Fast-track student scoops industry Student of the Year Award

Photo of Peter Donnelly, Senior Consultant at Hays, presenting fast-track student Karl McCormack with his Student of the Year Award.

A STAFFORDSHIRE University fast-track student has won a prestigious industry award. 

Karl McCormack has won the Hays Accounting and Finance Student of the Year Award, after completing a two-year fast-track degree in Accounting and Finance.

The former Tesco retail manager gained a first class honours degree and achieved the highest pass rate possible with an unprecedented grade point 15 for all his assessed work.

Karl, 41, from Cheadle, Staffordshire, said: “It was beyond my wildest expectations to do as well as I did. I never expected to get the award because everyone on the course was achieving such high marks so it was a big surprise.”

Karl has now started a placement at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s European Operations Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme. He’s also been offered a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Scholarship at Staffordshire University and is currently undertaking research for the Business School.

He said: “The course has given me a much wider sense of the global financial world and I’ve been able to pass that on to family and friends and help them with their mortgages and things like that, so it will be great to give something back to Staffordshire University as well.”

Recent research by Staffordshire University has revealed that fast-track degree students are outperforming those on three-year degrees. Karl is one example of the advantages of attaining a degree in just two years.

He said: “I was a retail manager at Tesco for 13 years and I wanted to get out of the 24/7 retail environment. I found the fast-track degree at the University and, because I came from a work environment, taking just two-years out to complete it really appealed to me.

“I would recommend the course to anybody; mature students first of all because it suits them coming from a work environment, because they’re doing similar hours.

“For everyone, it’s cheaper and it’s a great way of getting a degree quicker but there’s also a great opportunity to take a placement year and still get a degree in only three years.”

Award leader Alison Maguire said: “We’ve had six first class honours degrees from this year’s group of Accounting and Finance fast-track students and, although Karl is the outright winner of the Student of the Year award, it has been a fantastic group.

“Karl’s performance has been absolutely outstanding and he is a deserving winner of the award.”

Peter Donnelly, Senior Consultant at Hays Accountancy and Finance, said: “We get a variety of different caliber people who want to work in finance coming to Hays but when Karl came in he was so motivated and driven that he really stood out. He has done brilliantly and I just want to congratulate him on his achievements.”


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