Andres Felipe Aponte Ortiz, MSc in Accounting and Finance, from Colombia
“ My year at Bath was without a doubt the best year of my life to date. Not only I received a world-class education but also I met some friends and I learnt a lot about their countries and culture.”
University of Bath is a top university with the School of Management ranked in the top four business schools in the UK by Times Good University Guide 2010.
The University is famous for its supportive and dynamic atmosphere and its commitment to diversity. The University of Bath also provides you with the chance to interact with faculty who are acclaimed world-class experts in their fields, under a spirit of fellowship, teamwork and mutual respect enhancing your personal and professional development.
Furthermore, Bath is a world heritage city with a variety of theatres, museums and surrounded by parks. It is the perfect place to study if you like a quiet and beautiful city, full of history.
Why MSc Accounting and Finance?
I have a bachelor and Master in Economics but all my work experience has been in the financial sector. During my undergraduate education, I joined Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia as an assistant of Minister of Finance Personal Advisor and my last job in the leading rating agency BRC affiliated to Moody’s Investors Service developed my interest in corporate finance, capital market development and infrastructure projects.
This professional experience both in the public and private sector along with my training in economics and finance have given me important lessons about all the challenges that we have to confront in my country. Colombia has social, political and institutional problems that seem persistent and that are not in any way trivial. Nevertheless, I am convinced that these problems can and will be solved, and I want to be a part of that social and economic transformation. In particular, I want to participate actively in the design and implementation of economic policies in order to promote economic growth and social development.
Thus I decide to study the MSc in Accounting and Finance to improve my financial knowledge and contribute considerably to the development of this field in my country. This will ultimately help me provide vital contributions to society and work in a way to expedite the advancement and betterment of my country as a whole.
What have you enjoyed most about living in Bath?
Bath is an area of outstanding natural beauty and a very safe place. I enjoyed walking along the Avon river or going to the ancient Roman Baths or the Bath Abbey.
Bath has also a lot of restaurants, theaters and cinemas so there is always something to do. I really enjoyed going out with my friends to different restaurants and the cinema. I tried from Thai to Mexican food, a remarkable experience if you are with people that can explain you about their own cuisine.
I also enjoyed all the trips for international students organized by the University of Bath. Bath is close to some historic sites like Wells, Cheddar, Stonehenge and the lovely Cotswold Villages, places that are a must-see if you are here.
Furthermore, if you want to go shopping or clubbing Bristol is only 15 minutes by train and London one hour and a half.
How hard was it to adjust to life as a student in the UK?
The International Office of University of Bath has played an important role in the adjustment process to live here in UK. I just remember my first day and how some students with the blue shirt of University of Bath waited for me at Heathrow Airport. When I arrived to the University of Bath, they had ready the keys, helped me with the luggage and left me in front of my accommodation. Arrive to a new country and leave your family and friends are difficult decisions to take but the International Office makes this transition easier.
During my first days here in UK, it was hard to understand the accent but you just get used to it in a couple of days. My image of British people is that they are very nice and I really like to experience the traditional afternoon tea, pubs, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
Do you have any advice for other Colombian students interested in coming here?
It is important to have a balanced life. A postgraduate study is the main reason why we are here but it is also essential to have some free time to learn about the British culture and explore this amazing country.
I also recommend to all Colombian students to apply to the scholarships of the University and programs like Colfuturo. The University of Bath has some scholarships and most of the scholarship holders from Latin America last year were from Colombia and Mexico which reflects our good academic level.
Nevertheless, my main advice is to promote our country. We have a beautiful country with a wide range of biomes such as beaches, forests, deserts and mountains but what really make Colombia a special country is the people. We are warm, kind and always with a smile in our face in spite of our problems. We always have to be proud of our country and try to change the bad image that the media and a violent past have created in some countries.
And the usual advice, bring a lot of Colombian sweets, some traditional handicrafts like el sombrero vueltiao (Colombian Spanish for hat with laps) for your special friends and be prepared because people are going to ask a lot of questions about our country.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to gain some work experience in the UK financial services sector because it is one of the largest financial centre in the world but my ultimate goal is to become a part of my country’s social and economic transformation. I am confident that my education here in Bath and some work experience in the UK will strengthen my leadership and give me the background I need to work in the effective design and implementation of sound economic policies in Colombia to be a part of the transformation of my country.