Newtownabbey students ‘keep their cool’ in business school challenge

BDO Interview Award winners Ciara Cooke and Megan McNeilly with their four-week placement passes presented by Danielle McWall (left), Ulster University Business School and Claire McFall (right), director BDO Northern Ireland.
BDO Interview Award winners Ciara Cooke and Megan McNeilly with their four-week placement passes presented by Danielle McWall (left), Ulster University Business School and Claire McFall (right), director BDO Northern Ireland.

Two Newtownabbey students impressed judges with their coolness under pressure in a business links with education challenge.

Ciara Cooke and Megan McNeilly, second year BSc Accounting students at Ulster University Business School, were two of three students to out score over 120 of their peers to win a BDO Interview Award.

Ciara is a former pupil at Dominican College, Fortwilliam and Megan attended Ballyclare Secondary School

Organised by the Business School and the university’s Careers / Employability Unit with support from BDO Northern Ireland, the process comprised interview skill training provided by BDO senior staff as well as a series of mock interviews undertaken by senior staff from both organisations over a four-day period.

Danielle McWall, BSc Accounting course director and associate head of department, said: “Building tangible and practical links between our students and local businesses is a vital part of delivering invaluable work-based learning.  By working in partnership with BDO we have been able to provide interview experience and the opportunity to practice those skills so essential for successful future recruitment.”

The participating students are all undertaking an innovative module on Career Entrepreneurship as part of the BSc (Hons) Accounting and the BSc Finance and Investment Management programmes within the Business School.

As one of the top performing students Ciara received a four-week placement and mentoring in the BDO offices in Belfast.

Claire McFall, director at BDO Northern Ireland who was involved in the creation of the scheme with UU said: “Ciara and Megan impressed our judges with their ability to keep cool under pressure and adapt quickly to each challenge. They are worthy winners of the BDO Interview Award and deserve our congratulations.”