Award lets Sunderland business graduate shine

A young North East graduate is taking his first steps into the international business arena thanks to the legacy of one of the region’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.

Jesse Thompson recently graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Business and Financial Management. In his final year of study Jesse was awarded the £10,000 Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship Award, which put him on track for a successful career after he graduated in 2019.

The Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship, now in its ninth year, is awarded to students from the Sunderland area who at the end of their penultimate year of study have demonstrated an excellent academic record.

Jesse, 25, now works as a Talent Acquisition Specialist at EPAM Systems. EPAM Systems is a multi-billion dollar US company, and is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of custom software.

“The Tom Cowie Award helped me exceed expectations and thrive,” says Jesse, from Sunderland. “I was able to take leave from my employer at the time, which allowed me to fully dedicate my attention to my final year studies.”

As a Talent Acquisition Specialist Jesse headhunts talent for strategic European locations for EPAM Systems. He is also responsible for managing senior stakeholders across a number of commercial practices.

Jesse added: “The Tom Cowie Award made a massive difference to me. Even the interview was my first experience of a business-style interview and prepared me for prospective employers.

“The award really allowed me to stand out in a highly competitive graduate market and demonstrate my abilities and work ethic.”

Every year the University of Sunderland offers tens of thousands of pounds worth of funding to current students, to help improve their studies, professional practice and employability. DOSH, the Development Office Scholarship scheme, offers students studying at Sunderland non-means test, non-repayable scholarships from £250 to £10,000.

The Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship Award was set up in memory of the Wearside-born entrepreneur who died in 2012, aged 89. Sir Tom was a long-term supporter of the University and believed passionately in its principles of affording those with talent, regardless of background, the opportunity to enter higher education. As part of his legacy, the Sir Tom Cowie Excellence Scholarship Awards were set up to support students to achieve their full potential.

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