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Lara Orisasami

BSc Financial Economics

Lara Orisasami was planning to save up to study for a full-time degree when she saw an advert for Birkbeck on a train. She went home and began to research the College and discovered that it offered the subject she was interested in: BSc Financial Economics.

Lara, who was working in a call centre when she enrolled, already knew that she eventually wanted to work in finance. She began a summer course at Birkbeck in August 2007 and soon realised that many of her classmates were already working in the finance sector. This gave her the motivation that she needed to apply for her first role in the sector, and in October she moved into an admin role at the Financial Services Authority.  Lara identifies the networking opportunities she gained from studying at Birkbeck as one of the key advantages. She said: 'Studying part-time means you are meeting lots of people in your chosen profession. Networking with other professionals helps you to develop many of the soft-skills that employers are looking for.'

By the end of her first year, Lara had moved from an admin role into a finance role – before she had graduated she was already gaining valuable work experience in her sector. Her employers recognised her commitment to study and career development and halfway through the course they took over sponsorship of her degree.

Since graduating, Lara has made another career move, this time to a small, niche bank, in a role that she says offers 'lots of work and plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty'. She says: 'It is a great place to improve my training and development. I’ve been able to take on additional responsibilities, particularly in financial planning, and my degree has enabled my career to go from strength to strength.'

Currently studying for her accounting qualification, Lara has found that the modules that she studied at Birkbeck meant that she was exempt from some of the requirements. She is also clear that she is at a distinct advantage when compared to students who have studied full-time at university and graduate without any practical work experience. She says: 'Studying at Birkbeck was definitely a good investment. The College has a good reputation in my industry, the teaching is very good quality, the networking opportunities are not available elsewhere and graduating with several years of experience under your belt will really make you stand out in the job market.'

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'The networking opportunities are not available elsewhere.'