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"University is not just about the degree - City has provided me with so much more"

Graduate Sapna Chandaria says experiences outside the lecture theatre helped her reach her goals
by Sophie

Sapna Chandaria is looking to the future. The City University London graduate begins her first job in the Financial Services Tax team at Grant Thornton UK LLP later this month. But as she addressed an audience of more than 300 fellow students and their families at her graduation ceremony in July, she reflected on her time at University.

Sapna graduation"It seems like a short while ago that we all began our three year journey, yet here we are graduating. Even though some of what we have learnt has already been forgotten, the persistence, drive, and most importantly the faith in ourselves has grown stronger and will stay with us".

Sapna began her journey into higher education by studying Maths and Economics at the University of Warwick but was unable to finish the course due to illness. Unsure of what the future would hold, a chance encounter at a UCAS fair led her to apply to City University London.

"What I found at City was a place that allowed me to rebuild my dreams and give me the possibility and potential to live them. In so many ways, this is what City has given us all. Yes, our stories may be different, but we all have the shared experience of City, the building blocks of our careers".

Sapna took up a place on the BSc in Financial Economics at City University London in 2010.

"The course is a great combination of pure and applied economics with maths. I always knew that it would be something I could use later on and I know that if you enjoy something you will definitely work harder to perfect it. I think the Economics Department at City has really approachable and helpful lecturers. Whenever I have asked for help, it has been available. Each and every lecturer is willing to help".

Outside of the lecture theatre, Sapna took advantage of the range of extra-curricular activities available at City. She joined the Widening Participation Student Ambassador program, teaching and mentoring primary and secondary school students. She also signed up with City Volunteering, working on a scheme with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). At City's Student Impact Awards in 2013, Sapna was honoured with the Volunteering Award for Leadership. She was also recognised for her work with a national award from the RNIB.

"I chose to work with RNIB because I wanted to gain a better understanding of disability but I've gained more than that from the experience. I've also increased my understanding of the importance of listening and commitment. These are both essential skills no matter what field I go into."

Sapna participated in City's Professional Mentoring Scheme, being paired with an individual currently working in a similar field who helped her develop professionally, prepare for interviews and offered support through the internship application processes.

"University is not just about the degree, this is true now more so than ever. This university has provided so much more. The experiences we have gained in the last three years have helped shape us all. City gave me the platform to find opportunities to develop myself".

In the summer before her final year, Sapna began an internship in the Financial Services Tax team at Grant Thornton UK LLP. At the end of the six weeks, she was delighted to be offered a graduate position there, but Sapna already has one eye on the next goal. By 2016, she hopes to have completed the training to become a Charted Accountant and be working towards an Assistant Manager role. As she told her fellow students during their graduation ceremony, "this is not the end; this is only the end of the beginning".

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