From Spain to Ireland with ACCA
ACCA student Marianna Stenta moved from Spain to Ireland, and a job with Grant Thornton, thanks to ACCA’s Europe International Job Programme, as well as an ACCA Europe scholarship. She tells us more about her journey so far.
After coming to Spain from Venezuela when she was 17, Marianna Stenta enjoyed great success throughout her school career. When it came to university, however, like many young people, Marianna was unsure about her future direction.
‘I didn’t have any long-term goals but I knew I wanted to study for a career that would give me a wide variety of skills and would be useful for the rest of my life,’ she says. ‘As a result, I decided to enrol for a Bachelor of Finance and Accounting degree at the University of Carlos III in Madrid.’
This course is highly prestigious and ranked by leading newspaper El Mundo as one the of Spain’s best finance degree programmes. Despite her initial uncertainty, Marianna flourished during her studies: ‘I received nine honours mentions and completed two internships, the last one at Volvo Cars.’
Marianna graduated in 2022 and went straight into a position at Grant Thornton Ireland, thanks to the ACCA Europe International Jobs Programme 2021. Through the programme, final year university students taking ACCA accredited degree courses can apply for their first full-time job with Grant Thornton, in an office in another country, and at the same time begin their ACCA studies.
‘I decided to apply because it was a unique opportunity to combine international work experience with ACCA exams,’ explains Marianna. ‘The position I was offered – in financial services advisory – also sparked my interest, and I have started working in prudential risk, helping clients develop and implement strategies to manage risks resulting from different uncertainties.’
In fact, ACCA was a key reason why Marianna decided to apply to the programme.
‘I have known about ACCA since my first year at university,’ she says, ‘and I was sure I wanted to study with ACCA after I graduated. The main reasons were that ACCA offers constant support and guidance to its students and, as an ACCA member, you have endless career opportunities and the chance to work with some of the best professionals in the industry.’
As Marianna’s degree course was ACCA accredited, she is also exempt from seven out of the 13 ACCA exams. ‘This means that I hope to complete my exams and become an ACCA member by the summer of 2024,’ she says.
In a further example of Marianna’s career potential, before leaving university she was awarded one of only two prestigious ACCA 2022 Europe Scholarships. Open to students from Spain’s top five universities, the scholarship programme recognises academic excellence and the drive required to get to the top of the finance profession.
’I already knew that I wanted to be an ACCA member, so I decided to apply for a scholarship, not only because it covers all my ACCA expenses but also because it gives me access to a personal ACCA mentor and to an extensive range of employment and networking opportunities,’ she says.
Now living in Dublin, Marianna is looking ahead to the next stage in her career.
‘In the short term, I plan to excel in my role at Grant Thornton while I take my ACCA exams,’ she says. ‘After that, I hope to continue my career in finance with Grant Thornton as my long-term ambition is to secure a senior position in a major firm. I’m sure that ACCA membership will help me achieve my goals as ACCA offers a broad professional network, and the qualification is verification of my skills and my willingness to learn.’