Student profile
Surrey Economics student, Edgar


"Going to Sydney was without a doubt the best six months of my life. I’ve always wanted to visit Sydney; the rest of Australia, so when I saw there was a six-month programme at Surrey, it was one of the driving factors in choosing Surrey Uni."

Entry year


Placement company



What’s something you couldn’t live without at university?

Microwave! Once I got the hang of meal prepping, my microwave was used an unholy amount.

What’s one food dish or snack you couldn’t live without at university?

The Simplyfresh sausage rolls were my go-to before or after my lectures. I’m big on the bacon, eggs & toast breakfast too to get me ready for the day!

Describe your experience at Surrey in three words.

Progressive, enjoyable, challenging

Why did you choose to come to Surrey?  

As I was in the A-level year cancelled by Covid, my grades were allocated to me, this meant I had to do a foundation year course and Surrey stood out as the most attractive candidate. This was because of two main reasons, one being that my family home is an hour’s drive away so I wanted to be near enough to my parents/grandparents, and another reason being that Surrey is an epicentre for golf; I’ve always been a keen golfer and I wanted to further my development on the golf course, both working at local golf clubs, and playing new golf courses. 

What was your first impression when you got here?

Mainly excitement, I remember driving down for the first time on a lovely September afternoon and being overwhelmed with emotion. I was delighted with my freshers’ flat and the people I met were so welcoming early on.

Why are you passionate about your subject?

I’ve always had an economic-orientated mind but I think that my time at Surrey allowed me to actually tap into it and understand it. I think of decisions from both points of view (opportunity cost!) and try to analyse the consequences of basically every action. I think when I started at Surrey I really didn’t know the full extent of economics, but over the years, I’ve understood why we do what we do. I’m also a very maths-y person!

What do you like about your course and why?

As mentioned above, I enjoy the opportunity cost analysis of everyday decisions/business decisions. I like to apply what I’ve learnt to real world news articles and government policy. I’d be kidding you if I said economics was my favourite subject in the world, but I enjoy the task of opening my mind to models/economistic (not a word I know) thought processes and my degree prompts me to do that more.

Have you been on a Professional Training placement? What did it involve?   

I am currently working for the accounting firm RSM UK as a tax assistant. This placement will last me until early September 2024, and I began it in September 2023.

It’s been so varied that I can’t sum it up in one paragraph, but I’ll give it a go! My role is tax assistant; this essentially means I’ve been tasked with tax compliance related issues. For the first six months, I worked in the private client team, so I was dealing with various tax issues for individuals. The bulk of this work was completing their tax returns and submitting them to HMRC. I’ve been lucky enough to delve into many complex tax affairs with the support of managers, directors and partners.

As far as highlights go, I think the main highlight is actually having some money! One problem with university is trying to get by just using a loan/any part-time work you may be able to do. I’ve really enjoyed having some financial freedom for the first time in my life, it’s allowed me to do so many things I wouldn’t have been able to do before. 

Another highlight is simply working a 9-5 in central London, whilst it’s not everyone’s dream to commute, I always wanted to test the waters and find out what it was like. And I’m not going to kid you into thinking the commute is great, but it’s worth it in the long term when you understand how well your career can progress.

Would you recommend doing a Professional Training placement? 

I most certainly would. I cannot see any valid reason for not taking a year in industry to better prepare yourself for a graduate role. Interview skills, professional development, money management, independence, are all vital skills that employers will be looking for during their graduate intake. Having completed a professional placement, I’m happy to say that I have improved all of the above skills, and hope that my current repertoire of skills allows me to take a year or so out of uni/work to travel and then be able to come back to work with ease and experience in the relevant field.  

Economics student Edgar Crook with friend by Sydney Harbour at dusk

If you studied abroad, why did you choose to do so? Where did you go? 

I went to Sydney, Australia. It was without a doubt the best six months of my life. I’ve always wanted to visit Sydney and the rest of Australia, so when I saw there was a six- month programme at Surrey, it was one of the driving factors in choosing Surrey Uni. Sydney University provided me with a perfect opportunity to study at a very prestigious school whilst living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

What were the highlights of the experience? Would you recommend it?

I honestly can’t think of any negatives, everything was brilliant. I was able to form a close group of friends who were mostly English so we were all experiencing the new things together. I think the main highlight would be the incredible day trips/week trips we were able to do. One weekend day we’d decide to nip down to one of Sydney’s many beaches, or go for a hike in the woods to find a natural pool, or go to visit a stunning viewpoint. The versatility was incredible. 

Economics student Edgar Crook with friend in Australian rainforest

I think the number one specific highlight would’ve been backpacking the east coast from the rainforest down to Sydney. We spend four days in the rainforest and slowly worked our way down the east coast back home. Each location we stopped at had it’s highlights and I would do anything to re-live this again today.

Are you part of any clubs or societies? 

Yes, I have been a committee member of the Golf Society for two years, taking on an advisory role next year in order to focus on my final year. I love my golf, so I was happy to get involved with the team to represent the University at something I am good at.

What are the best things about life at Surrey? 

For me, it’s always been the ease of location to get home [Watford] and the plethora of golf courses nearby. I’ve worked at two different jobs (both golf courses) in my time at Surrey, and being able to have my car around to work 3-4 days per week has helped me have a real university experience. The social life has been enjoyable, I think as I’ve got older, e.g. been to Sydney, the novelty has worn off, but when I was in my late teens, the social life was ideal.

Economics student Edgar Crook by seaside in Australia

How has your time at Surrey had an impact on you?

My time at Surrey has wholly shaped me into the person I am today. Whether I put that down to the Uni I don’t know, there have been many external factors at play to help me get to where I am. But the common denominator has been being enrolled at Surrey and meeting new people whilst attending University.

Do you know what you want to do when you graduate?

I’m undecided, as previously mentioned, I’m hoping that my placement year will buy me some lee-way in terms of doing some backpacking post-graduation – as well as some financial backing – whilst not impacting my employability negatively. 

I am of the age where I want to experience new things and I need stories to tell my grandkids in 50 years! I’ve recently had discussions with the partners at my placement, and all of them say that going out into the real world like travelling is very attractive for the CV, it demonstrates an adaptability and an understanding of how the actual world works. I’m hoping that this is true.

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