Meet our undergraduate Dean's List winners 2021

— 03.08.21

by Jody Dalton

Congratulations to our Dean's List winners!

The Dean’s List recognises outstanding academic, employability and social responsibility-related achievements of our graduates at Sheffield University Management School (SUMS).

This year’s 12 outstanding winners demonstrated why they should make the Dean’s List with an impressive portfolio of accomplishments and contributions to society, their communities, and to their own employability development. Just some of their achievements include volunteering as an NHS Responder during the COVID-19 pandemic, gaining the title of ‘Outstanding Mentor of the year,’ teaching dance classes to women benefitting from the Snowdrop charity, delivering sports classes to school children, and running the London Marathon in aid of the cleft palate charity, The Smile Train.

Find out more about our winners and their achievements below. Photo l-r: Houra Hashim A.Abdulla, Jennifer Blundell, Qihua Cai, Giulia Pia Carleton, Akshaya Khurana, Francesca Paterson, Lauren Rogers, Harriet Sims, Katie Taylor, Edward Wilson, Isabelle Woodward, Yiming Zhang.

Houra Hashim A.Abdulla

BA Accounting and Financial Management

Contributing to the inclusivity of the University, Houra proudly founded the Qatari Society with the aim of celebrating Qatari heritage here in Sheffield. Taking on the roles of Marketing and Publicity Officer as well as President for two years, Houra led the society to deliver a successful celebration event for Qatari National Day.

Committed to helping her student community, she took the initiative to create a study group to help her classmates, moving this online during the pandemic. Houra also gave back to her wider community through volunteering. She spent time at a nursing home with Sheffield Volunteering, and during the pandemic in Qatar she volunteered in Bu-Sidra quarantine, gaining experience in the discharge, delivery, and call centre facilities.

To complement her BA in Accounting and Financial Management Houra completed an ACCA Training Course, and after gaining her degree, was offered, and accepted a graduate job in Accounting for the Ministry of Municipality in Qatar.

Jennifer Blundell

BA Business Management with Employment Experience

Jennifer’s enthusiasm for helping others is reflected in the breadth of committee and volunteer roles she successfully held. She was Events Officer for the Societies Committee and Management Departmental Councillor on the Students’ Union Council. As President and then Inclusions Officer of the Stitch Society, she promoted the benefits of sustainability through upcycling workshops, and organised events for “Charity Month” to promote different charities and raise awareness for important causes.

As a volunteer ‘Check In and Chat’ NHS Responder Jennifer was in contact with individuals who were isolating or unable to leave the house during the pandemic. She was invaluable in providing vulnerable people with much needed company and support during those difficult times.

During her studies Jennifer completed a Marketing and Communications internship at Lockheed Martin where she was recognised for her “Outstanding Performance” by the senior leadership team. Jennifer then successfully secured a part time role as Communications and Marketing Manager for a start-up company, PyroTalks CIC, who aim to provide specialist knowledge and training to not-for-profits.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic Jennifer has been successful in securing a graduate position as Communications and Engagement Graduate for High Speed Two (HS2), which is due to start in September.

Qihua Cai

BA Accounting and Financial Management

During her studies Qihua took the initiative and completed a masterclass in developing public speaking, took part in presentation training during her internship with upReach, and attended business-led Insight Days, all helping to improve her confidence in presenting and networking with wider audiences.

Always pushing to gain practical insights into her chosen career Qihua became a semi-finalist in the University Business Competition in which her role was to analyse her team’s business’s financial position to inform their decision making. Alongside this, she successfully completed internships in Investment Management with upReach and in Assurance with EY.

Qihua has a natural aptitude for helping others. As a note-taker for students with disabilities and dyslexia, Qihua adapted how she worked according to the individual student needs and joined the University’s mentorship programme as a Student Mentor, sharing her experiences as an international student to help others.

Giulia Pia Carleton

BA Business Management

During her time working at Connect Abruzzo – an Erasmus Plus company – Giulia led a group of five students aged 16-21 with learning difficulties or disabilities on a 3-week long trip to Poland, overcoming communication challenges and difficult situations. After her success, Giulia gained a place on another Erasmus Plus project, empowering women across Europe about their sexual health.

Her success as a Student Mentor is evident from gaining the title of ‘Outstanding Mentor’ for two years, in recognition of having made such a positive impact on students’ lives.

