How the WBS Foundation Year enabled me to join my dream university

25 January 2021

From taking part in a Coventry 2021 City of Culture project, and securing a consulting internship, to making friends for life, BSc Accounting & Finance (with Foundation Year) student, Hanna shares her WBS journey.

I am the eldest of four and come from a family with very humble beginnings; my family and I left my country, Eritrea, in pursuit of freedom, peace and hope. A few years ago we were refugees and, having gone through a very perilous journey to get here, my parents' aims were for us to concentrate on our education and move forward. The university dream was so embedded in our goals that there would be several reminders of how important such an achievement would be for my family, but also the wider community too.

Joining my dream university

From a very young age, I have always strived for better and so studying at a Russell Group university has always been my dream. However, due to unforeseen circumstances my A level studies did not go as planned, and after conducting lots of research I found the BSc Accounting and Finance (with Foundation Year) course at WBS which was perfectly suited to me. The Foundation Year was a very enlightening experience for me as I have made friends for life. I also really enjoyed the open discussions, presentations, lectures and seminars from such supportive and motivating academics.

Hanna at employment eventDuring my Foundation Year, I had the opportunity to attend employer events with GSK and Pepsico. The WBS CareersPlus team were really helpful and supportive and reiterated the importance of ‘maximising my university experience’. In addition to this, I also had the opportunity to do a month-long industrial placement which was something that really appealed to me so I could gain some industry experience. Unfortunately, due to the impact of COVID-19 I was unable to do my placement, however I knew the interview experience would be beneficial to me in the future. The CareersPlus team supported me with preparing for my assessment centre and interview, and I was able to understand more about the skills employers are looking for. Luckily, I managed to put this experience into practice, and I recently secured and completed an internship with NextWave Consulting as a result.

Making the most of every opportunity

Whilst in my Foundation Year, I made the most of immersing myself in as many opportunities as I could. I had the opportunity to be involved in the Coventry 2021 City of Culture project which was very character building and allowed me work on my leadership skills. In addition to this, I was involved in the Morgan Stanley’s trading simulation day, a Sky mentoring programme (with Warwick Women’s Society), giving back to the refugee community through Enactus, and I also joined the US Programme.

Hanna at US programmeThe US Programme was founded by a WBS Foundation Year alumna, Victoria. Having met Victoria at the Foundation Year interview day, she was one of many people that inspired me to join WBS, and to now be part of her programme is an absolute dream. As part of my role I have the privilege of being the Head of Birmingham, informally mentoring a group of girls and participating in events. During the summer I assisted in the delivery of two online events sponsored by Google and BDO. The latter experience allowed me to connect with several individuals, gain hands-on marketing skills, and contribute towards the collective goal of inspiring girls from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds. My summer project within the foundation year allowed me to understand and implement reflection-in-action so that I was better placed to improve on my presenting and communication skills during such events.

The Lion Rock Scholarship

From being able to study at WBS to gaining a full academic scholarship, my entire journey has been quite surreal. Whilst applying for the Lion Rock Scholarship I was supported by my personal tutor at WBS and members of the Undergraduate Student Experience team, and without their support I simply could not have done it. Since the beginning, the staff at WBS have really believed in me and pushed me to reach my goals.


My advice for those joining WBS

So, for any prospective undergraduates who are looking to study at WBS, these are my top tips:

  1. Be open minded  communicate with people outside of your course and department as this will help you build your network.
  2. Organisation is key  leaving things until the last minute isn’t advised, especially during group and individual projects.
  3. Immerse yourself in the university experience – make sure you join societies, competitions, and events as these opportunities are not only beneficial for your CV but support character building and are a lot of fun!

Our Foundation Year course is designed to prepare you for degree-level study. In a supportive environment, we are here to help you realise your ambitions and unleash your full potential.

Find out more about the Foundation Year course.