MA in Accounting, 2012
Ask graduates to identify the most important aspect of their degree and most are likely to cite the quality of the teaching. But at LYIT, it’s not just the ability of the lecturers that stands out but their commitment to going the extra mile for their students.
Grainne Boland, who took a Bachelor of Business and Master of Arts in Accounting at LYIT, has seen that commitment from both sides, having recently become a lecturer herself. It was LYIT’s reputation for accountancy that persuaded Grainne to choose the college in the first place. “LYIT’s reputation for accountancy is regarded as among the best in Ireland so why would I go anywhere else?” she says, “The lecturers are key to that. They all have industry backgrounds and they really know their stuff. It’s a very well structured course. You get a really good grounding in each subject, whether it’s financial reporting, auditing, corporate governance, tax or management accounting.”
But, for Grainne, it is not simply the knowledge of the lecturers and structure of the course that makes the difference. “There’s a real personal connection,” she says. “They are so approachable. Their doors are always open and they have the experience and insight to guide you through to the career that best suits you. You can talk about anything with them and they’ll always have suggestions.”
Grainne points out that the high regard in which both the accountancy degree and masters are held leads to another major attraction for students choosing LYIT – the high level of exemptions attached to each course. Because the courses meet industry requirements so comprehensively, accountancy students graduating from LYIT have to take fewer professional qualifications than students from most other colleges. “Believe me,” Grainne says, “with the number of professional exams accountants have to take, that’s a huge bonus!”
It was during her masters that Grainne took the first steps to becoming a lecturer herself. As part of the course she did some tutoring with undergraduates and was asked to take some guest lectures too. The training and advice she had received herself was a great help in adapting to her new task and she has much to pass on from her own experience.
“I tell students that one of the most important things I have learned here is that you need to develop your skills and CV in other ways than simply studying,” she says. “For instance, I was involved with the CIMA Global Business Challenge, a case study based competition for undergraduates.”
Grainne, who still works part-time for United Healthcare, a multi-national company in Letterkenny, is determined to give the same commitment to her students she received herself. “I saw how the respect students had for the lecturers drove them on. People need role models to look up to.”