 - Prize Giving (Charlotte Bale)
Charlotte with course leader Prof. Atul Shah. Photo (C) Suffolk Business School.

Charlotte graduated with a 1st Class BA(Hons) Business Management and Finance degree from the Suffolk Business School.

Job title, and organisation: Project Co-ordinator at Adnams plc

What will you be doing in the role?
The main responsibility of my role is to ensure that the project is running smoothly – this includes tracking the budget, managing the project calendar and Kanban board, and maintaining all project documentation. I am also responsible for all project communications.

How has your degree prepared you for the role? 
My BA(Hons) Business Management and Finance degree gave me the financial knowledge I need for my day-to-day tasks, as well as giving me the confidence to involve myself in discussions and question current ideas and processes. Communication is an incredibly important part of my role, I did not realise at the time but writing my assignments really strengthened these skills. Moreover, before university, I would get so nervous giving presentations but now I love them!

What was your favourite experience of your course?
I really enjoyed all of my time at the University of Suffolk, and I have some fantastic memories. One of my favourite experiences was working on my dissertation. My supervisor was incredibly helpful and put me in contact with several local businesswomen. I was able to meet and interview some really inspiring women and attended a Suffolk Business Women event at Seckford Hall. It was an incredible experience I will never forget.

Do you have any advice for current and prospective students?
As cliché as it sounds, hard work pays off.
But that doesn’t mean you have to hide away in books for the next three years. Stash up on snacks and work with your friends in the library – working together and bouncing ideas off each other really helps.
Go and see your lecturers if you’re struggling, they want you to do well too – they’re on the same team as you! They are also usually very passionate about their subject (once you get them talking, it’s hard to get them to stop) and they will make sure you’re on the right track.
And lastly, there will be times when it seems hard but getting your degree is such an amazing achievement – you will not regret it!

#SBSStudents: Kesha offers her perspective on studying in the Suffolk Business School

Graduation 2017 - Prize Giving (Kesha Allen)
Kesha (centre) with the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines team. Photo (C) Suffolk Business School

Kesha studied BA(Hons) Event Management, and graduates in October 2017. She now works as the Events Manager at Copdock Hall.

My time at the University of Suffolk has been invaluable and has motivated me to strive for more!

The support from lecturers has been amazing and the fact staff know you by name is a welcome factor when you are stepping into experiences outside of your comfort zone.

Having been appointed Events Manager at Copdock Hall Venue and Vineyard, I am excited to put my knowledge of events and business into practice. Coming from a hospitality management background, I wanted to contextualize event and business management to equip me of theoretical knowledge and gain practical skills.

In my first year, I completed a one-year internship with a local children’s charity, providing me with hands on experience of running community events, before becoming involved with a student led project creating, implementing and managing a corporate event. These practical learning opportunities bridged the link between theory and the work place, providing unforgettable and valuable experiences during my undergraduate degree.

For me, having the choice of modules in my final years meant learning was driven by my own interests and what I wanted to gain out of the overall course. Management accounting and both contemporary issues of event management and then business were great modules to understand the wider concepts in which organizations operate and understanding the different directions business and events take.

The multiple workshops improving your professional standing and personal development meant there was much more than just course modules to gain from the undergraduate experience.

The past three years at the University of Suffolk has encouraged me to make the choices desire, set goals and be amazed at what you can achieve, and finally, you always get back what you put in!

Kesha’s LinkedIn profile can be found here.