Giulia involved herself in University life through societies such as Book club, Swing dance and Board gaming, as well as taking on roles such as Head of Marketing and Publicity for Forge Press student newspaper. During her role as New Societies Representative she saw how societies were struggling with funding, so she set up support groups, worked with Finance to create access funds, and within two weeks saw 50 applications from struggling societies.

Amongst all of this, Giulia successfully secured a place on FDM’s 2-year Technical Operational Graduate Scheme joining them as a Junior Consultant specialising in IT Infrastructure and Cloud Computing.

Akshaya Khurana

BA Business Management

One of Akshaya’s biggest achievements was as Competition Secretary for Sheffield Dance Society, organising its largest annual production in the shape of the home dance competition. Bringing together 16 universities from around the country to compete, she leveraged her relationship with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, having completed an internship there, to secure vital sponsorship funds for the dance event.

Contributing to her local community Akshaya to volunteered with the Snowdrop Project, teaching dance classes to vulnerable women using their services, as well as initiating a Sunday Selling group to promote local businesses in her village.

As a mentor she helped guide new students to adapt to student life in Sheffield as well as dedicating an incredible five years to tutoring a girl through her GCSEs and A Levels.

After successfully completing an internship with Enterprise Rent-A-Car Akshaya became Campus Brand Manager, as well as managing the social media for an independent business, Aadya Life. After graduating Akshaya accepted the offer of a graduate role as a Consulting Analyst at Accenture

Francesca Paterson

BA Business Management with Employment Experience

Raising the aspirations of others is something that Francesca has been continually committed to since starting University. Having previously secured a Senior Mentor Role at ‘NCS the Challenge’ helping young people build skills for adulthood, she went on to be an Outreach and Widening Participation Ambassador throughout her time at University.

Experiencing the pandemic spurred Francesca on to give something back to her community and so she became an NHS Volunteer Responder, providing much needed help and support to vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Having taken part in the Careers Mentorship programme as both a mentor and a mentee, and having completed a placement year at PwC, Francesca held the roles of Management School Student Ambassador, Faculty of Social Sciences Student Ambassador, and Futures First Ambassador, helping others with finding placement opportunities and settle into university life. She was elected as the first Management Society’s Careers Officer working with the School’s Employability Hub helping to promote employability events and opportunities to current students.

Making the most of the University’s ‘London City Connections’ initiative, Francesca met successful alumni in leading positions in business seeking advice and guidance from them to inspire her own career development.

Upon graduation and after completing her placement at PwC Francesca secured a Graduate role as a Risk Assurance Associate.

Lauren Rogers

BA Business Management and Maths

Alongside studying for her degree Lauren dedicated a significant amount of her time and skills to Enactus Sheffield, particularly around a flagship project ‘Motion’, promoting the benefits of exercise in the health of older people in settings such as care homes. Lauren began working on the project as Sales Officer and was later promoted to Project Lead.

Adapting quickly to the pandemic Lauren successfully sought new ways of working to maintain their relations with care homes. She came up with creative solutions including the use of Facebook Portals to continue delivering sessions online, helping care homes to understand the technology and retraining volunteers. Lauren also helped to initiate a #Messages campaign which saw over 40 handwritten letters being delivered from students to care homes.

As a result of Lauren’s efforts and her team’s contributions to Motion, it was awarded Highly Commendable for the ‘Overcoming Adversity Award’ in the Enactus UK National Competition 2021.

Lauren supported school children during her summer teaching internship with The Chantry School in Worcestershire, running after-school Maths sessions, delivering talks about college and university life, and tutoring a student to help with their maths skills.

Managing to work from home alongside her studies she held an HR Administrative role for The Community Housing Group, and upon graduating, secured a graduate role as Technology Risk Consultant at EY in Birmingham.

Harriet Sims

BA Business Management with Employment Experience

Through her role as a ‘Check in and Chat Volunteer’ for FoodCycle, a charity that tackles food poverty and social isolation, Harriet provided much needed support helping vulnerable members of the community to access vital resources and services.

As Events Secretary and then Vice President for Management Society, Harriet initiated the ‘Tea for Two’ project, which kept over 100 society-members in contact during the lockdowns of the pandemic and helped the Society to earn the title of “Society of the Week” twice, awarded by the Sheffield Students’ Union.

