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Drive to succeed

To be successful you need to be hungry, have a desire to do well and show commitment.

Nick Chandler

Middlesex graduate Nick Chandler is a Partner at KPMG, leading a national team of technical accounting specialists. When he retires, he plans to return to his old university and lecture on our BA Accounting and Finance course – three decades after he took the degree himself.

"Returning to Middlesex 27 years after I graduated, I hear the lecturers talk and I think they’re quite an inspiration. And I know they genuinely care about the students.

"I'm part of a network that Middlesex organises for accounting and finance alumni. It helps graduates link up with professionals who are able to offer them future opportunities. When I came back to the university to speak to current and past students at an industry event, it felt wonderful. The campus has a real buzz and the facilities are great.

Show you have drive

"University is not just about doing an academic course, it's about becoming 'work ready'. You wouldn't necessarily need to have accounting experience to join KPMG, but what’s important is that you’ve got skills like team work, motivation, resilience, and a positive attitude. Any experience you have that demonstrates skills like that will be helpful, whether it’s being a member of a football team or a business discussion group.

"I believe that 95% of what’s going to make you successful in your career is under your control, not anyone else’s. Do you turn up on time? Are you reliable? Are you resilient? Can you take feedback the right way and improve what you do next time? Yes, you will need skills to succeed, but a lot of it is down to your mindset. You can go a long way just by being dedicated, putting in effort and showing you have drive."

Business owners came to talk to us and gave us valuable insight. It wasn’t from books, it was real.

Debbie Chandler

Debbie Chandler is Head of Communications at KPMG. During her business studies degree at Middlesex, Debbie developed a passion for strategic communications that drives her career today. Debbie and Nick met at Middlesex and are now married.

"As soon as I got to work at KPMG, I was expected to stand up and present, work together with colleagues in a team and find solutions to problems. I'd learnt to do all those things throughout my business studies degree.

The knowledge and experience I got at Middlesex wasn't only from books, it was real. We did practical projects, like helping a local college with their business strategy. And I remember people who ran their own businesses coming and talking to us. That gave me valuable insight too.

The things I learnt at Middlesex, like innovation and communication skills, are still important to me at work now, 20 years on. I believe you really can find out what you’re passionate about while you're a student."

See opportunities in everything

"I had a great time at Middlesex, I remember end of term balls on campus and nights out in central London.

I'd say to any student now to really pay attention and try to see the opportunities in everything while you're at uni. Build networks and make connections. I think younger people are better at doing that than we were in the 90s anyway. So if you’re doing a communications course, start blogging now. Get as much experience as you can and make sure you can demonstrate you have the skills you need to get ahead."

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