Audit professional Bryan Steinauer credits The Open University’s Bachelor’s degree in Business – which he began at the age of 16 – with landing him where he is today. He’s working for one of the global ‘big four’ accountancies, where he’s on track to become a Swiss Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
“My Open University studies have been a gateway to the next steps in my career,” he said. “I was offered my current role after completing my degree, and I am now working towards becoming a Swiss CPA.”
Bryan grew up in Switzerland and New Zealand with his family. He enjoyed experiencing different countries in his childhood and became bilingual in English and German.
His interest in learning began at an early age: “As a child, I loved to learn about many different topics, including mathematics, languages and business. Thankfully, my amazing parents, a teacher and a business consultant, understood that home-schooling was the best option for me. Being home-schooled enabled me to pursue my interests and progress through the educational curriculum at my own pace.
“After turning 16, I felt ready to start a university degree. However, it would have been difficult for me to go to a traditional university and live on campus, especially because I lived in Switzerland and wanted to study internationally.”
He went on to study at the OU and, just under three years later, he graduated with first-class honours at the age of 18.
When it came to studying internationally, there was only one choice for Bryan, a keen pianist. He chose the OU due to its excellent international reputation and the flexibility it offered him.
He said: “As a triple-accredited institution, The Open University Business School has an excellent international reputation. I was also attracted to the flexibility of distance learning and the wide range of interesting modules on offer.”
Bryan believes that the OU was the right choice for him and said: “I really enjoyed my studies at the OU. I found my courses to be very well structured, with clear learning outcomes and a week-by-week study planner for each module. My tutors were fantastic in providing one-on-one guidance whenever I had questions. And it was exciting to meet students of many different international backgrounds, particularly on group assignments. In one group, we were spread across three continents!”
Bryan says the skills and knowledge he picked up during his degree have come in handy every day in his workplace.
“Because of the OU’s international outlook, the curriculum is also relevant in Switzerland,” he said. “For example, in accounting, learning about International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is just as relevant in Switzerland as it is in the UK. The OU also teaches many transferable skills, such as critical thinking and self-reflection. I have been able to apply these skills in both my day-to-day work and my personal life.
“The skills I gained during my OU studies are highly appreciated by my employer and my team. In fact, this has been mentioned in the feedback that I received.”
Bryan’s enjoyment of the degree served him well and, thanks to his hard work, determination and talent, he was awarded BA (Honours) Business Management Student of the Year 2020 by the OU Business School. This means that his academic achievements were the highest amongst his graduating class.
He said: “I was very excited to receive this award; it felt magical.”
In his first year, Bryan was amazed by the wide range of modules to choose from.
“I wasn’t sure about what modules I should take initially, there were so many interesting options,” he said. “I then took a module which introduced me to various subjects in business. In particular, I enjoyed accounting because it requires both ‘hard’ skills and ‘soft’ skills such as critical thinking, communication and teamwork. This helped me settle on accounting as my specialisation. Today, over three years later, accounting still is my passion!
“To anyone who is seeking a challenge and is eager to learn about business or accounting, I can thoroughly recommend the OU Business School. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge required for a successful professional life.”
Watch Bryan talk about developing the skills you need to study at University level here