sh9
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Hi all,

I'm graduating this year in Business Studies and I need some advice before I apply anywhere. Basically I now want to study for the ACCA qualification and these are my options;

I've been looking at the MSc Accounting course from the University of Lincoln;

"The MSc Accounting at the University of Lincoln is a conversion Masters for those with a non-Accounting background who wish to move towards an Accounting-related career path."

This 1 year course has been offering exemptions for ACCA exams F1 - F4 and all fundemental exams. As the course was reviewed in the current year, these exemptions are again yet to be confirmed for 16/17 entry.
If I was to enrol, tuition fees would be set as a 30% discount for me (£5,180).
I would also commute there which would be a 40 minute drive.

My other options would be to go straight into ACCA study (I've been looking at Kaplan finance), but the nearest location is Leeds which is about 1 hour away from me and I assume others on the course would most likely come from an AAT background, whilst my knowledge is entry level. Atm I'm unsure if I'd have access to the Sage software.

Online study through Kaplan is also something I've been looking at, but I'd have to find a way to use the Sage accounting software myself, whereas at Lincoln it would be accessible for me at anytime and I assume there would be support to learn it.

Due to my lack of experience and limited knowledge of accounting (had 4-5 relevant modules during my degree) I'm unsure as to which route to take?

Is the Masters worth it? Is it justifiable? I was looking at it more due to the structure of the course and the support I'd receive, but after deciding that I would be able to commute to Leeds I've been looking at Kaplan.

The fees at Kaplan that I've been quoted would be around £350 per paper for study support (excluding exam fees).

Also, I'm unsure as to how many exams I'd complete in 1 year through the Leeds option. Whereas with the MSc I'd have the exemptions.

Opinions please?
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Msingh22
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I know this is a two-year old post but out of curiosity, what did you end up choosing? I am in a very similar situation :/
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Msingh22)
I know this is a two-year old post but out of curiosity, what did you end up choosing? I am in a very similar situation :/
Perhaps you could give some details about your situation? From looking at your previous posts you seem to have very different circumstances from most who would ask this question. I'd suggest that you also post on the careers: accountancy section if you are thinking about the employment issues relating to choice of courses.
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Msingh22
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Perhaps you could give some details about your situation? From looking at your previous posts you seem to have very different circumstances from most who would ask this question. I'd suggest that you also post on the careers: accountancy section if you are thinking about the employment issues relating to choice of courses.
Well, I didn't get a reply on my previous post (singular) so had to think of something and this was the most relevant post.
I am an international ACCA student with only Professional level exams left to clear. Due to family circumstances, I'm trying to consider the best option for a study visa.
I've done some research and could apply for a 1 year ACCA course and then directly enter a postgraduate program or I could do a 1 year Accounting and Finance Msc which allows you to clear the Prof level exams alongside.
An Msc is necessary because I hope to apply for a graduate scheme at a training firm and try to switch to a tier 2 visa.
I know this whole plan sounds unrealistic but it's the only one I've got right now.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Msingh22)
Well, I didn't get a reply on my previous post (singular) so had to think of something and this was the most relevant post.
I am an international ACCA student with only Professional level exams left to clear. Due to family circumstances, I'm trying to consider the best option for a study visa.
I've done some research and could apply for a 1 year ACCA course and then directly enter a postgraduate program or I could do a 1 year Accounting and Finance Msc which allows you to clear the Prof level exams alongside.
An Msc is necessary because I hope to apply for a graduate scheme at a training firm and try to switch to a tier 2 visa.
I know this whole plan sounds unrealistic but it's the only one I've got right now.
Ok - will answer later, but first:

- do you have a work visa or any good chance of one/ EU passport etc?
- do you have an undergrad degree and if so what in?
- if applying for the Oxford Brookes degree what is your average % on ACCA F1-F9?
- are you limited by location - for example are you planning to stay with relatives in the UK?
- any work experience? If not do you have the sort of extra-curriculars which would look strong on an application to a training firm?
- how good is your spoken and written English?
- any additional things worth noting? Use of computer systems? Languages spoken (meaning useful ones for business)?
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Msingh22
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Ok - will answer later, but first:

- do you have a work visa or any good chance of one/ EU passport etc?
- do you have an undergrad degree and if so what in?
- if applying for the Oxford Brookes degree what is your average % on ACCA F1-F9?
- are you limited by location - for example are you planning to stay with relatives in the UK?
- any work experience? If not do you have the sort of extra-curriculars which would look strong on an application to a training firm?
- how good is your spoken and written English?
- any additional things worth noting? Use of computer systems? Languages spoken (meaning useful ones for business)?
- No because as I understand, I won't be able to satisfy the requirements if i apply outside the uk (not skilled enough to get a job that pays higher than the minimum wage limit) but switching from within the uk is still somewhat achievable but I need a UK degree for that.
- No joined ACCA straight after A levels (AAAB if that helps)
- Haven't received my F9 result but so far it's around 72%
- Yes East Midlands and ideally Lincoln
- No work experience and not that strong extra-curriculars but I'm working on it
- English is good enough
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Msingh22)
- Haven't received my F9 result but so far it's around 72%
That makes the world of difference.
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Msingh22
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(Original post by ajj2000)
That makes the world of difference.
Really? Should I work on getting the OBU degree then? Which I should be doing soon anyway but i kind of got distracted by the Msc route because at least that involves actually going to the uk and then getting a chance to switch my visa...unless the OBU degree leads to a better option?
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Msingh22)
Really? Should I work on getting the OBU degree then? Which I should be doing soon anyway but i kind of got distracted by the Msc route because at least that involves actually going to the uk and then getting a chance to switch my visa...unless the OBU degree leads to a better option?
I've spent some time on google on the bus - will make some notes when at home and able to check/ link. You might need the Oxford Brookes route anyway. I think you need to do a lot of research before going to the UK - and a lot of preparation if you intend to apply for competitive jobs with any chance of success.

