Meet the Business Management graduate who balanced competing on the world cheerleading stage with achieving a first-class degree
Hannah Thwaite, a University of Salford Business School BSc Business Management with Marketing student, graduated this week with a first-class degree, a graduate role at Bupa and a place at the International Cheerleading Championships.
As well as studying for her undergraduate degree, in the lead up to her exams and while completing her final year assignments, Hannah competed in the coveted ICU (International Cheer Union) World Cheerleading Championships for England, as well as in the IASF (International All Star Federation) Dance Worlds competition, in Orlando, Florida at Easter. At the ISAF Dance Worlds, she placed 13th with her local team from Salford, Red Hot Flames, amongst some of the best dancers from around the world.
In addition, after completing a placement year at private healthcare specialists, Bupa, Hannah was offered a full-time position with the organisation even prior to graduating.
On juggling her studies with competing and landing a graduate job, Hannah commented: “The last few months have been a little chaotic to say the least, juggling my final trimester at university with competing in Florida. But, by staying focused and getting ahead as much as I possibly could on my work prior to heading to Orlando, alleviated some of that pressure.
“On top of this, my first couple of years at university weren’t all smooth sailing, as I enrolled in September 2019 and just a few short months later we went into lockdown. Meaning, the first two years of my degree were pretty much spent inside and learning remotely – proving particularly challenging when it came to maintaining my levels of motivation. It was however all worth it when I opened my results letter a few weeks ago and discovered all of my hard work had paid off, and I managed to get a first – probably one of my proudest moments to-date.”
For her third year, Hannah, who also grew up in Salford and is the first person in her family to go to university, opted to do a placement year to further her career prospects upon graduation. After applying for various different roles, she secured a position at leading healthcare provider, Bupa, initially working in the systems and security team as a Human Resources System Administrator, upholding the security of sensitive HR data, while working with customers and other stakeholders on complex technical issues.
Following a year with Bupa and upon finishing her exams, plus final assignments, Hannah landed a full-time permanent position with the company, with her role progressing to People Data Consultant, now sitting within the people technology and delivery team.
Dr Maria Kutar, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems and Director of Undergraduate Business at Salford Business School, adds: “Hannah has been on such a remarkable journey during her time at Salford, which has been inspiring to see. Juggling her studies, competing at such a high level in cheerleading and dance, as well as landing such an incredible role with Bupa, plus with a global pandemic added to the mix, she’s had her fair share of obstacles but has overcome all of them to come out on top.
“Her drive and determination really are inspiring and we have no doubt she has a successful career ahead of her. We’ve already seen Hannah progress even before graduation, so we can’t wait to see her career continue to go from strength to strength.”
Hannah concludes: “University has opened so many doors for me and really broadened my horizons when it came to my career trajectory, opening my eyes to the vast opportunities that are out there. My time at Salford has allowed me to continue pushing myself to be the best I can be, developing my skillset while also providing me with real industry experience through my placement year.”