Professor Tim Blackman and Paulina Pieprzak
Paulina Pieprzak, aged 29 from Salisbury, has been awarded the annual Richard Delbridge Prize for achieving the highest academic result of this year’s graduates in The Open University’s Financial Services Foundation Degree.
Originally from Poland, Paulina works in financial services and took up the challenge of studying in a foreign language after hearing of her cousin completing a Master’s degree. She said: “I always wanted to study but wasn't sure if I could do it. I was afraid I would not have the time with a full time job. However, studying Financial Services at The Open University not only gave me a broad knowledge of the industry and improved my writing skills, but also gave me the confidence that I can achieve my goals”.
Paulina is the second winner of the prize of £500, endowed by Richard Delbridge. A finance and banking expert, Richard’s 40 year career included senior roles at some of the industry’s leading companies. He has been a member of several committees concerned with financial aspects of corporate governance, including the Financial Reporting Review Panel, the FRC Group and the Audit Firm Governance Working Group.
Since 2000, Richard has held a number of non-executive director positions. He was a member of The Open University Council and Treasurer of the University for eight years, until his retirement in 2009.
Richard has supported the Foundation Degree in Financial Services since its beginning, and over 1,500 students have registered for the qualification to date. Designed to meet the Financial Services Foundation Degree Framework drawn up in conjunction with employers, the degree provides benefits for both the student and the employer. It combines work-based learning and academic study and also includes the OU’s flagship university-level course in personal financial capability, You and Your Money.
Since completing the degree, Paulina has gained a job as a Compliance Officer for a large pension provider. When speaking of her time studying with the OU she said: “I would definitely recommend The Open University for their lovely tutors, a great choice of modules and the flexibility”.