Alumni Stories: Harris Jones
1st June 2020
This series of posts looks at what our former students do after they graduate in History at the University of Gloucestershire. It demonstrates the various types of employment and further study they can go into. It provides useful guides for existing students, but also highlights the fascinating journeys of our graduates. The next story comes from Harris Jones (Class of 2018).
After graduating from the University of Gloucestershire in 2018 studying the BA (Hons) History course, I moved back to Leeds to start my professional career. I successfully joined a Graduate Scheme to train as a Chartered Accountant. Working in accountancy may seem like a vast contrast to what I studied at University, however a lot of what I have achieved now is due to the University of Gloucestershire and the skills I learnt from the History department.
I am grateful for the skills which I developed during my undergraduate degree as they have prepared me for my professional career. ‘Tools’ I use frequently such as advanced research and comprehension skills are commonly used in due diligence reports. When producing accounts for a company, a keen eye for detail is imperative as is the ability to read through documents quickly and efficiently but above all, accurately. Spending countless hours producing a dissertation, it prepares you to be able to spend extended periods of time in front of a computer at a high level of focus. The capability to look at an event in history and delve deeper into its meaning actually translates fairly well into the auditing of a company’s financial statements, as you question how the various figures were produced.
There are many transferable skills which I developed from studying History, but a stand-out factor for me is that it has provided me with a different educational background to approach the profession. If an accounting firm employed people solely with accounting degrees, their backgrounds would be very similar, meaning there working environment could be considered ‘mundane.’ A History degree, by contrast, has provided me the opportunity to bring something new and exciting to the team and is also a great conversation piece for interacting with clients. I developed a keen research interest in Economic History from the courses on Russia and it is a subject I still read around today.
During my studies, I was awarded a Sporting Excellence Scholarship for Rugby League. Trying to balance lectures, seminars and assignments with required intense training and matches was challenging. My lecturers were very understanding of my position and the few times I had to miss a lecture in order to represent the University, they couldn’t have been more helpful with giving me lecture notes, follow up emails and asking if I had everything I needed. Due to the assistance and guidance of the scholars in the History department, I was able to excel in my rugby and was consequently given the opportunity to represent Scotland and professional team Doncaster.