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Talented St John’s student is finalist in Undergraduate of the Year Awards

“Reaching the final is a huge achievement for the 120 or so student finalists, with over 4,500 entries from 140 different universities”

A gifted mathematician at St John’s has reached the finals of a top student awards programme that brings together prominent employers and talented undergraduates.

Mary Letey, who is about to enter the third year of her Mathematics degree, is a finalist in the ‘Future Chief Financial Officer’ (CFO) category of the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2020. Now in its 11th year, the awards ceremony takes place virtually on Friday 4 September and will be presented by Rachel Riley, TV mathematician and co-presenter of Countdown and spin-off show 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Mary beat thousands of entrants to reach the finals of the competition, which features 12 awards sponsored by leading employers and professional bodies. Prizes include paid internships, trips abroad, meetings with senior executives and a graduate job.

Mary Letey undergrad of the year awards

An awards spokesperson said: “Reaching the final is a huge achievement for the 120 or so student finalists, with over 4,500 entries from 140 different universities across the UK. The awards are an excellent opportunity for universities to showcase the calibre of undergraduates at their institution, while giving their students the chance to practise the graduate recruitment process and secure positions with internationally recognised organisations.”

If she wins in her category, Mary will be awarded a week’s virtual internship with an employer approved by global professional accountancy body ACCA , which could open doors to the world of finance.

Mary, who is co-president of the Johnian Entrepreneurs’ Club and founder of the Cambridge Policy in Modern Surveillance Think Tank, said: “I’m very excited to be a finalist for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards. Winning is a goal for me on my journey as a professional, and it’s a great honour to be recognised among such like-minded and brilliant individuals.

“I’m very interested in the dynamics of building businesses, powering growth, and maintaining long-term innovation. This is something I’ve been able to explore up-close through my time working with the hedge fund startup Iguana Investments this summer and my current role as Venture Associate at Embryo Ventures. I’m so grateful for these opportunities as well as TARGETjobs and ACCA; I’m looking forward to using what I’m learning to shape tomorrow’s business world and beyond.”

To enter the competition, students had to complete an application, online tests and undertake an assessment day. Finalists for Future CFO of the Year had to demonstrate a variety of skills and personal qualities required to become a business leader, such as ethics and good morals, a passion for digital, creativity and communication skills.

Maths has been a passion for Mary since her childhood in Colorado, USA. “The complexity and difficulty itself can be very rewarding, but beyond that I’ve consistently been fascinated by the hidden simplicity and profound beauty of mathematics; the connections between abstract structures and practical solutions,” she said. “Maths is wonderfully enjoyable on its own but even better with the support of your peers. St John’s captivated me with its environment of growth and support combined with excellence and tradition. I’m grateful to be part of the legacy of St John's and to belong to a wonderful life-long family of Johnians.”

The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, Dean of Chapel at St John’s and Mary’s tutor, said: "Mary is a person of great energy, imagination and will-power. She is a gifted student who reminds me of Emily Dickinson's observation that 'to be alive is so amazing there's hardly time for anything else'. I'm delighted she has been nominated for this award and wish her all the best!”

Mary is among eight undergraduate finalists from the University of Cambridge who are up for awards in other categories.

TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards

Undergrad of the year awards logo

Published: 3/9/2020

TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2020 winners

Updated: 4/9/2020

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