Leeds Beckett University Chancellor Sir Bob Murray, one of the UK’s leading businessmen, has revealed the secrets behind his own success to some of the students he is sponsoring in a recent meeting at the university.

Sir Bob, who studied accountancy at the former Leeds Polytechnic in the 1970s, visited the university to check on the progress his students were making and to give them signed copies of his acclaimed new autobiography I’d Do It All Again.

He met accountancy students Katie Greenway, Aaliyah Ajmal, Kweku Yamoah and Majella Gallagher.

Altogether Sir Bob has provided financial support for 48 students at Leeds Beckett via his sponsorship scheme since he became Chancellor of the university 10 years ago.

He explained: “Taking an accountancy degree at what was then Leeds Polytechnic completely changed my life. Coming from a working-class family in Consett, and leaving school with just one O-level, Leeds Poly gave me the knowledge and the confidence to make a success of my career.

“It is only right that I repay this debt by giving today’s students the opportunity to follow in my footsteps. If I can ease the financial pressures they are under, whilst showing them what can be achieved via an accountancy degree, then I will. If I can inspire them to work hard and be successful, then that is so worthwhile. Education is transformative.

“It has been a real pleasure to meet Katie, Aaliyah, Kweku and Majella and I have been incredibly impressed with their enthusiasm and dedication. They have all taken on extra jobs to pay for their education and have shown a clarity of vision which I am sure will enable them to choose the careers which will suit their talents.”

Speaking on behalf of the four students, Aaliyah said: “We are so grateful to Sir Bob for his generous sponsorship of us. It is inspirational to have the encouragement and support of someone of the stature of Sir Bob, who has achieved so much in so many different areas.

“His financial support makes a real difference. From a personal point of view, I have been able to cut my working hours as a retail assistant to concentrate on my studies and on attending open days organised by leading accountancy firms like PWC. The experience I am gaining is priceless.”

Sir Bob’s sponsorships are available to Leeds Beckett students who are studying accountancy or other economic-based course, who live in the north of England and who joint parental income is below £25,000 a year. The aim is to ensure that talented students are given an opportunity to succeed.

Sir Bob qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 1972. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Leeds Beckett, before being installed as Chancellor in January 2013.

I’d Do It All Again, which was only published last month, is now on a second print run. It takes readers from the unforgiving streets of 1950s steel-making town Consett, where Sir Bob was unemployed for a year after leaving school, to his first steps on the career ladder by becoming an accountant, before launching start his own kitchen business Spring Ram, which was one of the great success stories of the 1980s.

He is best known as the former Chairman of Sunderland AFC and the visionary behind the Stadium, Academy and Beacon of Light, as well as Wembley Stadium and St George’s Park. But he has also founded and run two highly successful Yorkshire businesses, furniture manufacturers and retailers Omega and commercial property company Sterling Capitol.

100% of proceeds from sales of this book will go to Sunderland’s Foundation of Light. I’d Do It All Again is sold exclusively through the publisher at www.sirbobmurraybook.com and Sunderland AFC.