Former Student Profile - Abbie Martin, Class of 2015
@WycombeHighSch @WycHighAlumnae @WycHighEconBus @WycHighMaths @WycHighPolitics @WycHighScience
What years did you attend WHS?
I attended WHS in from September 2014 - May/June 2015, joining the school at the start of Year 12.
What did you get up to at WHS in terms of study and extracurricular activities?
I studies Maths, Government & Politics, Business Studies and Physics at AS. In addition to these, I took an active role in our Young Enterprise team, acting as the Finance Manager as well as participating in the ICAEW BASE competition whereby our team won the regional stage and got through to nationals in Birmingham.
Do you have any fond memories you’d like to share?
I was lucky to be able to enjoy a variety of experiences during my time at WHS, including the trip to Birmingham for the ICAEW BASE competition which included a party in the evening as well as performing well in the Young Enterprise regionals. Of course, I have many fond memories with the friends I made that we each like to look back on and have a laugh when we catch up now.
What did you do after school?
Leaving school, I went straight onto a School Leaver programme with EY (Ernst & young), one of the Big 4 global professional services companies, joining their Audit department, specialising in Product & Service companies.
Here, while I was at work everyday I was also studying for the ICAEW ACA Chartered Accountancy qualification; attending college and sitting the exams.
I gained great exposure being in a client-facing position on a daily basis and using the technical accounting knowledge I was learning both through the exams and on the job to be able to provide the best service to our clients.
I didn’t choose to go to University partially because I did not feel as if university was the best route for me. I did go and visit a couple of universities, but I did not leave feeling the excitement to wanting to go to university. I preferred the idea of going straight into a job and learning on the job and attending a college where I could freely put up my hand in a class and have a relationship with the tutor.
What are you up to now?
I left EY in September 2019 at the position of a Senior (2-levels below a manager... there were lots of staffing levels within the audit teams). At this position I was the main client contact on a daily basis and was responsible for organising the audit and ensuring compliances and accounting standards were being met along with both the client’s expectations and the partner on the engagement.
Following my departure from EY, I now have the role of a Retail Finance Analyst for PVH UK & Ireland, a company who owns Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. The role is completely different to what I was used to at EY both in terms of the job content but also simply the fact that I had my own office and my own desk and worked with the same team everyday (this isn’t the case in external audit like at EY since it is just the nature of the job). And I am really loving it... I feel like the work I am doing is having an impact on the business decisions made and I enjoy getting to gain an insight into the different aspects of the business, monitor their performance and report back and provide recommendations to those higher up. I enjoy the fact that I could be doing absolutely anything each day of the week and each day can be completely different to the next.
Whilst I extremely miss my colleagues and friends made whilst at EY I have managed to settle into my new role really easily. And no doubt I still meet all of my old colleagues for a drink on a Friday (or in current conditions, joining them for a weekly quiz!)
What do you know now that you didn’t in Year 13 that you’d like to share with current students?
I think one of the main things I would say is the connections / friends you make. Not only in terms of having them always there when you need them, especially when you all take such different paths when you leave sixth form but also you never know when you may need to lean on each other for advice or guidance in whatever you may do.
For me, I think having the experience of joining a new school in Year 12 has enabled me to have the confidence to enter straight into the world of business and make all of the friends I have made which has made my last five years so enjoyable and fun.
I would also say that what I know now that I didn’t in Year 13 was that I did make the right decision for me. I think in my year I was one of if not the only student who didn’t go to uni or do a gap year (then uni). In my year it was still quite early with regards to students not going to uni and going straight into business. For instance, I know EY had only been running the School leaver programme for about three years prior to me joining. And so at the time I thought perhaps I would regret my decision because I wasn’t doing the same as everyone else (going to Uni) but for me it was certainly the best decision I ever made and I would make the same decision again if I had to.