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Declan Mckimm

Declan Mckimm Student Profile

What is your name and which degree are you studying? 

My name is Declan Smith and I am studying the MMATH (Integrated Master’s in Mathematics).

What made you decide to study at Northumbria University?

I went to open days at a few different universities and Northumbria was the one where I had most positive experience. The staff were very friendly and positive and took the time to speak to you on an individual level, I saw lots of new and modern facilities and the opportunity of a placement year really sold it for me.

What is your favorite thing about study MMath (Hons) Mathematics?

I really liked choosing my optional modules for fourth and fifth years which helps to specialise in a particular area of Mathematics. For instance, I chose to do Financial Maths as one of my modules and this helped me for my chosen accountancy career. There are also options to specialise in Statistics or Dynamics as well as other areas.

What are the facilities like for your course?

I really liked studying in the Maths hub which is exclusive to Maths students. It’s a great place to study if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and it’s also good for group work. There are plenty of computers and there is enough space to work. I also found the city campus library to be helpful because it contains a lot of books for each module.

How supportive are the lecturers and tutors?

The lecturers and tutors are extremely supportive in helping out with any issues you may have with your work and also with support during your placement if you choose to do one. They all take the time to get to know you and have an open-door policy which is something not every university has.

Why did you decide to do a placement?

I wanted to do a placement to gain some valuable work experience in order to stand out in today’s increasingly competitive job market. Having a good degree helps but you have to be able to demonstrate to employers that you can manage in the workplace and a placement is the best way to achieve that.

Where and what was your 3rd year placement?

I worked at Lloyds Banking Group in Halifax for a year. My job role was as a student analyst in credit risk modelling. Essentially, I was part of a team of around 8, and we calculated how much the bank stood to lose as a result of mortgages that had gone into default and what provisions should be set aside. The salary for my role was good so I was also able to save a bit of money.

What skills and experience did you gain from your placement?

I gained a whole range of skills useful during my placement. My coding and Excel skills improved massively, as well as my communication, both verbal and written. I also had the opportunity to give several presentations during the year and my organisation skills improved due to managing my workload. Over time my confidence in all of these skills increased and I was able to take on more complex tasks. Aside from my main work duties, I also took part in a lot of charity work which included organising a charity swim.

How did the placement support your studies in your 4th year?

I learned SAS, HTML, JavaScript and CSS during my placement year, and this was beneficial when using R and MATLAB in my fourth year because although they are different programming languages, coding is a transferable skill. The placement also helped with my motivation and time management because I was used to working 9-5.

How did the skills gained through your degree and placement help you achieve your job offer at Clive Owen?

The fact that I had all of these skills and experiences meant I was able to bring them up on my CV and during my interviews. The interviewers seemed interested in what I had to tell them about my time at Lloyds and I had a better understanding of financial issues which helped to impress the interviewers too. The Mathematics course also has a Modelling module which is all about teamwork, and I was able to bring this up as a skill I had gained during interviews.

Do you have any any advice to other prospective Math students?

If you enjoy Maths and are considering doing it as a degree I would say go for it. Every decision I have made has been worth it and it has got me where I am today. Having a good Maths degree opens a lot of doors for you career wise and my course mates have gone on to do a range of things – accountancy, teaching, research, analysis, technology, logistics, to name a few.

Anything else you feel we have left out that you feel is important?

Outside of the course, Northumbria is a fantastic place for sport and societies. I took part in the boxing club in my final year and I thoroughly enjoyed it – I made new friends and it really boosted my confidence and fitness.

 


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