Graduate success story: James Goad

Name: James Goad

Course: BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance

Year of Graduation: 2000

A degree in accounting and finance has opened doors all over the world for James Goad.

James is now the Chief Financial Officer of AXA in Poland, specialising in insurance, asset management and pension funds. He has worked for the financial protection company since 2001 and has held positions based in London, Paris and New York, before his existing one in Warsaw.

His exciting career began with his BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance studies at the University of Wolverhampton Business School. James said he chose the University specifically because of this course.

“The course had two main attractive features for me. Firstly it incorporated a year in industry as part of the four year programme, and this gave me a strong grounding in real work experience, making me infinitely more marketable as a graduate.

“Secondly it was an accredited course with Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) which allowed me to fast-track my professional qualifications.”

The initial appeal of the programme proved to be well founded, as James says it provided him with an excellent grounding in business principles.

“The course contained a good balance of theory and more practical elements such as presentations, business projects etc, as well as a broad range of business related topics which gave a good all round education,” he adds.

In addition, James was impressed by the new facilities he encountered at the Telford Campus, where he was based. He also enjoyed a good social life, and lists making friends and having fun as fond memories of his time at University.

On graduating in 2000, James found that his degree helped him a great deal – primarily because of the two elements that had initially appealed to him. Completing a CIMA accredited course and the experience of spending a year working in industry stood him in excellent stead for his chosen career in the financial sector.

And his advice to students following in his footsteps is to make the most of the opportunities available to you as part of a university education.

“Make the effort to have a broad background of subjects covered, do not be too specialised as this can limit your employment opportunities.

“Many of my fellow students now do very different jobs to what you would expect from an Accounting and Finance degree. I also have had a broad range of experience, and even though I’m now a CFO, I haven’t really ever done a real accounting job.

“My final advice would be to learn a language. I didn’t at university, only at A-level, which I now regret, although I doubt I would ever have tried to learn Polish! You never know when it might come in handy and if you already know more than one language, learning an additional one later in life is much easier.”