Anyway - why not look at Canada/ Australia to see if they are more straightforward for graduates to stay and immigrate? Not my area at all but I read Pakpassion during test matches and people there seem to have a phenomenal knowledge of the subject.

If the UK employment route is not successful what would you consider? Stay in Pakistan? Middle East? Elsewhere? This might make a difference to choice of courses.
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Msingh22
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(Original post by ajj2000)
I've spent some time on google on the bus - will make some notes when at home and able to check/ link. You might need the Oxford Brookes route anyway. I think you need to do a lot of research before going to the UK - and a lot of preparation if you intend to apply for competitive jobs with any chance of success.

Anyway - why not look at Canada/ Australia to see if they are more straightforward for graduates to stay and immigrate? Not my area at all but I read Pakpassion during test matches and people there seem to have a phenomenal knowledge of the subject.

If the UK employment route is not successful what would you consider? Stay in Pakistan? Middle East? Elsewhere? This might make a difference to choice of courses.
Thank you so much for doing this! I really really appreciate it
Okay so here's the thing: it has to be the uk and soon because of the above mentioned family situation otherwise the easiest thing would be to just complete my studies and work experience in Pakistan.
But I agree. This isnt going to be easy and I need more information.
Some of the Msc courses I've searched for don't need a Bsc if I've passed F1-F9 so that's why I initially thought I could skip the OBU option if need be.
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ajj2000
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First of all its important to understand the English expression 'Computer Says No'. This is important to grad scheme type applications.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lu1xyYx3Eo
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Msingh22
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(Original post by ajj2000)
First of all its important to understand the English expression 'Computer Says No'. This is important to grad scheme type applications.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lu1xyYx3Eo
Okayy I don't know if I want to laugh or cry after seeing the video probably cry but I guess it's the reality of the situation...countless rejections and most of them not necessarily justifiable?
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Msingh22)
Okayy I don't know if I want to laugh or cry after seeing the video probably cry but I guess it's the reality of the situation...countless rejections and most of them not necessarily justifiable?
I'll tell a true story of someone who posted on this board a few years ago. My memory will not be complete but anyway, lets go.

This guy left school and joined the army. He achieved a lot there. He did some studies in the army and gained a place at a world class university - I think studying economics at UCL. He was very ambitious, and very clever with a great CV and lots of knowledge and experience. He graduated with prizes and was one of the top students in his year.

Guess what - he struggled to find work. He was rejected from lots of accountancy firms. Why? He didn't have the required A level results.

So guess what - if you got A,B,C in your A levels as an 18 year old, but went on to get a top degree, even a doctorate computer said no.

When you undertake a very challenging course of action you need to be sure the computer won't say no.

I also (not very humbly!) refer to my post on this thread:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...5502234&page=3

Anyone applying for competitive jobs should be aiming to be at least as well prepared as 16 year old applying for medicine.
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Presence
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(Original post by Msingh22)
I know this is a two-year old post but out of curiosity, what did you end up choosing? I am in a very similar situation :/
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ajj2000
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So, I'd guess you have a lot of research to do to stand much if any chance for success. Where to start? I don't know really - my knowledge of immigration issues is very limited and when I've known of peoples experiences will be out of date as the rules change all the time. As a general rule most immigrants won't, as a cultural norm, tell English people what a tough time they have had.

There are two minority groups from Pakistan (that I know of - there may be many more) who are very successful in the UK economy. Both stay low profile. If you have connections to either I'd use them/ make contact with community groups as soon as possible.
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Msingh22
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(Original post by ajj2000)
So, I'd guess you have a lot of research to do to stand much if any chance for success. Where to start? I don't know really - my knowledge of immigration issues is very limited and when I've known of peoples experiences will be out of date as the rules change all the time. As a general rule most immigrants won't, as a cultural norm, tell English people what a tough time they have had.

There are two minority groups from Pakistan (that I know of - there may be many more) who are very successful in the UK economy. Both stay low profile. If you have connections to either I'd use them/ make contact with community groups as soon as possible.
Yep. I'm painfully aware of the fact that besides good grades, I've got nothing else going for me.
I'll try doing the contact thing then. Thank you for everything!
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ajj2000
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So, from what I can make out if you take a course in the UK its somewhat easier to find work here (please check all of this carefully - I just googled for 10 minutes.

