Student Name: Yasmin Ara

Course: Business Management (Graduate Apprenticeship)

Hometown: Edinburgh, Scotland

Year of Course: 3rd

About you

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Yasmin. I’m 21 and work full time at Royal London alongside my degree. I enjoy weightlifting and keeping active in my spare time. 

Why did you choose to study a Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) at QMU, and what attracted you to the course?

I’ve always enjoyed keeping busy and was torn between whether to leave my role and to go to university full time. When this opportunity arose, it was the best of both worlds. I’ve had the ability to gain experience in the working world and utilise what I’ve learnt within academia. 

The Course

What have you most enjoyed about your course?

The people. As a GA, we’ve always been kept together as a group, and it’s nice having people around you who can understand the difficulty of working and being at university full time. 

How have your lecturers supported your learning?

Lecturers have had to tweak aspects of our assessments slightly [due to the COVID-19 pandemic], but overall, the support has been fine. Although I think it will be difficult for them to completely understand the challenges we face, our lecturers have been extremely helpful when it comes to managing our workload, being flexible on assessment dates and allowing us more time when we have numerous assessments.

What have been some of your challenges with the course and university life? How have you overcome them?

Motivation has been an ongoing challenge for me. Sometimes you do feel like you’re running around like a headless chicken, but once you get to the end of the year, it’s worth it. You’re one step closer to getting a degree!

Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?

Be organised and plan ahead. Try to make a rough guideline of what you’ll do and when at the start of the year and revise it throughout. I find this really helpful when I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed as I know I have everything planned out, so as long as I follow that, I don’t need to worry as much. I would suggest giving yourself as much time as possible to get things done, and I like planning in a few extra days or a week in case something comes up and it puts you behind. 

I would also advise that if you’re struggling, speak up. Most likely, others are feeling the same, and sometimes your GA coordinator can put things in place to alleviate some of the pressure. 

Enhancing student learning and personal development

How has the GA helped you in the workplace in terms of developing a career path?

I’ve been exposed to various modules that have helped me understand what each part of a business focuses on and the challenges departments face. This has also shown me new areas I find interesting and could look into in the future and others I would avoid in my career.

Which University services have you used to support you through your university journey and how have they helped you?

I used the mentoring scheme for one semester, and it definitely helped to have that extra support in a module I didn’t feel too confident in.

Life as a Student at QMU

What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student on a GA programme?

Try to have a good balance between work and your university experience. Take some time out for you!

What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university?

You can do it!

And finally...

What are your plans after graduation? Tell us about your ambitions and where you see yourself in the future?

Continuing to work in financial services, perhaps accounting or human resources. I would like to get exposure to a little bit of everything! 

"As a GA, we’ve always been kept together as a group, and it’s nice having people around you who can understand the difficulty of working and being at university full time."
Yasmin Ara, BA (Hons) Business Management (Graduate Apprenticeship)

[Published July 2021]