Ally Thorne

Alumnus, Placement student

I was really interested in the financial crisis and its causes; from reading the news I was constantly wondering why bankers kept getting so heavily criticised. It was a natural progression to study Banking, Finance & Management for my degree and follow my interests.

In my third year I studied abroad at HEC Montréal, Canada for six months. Working with international students I had the opportunity to understand the impact of different cultural dimensions, and I got to see first-hand their influence on modules such as conflict management.

The second six months were spent working at Access Performance Solutions, a technology and marketing consultancy focussed on improving client business performance. In my project management role, I was able to apply in practice what I had learnt over my first two years at university. I worked on a variety of interesting projects, related to business strategy, virtual reality, blockchain and e-learning systems.

After finishing my degree, I recognised that most new business models, particularly in the finance sector are based around technology, so decided to do an MSc in Information Management & Business Technology. During my first degree I became really interested in the ‘Solow Paradox’, a theory which questions whether technological advancement has resulted in increases in GDP. The MSc gave me the opportunity to study this in greater depth.

I have secured a graduate role at Microsoft as a Cloud and Culture Experience Customer Engineer. This involves bridging the gap between people and technology and brings together everything I have learned during my time at University.

I also think this is why Loughborough does well in terms of employability, if you talk to any of the students here you will see that our experiences are unique. I think this makes Loughborough students really interesting people, who are well-rounded and can be successful in the workplace.

Ally Thorne

I am dyslexic and received support from the University to help me with my studies. This included my application for the government funded Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA) for the things I needed, such as 1-1 support and specific study support computer software.

A huge part of the challenge of neurodiversity is learning how you learn, typically a trial-and-error process. My assigned study support tutor helped me as I tried a number of different strategies. By taking different elements from each one I eventually developed the best method for me.

During my MSc I worked as a Disability Support Mentor for the University. I mentored students with a variety of educational needs and disabilities, including those on the autistic spectrum and gained a much broader understanding of neurodiversity in terms of how people perceive the world around them differently. Making a positive contribution to a cause I really care about was incredibly fulfilling. Doing this alongside my Masters is my proudest achievement from University.

My undergraduate course was a broad-based management degree, and in the first year I took a range of modules across different areas of business and finance. This meant I was able to explore what parts of business appealed to me and then tailor my second and final year options to those interests. These were organisational psychology, international business, and technology.

I studied subjects like entrepreneurialism in post-conflict space, taught by David Roberts who is also a pioneer of accessible teaching methods for dyslexic and disabled students. I carried out a project on gender differences in micro finance repayment rates, giving insight into how entrepreneurship can help people in developing countries grow themselves out of poverty. I even applied this to part of my interview at Microsoft where I gave a presentation on the impact technology can have on ending world poverty through the enablement of sustainable entrepreneurship. An area I hope to work in, in the future.

The atmosphere around Loughborough has always been the thing that has most appealed to me. I know a lot of people will say Loughborough is a sports university, but to me it more of an environment where everyone is trying to continuously improve themselves - you'll be surrounded by people who are passionate about things and it is a really positive environment to be in as we all push each other to be better. 

Loughborough has a great student experience, not because we have one way of doing things, but because there are so many different opportunities to get involved in. You have a real opportunity to tailor your experience to what you are interested in, for example, I took up evening classes in French and trained in Kickboxing. My advice is to explore your interests, be prepared to try new things and push your boundaries by taking yourself out of your comfort zone.

Studying at University is very different to studying A-Levels. At University you are expected to develop your own arguments and question things more often than at A-Level. You are not expected to understand everything straight away or have all the right answers. Often, it is about thinking about how concepts relate and developing ideas over time. So, make sure you relax, ask questions and give yourself time to be confused, because that is a huge part of the learning process.

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