Fiona Steven - BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance

Fiona Steven - BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance
An ambitious and resilient student from Caithness celebrates achieving a first-class BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance after finding the experience of moving away from home to attend university daunting.

Fiona Steven, who moved to the Granite City from Wick to study at RGU, is grateful to have pushed outside her comfort zone as she graduates with a first-class degree in Accounting and Finance, the university’s highest honours degree possible.

“I’m the first person from my family to move off for university, which made coming to Aberdeen scary. I often experienced feelings of being homesick, but I’m proud that I managed to adapt and have never looked back. It's the best decision I’ve ever made.

“I come from a small, remote town and I knew early on that I wanted to move away from home to experience university life and the opportunities coming from living in a city would bring.

“I had never done any qualifications in accounting before joining RGU, and I remember feeling daunted on my first day as most of the students had completed higher or even advanced higher accounts. However, with excellent teaching and my tutor's support, I finished the first year with good grades, showing that I was at no disadvantage.”

The 22-year-old has seen her hard work rewarded as she also celebrates her upcoming move to Edinburgh to join an accounting firm. She credits her experiences at RGU and the university’s placements as aspects that helped her step onto the career ladder.

“Looking back at how daunting moving to Aberdeen was, I realised how my time at RGU has made me more confident to undertake this new chapter.  

“I was part of ASPIRENorth, who help young people across the North of Scotland find routes into higher education. I came straight from 6th year and was lucky enough to receive 5 unconditional offers from my top 5 university choices.

“RGU was my first choice mainly for the unique placement year, which sets it apart from most other universities. The experience was the highlight of my university career, and its importance became evident when I started attending interviews for graduate jobs. During the process, I felt much more confident and had a lot of knowledge and corporate experience to discuss.”

Fiona’s university journey has not been without challenges, not only having to overcome self-doubt but adapt to earning a degree amid a pandemic. Throughout the experience, she appreciates RGU’s approach to supporting its students.

“When deciding where to pursue my career, realising how student support was paramount to RGU and the resources available to us was another major factor that made it an easy choice. Little did I know, back in 2018, that this would make all the difference throughout the global pandemic.

“At first, I was mostly concerned about my exams, feeling demotivated and isolated from my course friends, but RGU gave us great support. I'm thankful that early on our course leaders made it clear that our learning would not be affected and quickly moved classes online. I'm also grateful that RGU decided not to give us a free pass to our exams like some other universities, helping us not lose exemptions from professional bodies such as ICAs.”

Looking back over her last four years at RGU, she added: “What I think is great about RGU is the career focus. The university has amazing connections with firms, which is how we were lucky enough to get our placements. Our course material was also continuously updated to reflect on any changes in what the professional bodies/employers needed. This approach works in our favour, as shown by the high percentage of graduates who leave with relevant job opportunities lined - up.”

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