Pre-University Work Experience

NTU finance work placement

Hi my name is Mackenzie Russell and I participated in a work experience placement as a Finance Assistant from 27th June – 1st July. I am a year 10 student. And I decided to take a work experience placement because I wanted to know what it was like to work in a professional environment and I thought that the business environment would be one of the most professional.  I also enjoy and have a keen interest in business so I thought that this placement best suited me. Because of this I worked in the Finance Department of the university, where I learnt all about finance and the different aspects of it. This will be a daily review about my work experience throughout the week.
At the computer on my first day.
On Monday, I met up with Claire Davies, my supervisor for the week. We introduced ourselves so that we got to know about each other. We talked about our interests and I asked her questions about the university, whilst she showed me around the campus. Firstly, we walked to Information Systems (IS), where I went to get my own login account. I felt like an actual worker. Afterwards we went down to the Newton-Arkwright buildings, where I got my own card that would help me get into secured places that only staff could get into. Once we had finished that, Claire introduced me to the Finance Department. Everyone welcomed me. I felt nervous at first but everyone was extremely kind. Now came my first job – Procurement. I met Susan in the Procurement area of the department where she explained to me what Procurement was and what she does at the university, she talked to me about the tender process and how to fill out a tender form. I then had lunch afterwards. After lunch I went back to Susan and she introduced me to e5, a program software that enabled you to complete and carry out forms, this was used for things such as tendering, invoicing and more. I enjoyed my first day as an assistant and I learned many new advanced things that I would never learn at school. I am glad I am on this placement as I can apply it into my knowledge at school.
I was looking forward to coming in now as I really enjoyed myself on Monday. I was intrigued to find out more about my first session – Payroll. I headed over to payroll where Denise told me what payroll was and how to manage staff salaries. We worked out the factors affecting salary and calculated the net per month. This was very interesting. Afterwards I went over to Business Law and Social Sciences (BLSS) with Kam to learn about BLSS Finance. After learning about this area I had lunch. After lunch I learnt about Financial Services with Vicky Sellars and some of her team, Nisha and Paddy. Nisha told me about expenses and that her job is to confirm individual’s payments on behalf of the University like accounting costs for lecturers’ research and that they have to make an invoice for costs. Also she told me that she sets the budget for the year ahead and if it is over budget she shows them where it went wrong on an advised forecast. I then met Paddy who showed me an invoicing spreadsheet that he puts on e5 which is automatically produced into and invoice pdf document. He also showed me financial performance reports which show me previous expenditure. Finally he showed me a commitment report which is where the University owes money and says that they haven’t invoiced yet and that they need to invoice before the end of the year. I had a go at locating the invoices and financial reports and checking them and updating them.
On Wednesday morning I attended meetings with my supervisor Claire to get a feel of what business meetings were like. It was as I expected, very professional. The first meeting was about NTU’s Supplier Forum and Recognition Awards 2017. We met up with Hanh, a NTU Masters student and the Business School’s event planners.

The subsequent meeting was discussing a policy for Modern Slavery in relation to NTU’s supply chains where we met with Mark Lucas, Purchasing Manager and Paul Andrew, Head of Procurement. We had meetings up until lunch then after lunch, I met up with Jenny Henry of Corporate Accounts (Professional Services) where she spoke about her job. She told me that she sets budget allocations to different departments in the University. The University’s financial period is from August to July so she was working towards the end of the year and finalising checks. She said that she monitors the spending of the departments and ensures that there is no overspending by the budget holders (departments). She manages this through systems such as Cognos Powerplay and e5 which check that nothing is miscoded. An e5 is used to input the budget into the system at the start of the year.

Then I met the Director of Finance, James Lacey who told me about his job and that he is on the University’s Executive Team and the Board of Directors. The Head of Procurement, Payroll, Head of Management Accounting (Invoices) and the Head of Accountants amongst others all report to him. He said that whilst the Finance functions are being managed by his team he has to look ahead to the Financial Strategy and plan. He advised me to keep working hard and go to University so that one day I could be in his position. This really motivated me and now I am going to study hard.

 Boots library roof garden.

On Thursday I met Faysal who showed me around the campus and talked to me about student life. He is a placement student at NTU so is classed as a member of University staff. He is a student studying Finance on a sandwich degree where he studies for one year, then has a work placement for a year before returning to complete his final year degree. He showed me around places I had never been before when visiting with school and this was very interesting. Then during lunchtime, Claire had organised for me to go and play basketball with the staff Basketball Team. Cen, a basketball player introduced me to everyone and I met Richard, Victor and many others. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was really nice that Claire had arranged this as she knew that I played basketball by looking at my CV. Afterwards Cen told me that she worked in the same building as me in the marketing department so I arranged to meet her on Friday to give me an insight into marketing. She also invited me to basketball training with her and the team on Friday. After lunch I went back to Paddy again and did some scanning of invoices for uploading onto the systems databases.

 The finance department.

Friday was a sad day as it was my last day and I didn’t want to leave. I thoroughly enjoyed the placement so much. However before my first task, Joseph, from security came up to me and complimented me on my basketball as he was watching me on Thursday. Again, it was really nice that he took his time to come and speak to me. The staff here at NTU are the most friendliest staff ever! On Friday morning, I learnt about student planning with Lisa, where she told me about Banner – a student centre for courses and databases. She uses Cognos for reports on students. She said that her job was to do reports and spreadsheets about students and check statistics for the University. Then later on I met Cen downstairs where she told me about marketing and that she publishes the University prospectus and how they produce it. She also introduced me to her placement student Joe who told me that he was also in his working year. He said that he originally did finance but decided to do marketing instead as it allowed him to express his creativity. Afterwards me and Cen went down to the basketball courts at the Students Union and played basketball. I then came back and gave everyone some chocolates as a way of thanking them for having me and gave them my secret card!

I have really enjoyed this placement and I definitely recommend this to friends.
Blog Administrator. Currently ran by co-author Emilia Denis. Emilia has studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at NTU between years 2017 and 2020.

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