From Business Student to First Class Finance Graduate

11 September 2017
Former Crawley College student, Joana Silva, cites the college as being the main reason she was able to graduate university with a first class degree and secure her first full-time Finance role with The Bag Broker.

Opting not to follow the traditional A-level route, Joana says she chose college because of the independence and focus it offered her. “I knew that A-levels were just going to be like school all over again. The more I thought about it, the more I just couldn’t see myself going through another 2 years of wearing uniform and being treated like a child. College really gave me the opportunity to focus on one subject and find my area of interest within it”.

Whilst studying her BTEC Level 3 Diploma at the college, she utilised the brilliant rapport she had developed with her Business tutors Annie Henry and Penny Gurney to develop useful contacts within the industry. These relationships helped her land fantastic work experience opportunities with impressive names such as KPMG, RBS Lombard and Gain Capital.

“The combination of my work experience and the course has helped me tremendously, both in my education and professional life. I was able to really find my passion at college as the Business course is very comprehensive and informative. As well as the course, extra-curricular activities such as the Dragon’s Den competition really helped boost my confidence”.

Joana mentions the Dragon’s Den competition as one of the highlights of her college experience, the annual affair requires students to come up with a business plan and pitch just like the popular TV show. As winner of ‘Best Pitch’ at the competition, she was given the chance to have dinner with all the ‘Dragons’ which then led to work experience at Gain Capital that summer, a global financial trading company.

Her experiences as a member of the Enterprise Society at Crawley College led her to become President of the Sussex Trading Society, all of which were excellent additions to her CV. “Things like this may seem little, but they help give you a little edge when it comes to finding a job once you graduate”.

As it stands, Joana is currently working for The Bag Broker in Finance and Accounts. She is working closely with her employer to develop the skills and experience to eventually become Chief Finance Officer at the company.

Speaking to the new Business students, Joana offers some good advice “Work hard, take advantage of the tutors and make the most of your time because believe me, it goes quick! There’s this myth that you can’t go to university and be successful with a BTEC and that’s not true. As long as you put your head down and work hard, you can achieve”.

For more course information, please visit Crawley College are also operating a drop-in enrolment service from 10am-7pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-4pm on Friday where you can join onto a full or part-time course.