“My parents were immigrants to the UK in 1960s/70s – from India and Africa. Dad was a production manager, Mum worked in care home. Education is very important in Hindu culture and my parents always had the mindset of wanting to better yourself – they wanted us to take full advantage of the opportunities that we had in the UK that they didn’t have. One of my uncles was the only one in my parents’ generation who went to university, and this was a big deal. Because so few in the family had been to university, knowledge of university was very slim. I didn’t always know the right questions to ask or how to go about making the right choices, so I had to take lots of advice from friends and their parents.  

I had a good experience of school – I worked hard, got good grades, and tried to excel in everything I did. I was very mathematical and logical, so I always aspired to do something financial. The careers advisers at my secondary school were great at helping you think about what you wanted to do, and what you’re good at, and then working out how to link that together; but they also really encouraged me to keep options open. For example, I was keen to do Accounting and Finance, but they encouraged me not to discount something like Business Management altogether which would help build my all round business knowledge.”

Mitesh’s experience on the Summer School programme helped him confirm that university was the right path for him and that he would thrive there. He reflected on how exactly the support is helpful, for students like him:

I’d always known that university was something that would be beneficial to me and that I wanted to do, but until then I’d just considered it as getting a degree. The Sutton Trust programme gave me the all-encompassing experience of education, which I’d never really considered before: meeting people, being part of societies, broadening your horizons. I don’t think I would have had as enjoyable a university experience without the Sutton Trust programmeyou feel much more comfortable once you’ve done something once, and the Summer School taught me some of the skills I would need and how to cope, like talking to new people and managing your time day-to-day. It was 100% down to the experience I gained on the Sutton Trust programme that meant I wasn’t shy to go up to someone on the first day at university and talk to them – someone I’m still friends with now!

I thoroughly enjoyed my university experience: I joined societies, I was part of the university radio station, and I was a course representative. I did a summer placement on a graduate scheme which helped me gain some valuable work experience,and I volunteered with London Olympics in 2012.My experience on theSutton Trustprogramme helped push me to do these sorts of things.”

After university Mitesh was part of the popular graduate scheme at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and told us about that experience and how it inspired him:

“I spent 18 months there and was the quickest promotion from graduate to assistant manager at the time! The scheme was brilliant as you got experience managing very different aspects of the business and met lots of great people. It gave me a really good grounding in terms of running a business, and it helped me realise that what I wanted to do long-term was a financial-based role.  

I heard about a Finance Manager role at my current company through a family friend and I applied not really thinking I would get it, but I did and started off part-time. The company are big on staff training and supported me to go into management accounting, which is what I wanted to do. I really enjoyed my role and worked my way up I’m now part of the senior management team here. Our head office is in Sweden, so I communicate a lot with them, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Europe a few times. I’ve really pushed my boundaries in terms of the big business side of things and I’m part of the leadership team covering the whole business now.”

Mitesh is a proud champion of the Summer School Programme and now encourages others to take part and see what it could do for them:

“You learn a lot about yourself too – things like, “is the experience right for me?” and “what parts of it are good for me?” Take part – try and gain from every element from it. Do things that are outside of your comfort zone. I had never played hockey before, but I gave it a go at the Summer School and met new people to talk to.  

I gained a lot of people skills too and even now in my professional life the basics still apply: for example, being able to go up to someone new and speak to them. Those situations are still relevant and still arise – and for me these skills started with the Sutton Trust programme.”

Interested in knowing more about how you can volunteer and help us promote our programmes in schools? Contact the alumni team for more information.

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