You need to find employment to start after your course or within a few months, when your visa runs out. This employment need to pay more than a defined amount and probably fill some criteria as being skilled work. (I don't think you can fulfill that by working as a taxi driver any more). If you transfer from a student visa the employer doesn't need to prove that they couldn't recruit anyone from the EU with the required skills - so much easier than a normal application. The employer has to be registered under some government scheme or apply for registration. They have to be pretty bothered to apply - its a bit slow and a lot of hassle.

There are also limits on how many visas in total will be given each month/ year, but this might not be so bad in your case:

https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/ti...killed-labour/

'A small number of PhD-level roles, jobs that appear on the shortage occupation list and graduates hired through a milkround receive priority and are effectively guaranteed approval.' .

In reality your real problem is getting a job (because you need an employer who will apply for the visa, pays enough, of a suitable type of work) - you wouldn't really have a problem if you had a right to work.

So different things you might consider and their relative difficulty:

- getting a place on a degree/ masters course in the UK - very easy so long as you can pay. Getting a study visa from Pakistan? I don't know - might be difficult.
- Passing a degree or masters course - pretty straightforward.
- Passing the Oxford Brookes degree - pretty straightforward.
- Passing P level ACCA exams, Not at all easy - far tougher than anything above.
- Getting a job which meets the criteria - that's hard so lets focus on that.
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ajj2000
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For jobs lets think of a number of types of jobs you could reasonably apply for with some chance of success. Firstly the visa issue:

- companies registered to make tier 2 appointments. The list of these is readily available on the internet so a good place to start. All big accounting firms seem to be on the list.

- other companies - pretty unlikely in your circumstances. Not impossible - and certainly not unknown - but unlikely. The major chances are (given the pay requirements):

- companies having difficulty recruiting in areas with high salaries. This means South East England or remote areas of Scotland if the oil industry picks up
- some family connection willing to help out
- some disreputable firms looking for cheap labour - I can expand on this if useful.

So big companies are the place to start. You are looking for graduate entry roles, which basically means:

- big 4/ top 20 accounting firms. Possibly smaller firms in London South East.
- large companies in industry

A practical problem is the pay rates for accounting firms. A lot of the firms - including the big 4 - don't pay enough in a lot of their locations:

https://www.pwc.co.uk/careers/studen...rk-permit.html


"Please note that PwC is unable to sponsor any candidates for the following graduate roles as the Home Office's eligibility criteria will not be satisfied:

  • Northern Ireland - all business areas

  • Legal Company Secretarial - all regions

  • Assurance - Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield

  • Deals (Business Recovery Services, Forensics, Valuations, Transaction Services) - Leeds, Manchester & Birmingham

  • Tax - Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle

Immigration rules are subject to change and the above information is correct as at September 2017."

If PWC don't pay enough I doubt the others do. So what does that mean for you:

1) You probably are going to find it harder looking for any jobs with accounting firms within 90 minutes of Lincoln. You need to focus on the South East. Maybe check if the Scottish government has different rules.

2) A level entry (which would have been a great route otherwise) if probably out - but check all the big 4 websites and email them just in case.

Grad schemes in industry tend to pay more than accounting firms so shouldn't be as much of an issue.

Next to consider - options for courses, costs and benefits and how 'computer says no' might cause various problems.
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ajj2000
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Given that the hardest part is getting a job thats a place to start. My thought is that the best way to prepare to apply for jobs is to understand the process, and what needs to be achieved at each step. I'm certainly not up to date on large firm application processes for graduates. As a bit of a guess these will vary between firms, and the accountancy profession will likely be somewhat different to industrial companies. Anyway, lets think of a rough process - the what, the when and the pitfalls

THE WHAT

How to start and application? Its probably online. You fill in a form - as a rough guess this might take a full day although many ask similar things so keeping copies of previous forms helps. Its useful to have a good idea of what is being looked for and how answers to questions are best presented.

Firstly there will be a section on background - name, address, exam results etc. Then possibly sections for working history, any additional courses undertaken, positions of responsibility and hobbies. Then a number of questions to answer - competency type questions such as:

- give an example of a time you had to deal with a difficult team member
- give an example of when you have had to learn something quickly to achieve a result
- give an example of a time when you have had to balance competing priorities.

If you tick enough boxes you will be sent a link to sit some online tests - possibly psychometric, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and situational judgement tests.

If successful on these the firm reviews your application again and perhaps does a telephone/ skype or computerised interview. This might mean being asked some standard questions (why apply for a job at PWC?, Why PWC?, Why audit?).

If successful at this stage you get invited for assessment centres and interviews.
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ajj2000
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THE WHEN

Graduate job application processes often start a long time before the job would start. Some firms will have opened their processes for Sept 2019 start dates now - so anyone applying needs to be ready pretty much a year in advance. This also means having pre-prepared for the process and having time to complete applications forms, having a CV ready for other roles.

In addition you need to have given some thought to the online tests and how to approach telephone interviews.

This is not to make out its an impossible process - far from it. However many successful candidates will have been thinking about the requirements a long time in advance.
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