Durham students on target for promising careers
(27 April 2011)
Durham University students have overcome tough competition to win internships with two of the world's leading professional services companies.
Economics student Sarah Spriggs and Andrew Moore, who is studying physics, were both successful at the annual TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards held at London's Canary Wharf.
Sarah beat 246 entrants to the Accountancy, Consulting and Economics Undergraduate of the Year Award, sponsored by KPMG. Her prize is a summer internship at KPMG in their Risk and Compliance division. Sarah will spend her first two weeks in the London office before heading to South Africa.
Andrew was the joint-winner of the First Year of the Year Award, sponsored by Ernst & Young, beating 436 entrants to the prize of an internship and a place at the International Leadership Conference in Florida.
Sarah and Andrew emerged as winners after taking part in a series of online tests designed by SHL, application forms, interviews and assessment exercises, which were targeted at students from some of the UK's leading universities.
Including Sarah and Andrew, Durham had 11 finalists in the 12 award categories at the ceremony which was hosted by television presenter and former politician Michael Portillo. Durham was the most successful university at this year's awards, outperforming closest rivals Cambridge, UCL and Bath.
Helen Bobbitt, Assistant Manager, Recruitment Marketing, at KPMG, said: "Sarah placed in the top three for each assessed part of the application process and this meant that her overall score clearly stood out.
"Her answers on the application form were well thought out and considered. It showed a clear understanding of the current issues facing Professional Services firms and a focus on clients.
"We look forward to welcoming Sarah to the firm in the summer."
Stephen Isherwood, Head of Graduate recruitment at Ernst & Young, said: "We have the largest private sector internship and work experience programme in the UK and over the last twelve months, we've seen an unprecedented level of demand for our existing internship and work experience schemes.
"We take pride in nurturing the brightest and best talent in the country. Andrew beat strong competition to win his internship and we are delighted to offer him the opportunity of working with our firm."
The success of Durham's students at the awards comes after the QS World University League rankings 2010 placed Durham in the top 25 globally for employer reputation.
A total of 5,000 blue-chip organisations across the world ranked the quality and demand for Durham's graduates ahead of leading institutions in the UK and major international universities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto and Sydney, as well as a number of Ivy League institutions in the US, including Princeton.
Catherine Richardson, Head of the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre (CEEC), at Durham University, said: "Durham students are renowned by some of the world's leading companies for their employability and the latest awards to Sarah and Andrew reflect this fact.
"Our students benefit from a distinctive environment at Durham, combining world-class research-led education with our unique collegiate system and student-led extra-curricular activities in sport, the arts and volunteering.
"This allows our students to develop a broad range of skills, such as leadership and critical thinking, which are so highly sought after by employers."