Aston student is 'Undergraduate of the Year'

M&S winner Hassan
(Left to Right) Alan French, Head of Strategy and Architecture from M&S, Hassan Qulqass and Sir Trevor McDonald.

24 April 2013

An Aston Computing Science student has won a Graduate job with multinational retailer Marks & Spencer, after winning the 2013 Undergraduate of the Year award.

Engineering School second year student, Hassan Qulqass beat over 100 applications from 30 UK Universities to win a space on Marks & Spencer’s 12 month Graduate programme.

Finalists took part in a variety of assessments including online testing, interviews and practical tests including individual and group exercises, to test their communication, decision making and problem solving skills. Hassan was one of five Aston University finalists who were shortlisted for awards.

Hassan and nine other undergraduates were invited to the final in Canary Wharf where Sir Trevor McDonald presented winners with their awards.  Hassan won the IT and Computer Science Undergraduate of the Year Award sponsored by Marks & Spencer, in addition to securing his graduate role he also received an iPad.

This award was one of twelve presented on the day and each award was sponsored by a top graduate recruiter: Barclays, Mars, Ernst & Young, Laing O’Rourke, E.ON, EDF Energy, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Marks & Spencer, Gazprom, Nestle, Rolls-Royce and Mayer Brown.

Hassan Said; “it means a lot to me to have not only come so far in the competition but also to have won in my category. My thanks go out to Aston University Careers staff for their support and recognition in the fact that learning skills don’t just begin and end in the lecture room but go further than that. It is great to be in such an environment where students are encouraged to aim higher and embrace opportunities.”

Jonny Wooldridge, from the sponsor Marks & Spencer said; “Hassan stood out for us as he is already showing an excellent mix of technical skill, innovative thinking & entrepreneurial spirit and showed that he would work well in a fast moving IT department. He has been running his own software company for several years in a challenging environment and could show evidence of working in ways that met the M&S core business competencies.”


For further media information please contact Eva Tabora, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4294 or

For more information about the 2013 Awards and how to enter please visit

Notes to Editors

The TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards is organised by Group GTI, the largest graduate careers media group in the world, which was founded in 1988 and currently employs 250 people across nine countries. GTI distributes its products to universities across the UK and Ireland and is the publishing partner of 24 leading university careers services including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, Edinburgh, Warwick, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Durham and Trinity College Dublin. GTI is also the official publishing partner of Graduate Careers Ireland, the professional association of careers services in Ireland, producing products under the gradireland brand.

The TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards are set up to identify and celebrate the UK's best undergraduates in specific areas, like subject of degree (law, engineering etc), year group (first years) or other categories (future leaders, women, commercial excellence).  Being the best means having a combination of academic excellence, the ability to pass a series of difficult online assessments, good written communication and finally the interpersonal skills necessary to compete with other students in assessment centres run by the sponsoring organisation. The final shortlist of ten are invited to the Awards event in London in April where the winners are announced.

Each award is sponsored by a prominent graduate recruiter who provides a fantastic prize for the winner, including a paid internship.

Undergraduates from all UK universities are eligible - if you meet the entry criteria - and past winners have come from over 30 different universities.