Being a strong advocate for the University throughout her studies and drawing upon her own experiences, Harriet successfully took on the roles of Student Ambassador, Futures First Ambassador, and Alumni Fund Student Caller. She also completed a placement year at SAP UKI, as the Managing Director’s Office Associate and Corporate Social Responsibility Lead.

After graduating Harriet secured a place on the ASDA Graduate Scheme.

Katie Taylor

BA Business Management with Employment Experience

Throughout her degree Katie played for the University Hockey Club as well as being the Events and Tour Secretary. She was elected Captain of team ‘Wockey FC’ in the University 6-a-side Intramural Football League, where she led her team to the nation-wide finals of the FA People’s Cup, Higher Education Category.

Katie represented the Management School through her roles as SUMS Student Ambassador and Futures First Ambassador, sharing her experiences with prospective students and helping current students with their employability skills. During her placement year in Marketing at Bosch, Katie played for Richmond’s Hockey Club in the Ladies First Team and completed the BUILD Intern Development training programme. As a Business Intern at Cardzone during University vacations, Katie played a lead role in guiding the company to implement 100% recycled packaging for their products upon the launch of their new customer website.

Following her graduation, Katie plans to travel to France to work as a Chalet Host during the 2021-22 ski season.

Edward Wilson

BA Business Management with Employment Experience

Whilst studying for his degree, Edward’s entrepreneurial drive led him to successfully raise sufficient capital to buy London-based formalwear company Just Winston Ltd, and take on the role of Managing Director.

Setting himself the goal of ​becoming an officer in the British Army, Edward proceeded to do weekly UCAT tests (University Clinical Aptitude Test) for a whole year to prepare for the Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB). He has now passed the Board and been successfully awarded a place at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Edward also completed a placement year as a Sales Intern at General Electric Healthcare, where he was selected to be on the Future Steps Programme, an intern-led committee responsible for the wellbeing and career development ​of fellow interns.

He ran the 2019 London Marathon raising over £3,000 for cleft palate charity, The Smile Train. ​Edward is currently training to lead a blind athlete to run the ​2021 ​London Marathon in October as part of his volunteer role as a Guide for visually impaired athletes.

Isabelle Woodward

BA International Business Management with Study Abroad

As an International Business Management student Isabelle studied abroad in Sydney, Australia as part of her degree. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic Isabelle managed to gain work experience, undertaking a part-time role as Hostess at Sydney restaurant The Squire’s Landing, and contributed to her community by willingly providing extra English-support to fellow students whose first language wasn’t English.

In the UK Isabelle engaged with her student community in her roles as Public Relations Officer for Enactus Sheffield, member of the Sabrecats Stunt Cheerleading Team and as a Student Mentor.

She volunteered with Irise International for International Women’s Day in the battle against period poverty and as the Events Officer of the Investment Society, she helped to raise £591 to increase awareness of student mental health via the charity, Mind.

Isabelle boosted her employability in the marketing industry by completing a Digital Marketing Internship with 10 Out Of Zen. She is now working in digital marketing consulting roles with clients including the Make Birth Better network.

Yiming Zhang

BA Accounting and Financial Management

Yiming was recommended as having been “instrumental” during the busiest time of year at his Investment Banking Internship with Caitong Securities. He also completed internships in Insurance Underwriting at the China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC), in Institutional Banking with Citibank, Sales at Shanghai Roche Pharmaceuticals, and finally in Audit and Assurance at Deloitte, Shanghai.

To support his catalogue of work experience internships, Yiming completed the Bloomberg Market Certification, and succeeded in passing Part One of the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) Financial Risk Manager Exam. Yiming went on to successfully led his team through to the second round of the IBM University Business Challenge.

Alongside this, Yiming played an active role within the University. He held the committee role of President of the Animal Appreciation Society, was a Member of the Investment Society, took responsibility for finances as a Senior Member of AIESEC, and volunteered for Shanghai No.6 People’s Hospital.

More about SUMS Alumni

We wish all our Dean's List winners every success for the future and we hope to keep you updated about where their future careers take them. To find out more about SUMS Alumni visit the Management Gateway where you can Meet our alumni and find out more about other alumni Awards and recognitions.


Undergraduate Class of 2021, congratulations!


Celebrating our highest achievers: Prize Giving 2021


Meet the Dean's List Winners - Class of 2020