o2xygen
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Hey,

So I just finished my degree in Biomedical Science at a non red-brick uni. I got a 1st in my degree but only got BCD at A-level (240 UCAS points) in bio, physics and chem. I also got a C in Critical Thinking at AS (40 points if counted).

I've decided I want to work in finance but I'm not sure where to begin looking at the moment as many graduate schemes will automatically filter me because of my UCAS points. I know PwC have the inspired talent programme which requires 240 UCAS points and a 1st but that's the only one I've found so far. I've looked through many of the top 100 firms and they all seem to require 280/300 points.

I've been told you can do accounting with any degree as a degree proves your academic ability, which getting a 1st should show surely? It's pretty frustrating that grad schemes look at UCAS points despite the fact you can do accounting straight from school. Had I known UCAS points would be this much of a burden I'd definitely have replaced chemistry with one of the 'easier' A-levels. I was originally on a 240 point course at uni but switched to the 300 point course after getting the highest mark in my first year.

As I didn't study anything like business or economics at school can anyone recommend any books I can read to improve my knowledge of finance? I've currently got far more time than I know what to do with, so I've been learning Excel and reading the financial news to help with interviews but would like to learn as much as possible.
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AW1983
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It's unfair because you chose tough subjects and got pretty solid marks for them, but not enough to beat the autofilters. The same firms complain because of the calibre of students who apply to them but at the same time they're actively encouraging them to avoid a challenge and study easy subjects at A-Level. It's all part of the very stupid world we live in.

Outrageous though it is, graduate schemes might be largely closed off to you, although I think you stand a reasonable chance with PwC, assuming you can present well at interview. Alternatively, have you considered starting in industry; more firms in industry don't look at A-Levels.
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o2xygen
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I'll definitely be applying to PwC but I'm not feeling too confident about it right now, particularly if I'm up against people who actually did finance related degrees and A-levels. I assume there will be a limited number of places for the inspired talent scheme too.

(Original post by AW1983)
Alternatively, have you considered starting in industry; more firms in industry don't look at A-Levels.

Any starting point would be great right now but I'm not sure where I should be looking for these places.

I'm also trying to decide between tax and audit. How easy is it to switch from audit to tax or vice versa?

Am I also right in assuming that AAT is pretty much a waste of time doing after going to uni and I should be trying for ACA/ACCA/CIMA?
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AW1983
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(Original post by o2xygen)
I'll definitely be applying to PwC but I'm not feeling too confident about it right now, particularly if I'm up against people who actually did finance related degrees and A-levels. I assume there will be a limited number of places for the inspired talent scheme too.
Once you get onto the psychometric tests, you've passed the qualification hurdle. I've helped at assessment centres myself and by the time you've been through psychometric tests and e-tray and group exercises there are much more important things to discuss than your A-levels and you will be assessed based on who you are and what the assessor has seen, not what it says on some three or four year old piece of paper. Once you pass the initial application, no one will ever look at your qualifications again.

I'm also trying to decide between tax and audit. How easy is it to switch from audit to tax or vice versa?
Depends which office you work in. Most tax graduates tend to do ACA first then CTA and I've known audit graduates to switch to tax at this point.

Am I also right in assuming that AAT is pretty much a waste of time doing after going to uni and I should be trying for ACA/ACCA/CIMA?
Sort of. You can do it and get some exemptions from the others later on but it's not really worth it as it's faster to just start with ACA/ACCA/CIMA. Most graduates I know who do AAT do so either because that's as far as they want to go or because they're on a scheme that does AAT first, then ACA.
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