Award lets Sunderland business graduates shine – Sunderland Magazine


A recent graduate from the Northeast takes his first steps into the international business arena thanks to the legacy of one of the region’s most famous entrepreneurs.

Jesse Thompson recently completed a degree in Business and Financial Management from the University of Sunderland. In his final year of studies, Jesse was awarded the £10,000 Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship which set him on the path to a successful career after graduating in 2019.

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

University of Sunderland graduate Jesse Thompson Photo: DAVID WOOD

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

“The Tom Cowie Award has helped me to exceed my expectations and to thrive,” says Jesse, from Sunderland. “I was able to take time off from my employer at the time, which allowed me to devote myself entirely to my final year studies.

As a Talent Acquisition Specialist, Jesse sources talent for strategic European locations for EPAM Systems. He is also responsible for managing key stakeholders in a number of business practices.

Jesse added: “The Tom Cowie Award made a huge difference for me. Even the interview was my first corporate interview experience and prepared me for potential employers.

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

Each year, the University of Sunderland offers tens of thousands of pounds of funding to current students, to help them improve their studies, professional practice and employability. DOSH, the Development Office’s scholarship scheme, offers students studying at Sunderland non-refundable scholarships of £250 to £10,000.

The Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship was established in memory of the Wearside-born entrepreneur who died in 2012, aged 89. Sir Tom was a long-time supporter of the University and a passionate believer in its principles of providing opportunities for talented people, regardless of background, to enter higher education. As part of his legacy, the Sir Tom Cowie Excellence Scholarships were established to help students realize their full potential.


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