Do yourself proud! Martin talks of how there's nothing to lose when applying for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards

I was just finishing some January assignments at university and had a free afternoon when I thought I would apply. I always wanted to apply, and the Department of Economics at Warwick sent around emails encouraging us to do so, but I was not quite sure which category to go for and didn’t have too much time to look into it. Once the assignments were out of the way, I concluded that the Future CFO category best suited my skills set. Not only that, but the prize – a trip around Europe – looked incredible!

After answering three competency questions, we had four online tests to do. These were quite hard, especially given the time pressures, but, ultimately, if I wasn’t very good at analysing pie charts or answering the other numerical/logical tests, then I wouldn’t make a very good CFO anyway! So it was a very good test and one that tells you a lot about yourself.

Soon after, I got an email from ACCA inviting me to the next round: record yourself in a one-minute video outlining your views on Brexit! This was something I had done a lot of research in, and understandably had a lot of interest in given I study economics, so I was very happy to do so, but there were still some nerves knowing you have to record yourself on camera!

Amazingly I got through to the next round: a debate with an MP furthering our views on Brexit from what we outlined in the video. This was a superbly well run event and, given the calibre of students, I was so pleased to be able to share the room with these people and give my inputs.

Whatever the outcome, I knew I had done myself proud with my research and met some fantastic people who I could learn a lot from, but it was then amazing to get the email telling me I had got through to the final!

I was so excited for this event, as were my university! After a long, but ultimately very fun and interactive, selection process, this was a day for us to mingle and get to know other incredible like-minded people. It was such an incredible opportunity to get here, meet Fiona Bruce, meet other ACCA professionals and build my network with other students from different degree fields. The three-course meal was fantastic and, while I did not win, I was super pleased for the eventual winner and I know I walk away from the competition much better placed in terms of the graduate job market with this on my CV, and also with an ever-increasing network built.

My advice is clear: apply! I walked away so proud of myself – I knew I didn’t let myself down and couldn’t have done much better – so there is nothing to lose. Be yourself and utilise every opportunity in life to make yourself stand out – and this is one of the best ones to take!

Where are they now?

Analyst at Goldman Sachs.