Course studied: BSc Finance
Graduating year: 2020
What was your time at university like?
I like to think that my time at university was filled with everything a student might dream of, I ensured that I studied well and at the same time I made sure that I did not miss out on any fun. So, for instance, I made the most of all the extracurricular opportunities that the university provided while making sure my studies were not hindered.
Some of them included the opportunity to work as a student ambassador, roles in societies and their committees. I had the opportunity to host a number of events with my friends and we had a lot of fun making the most of our university experience together.
What was the most memorable part of your university experience?
My most memorable time at university was my involvement in societies through which I was able to gain relevant experience through participation in societies. I completed successful terms as an Event Manager and a Finance Officer for the Pakistani Society for two consecutive years and I was able to interact with different societies from a mix of universities and we collaborated on a number of events and I found that very captivating and fun. I was also able to meet people from different backgrounds and made some very good friends!
University is about sharpening yourself but having fun, within certain boundaries, at the same time and I am glad I made the most out of it.
What skills did you gain from your degree which have been particularly helpful in your career?
I completed a wide array of modules in Finance ranging from complex mathematical modules to theoretical modules and developed a close attention to detail attitude and strong analytical skills as a lot of my work was to analyse data and interpret it. In Assurance and Audit, majority of the work constitutes of research and interpretation so having the ability to successfully analyse data and know what is relevant and what is not is very useful.
Another very useful ability I learned from my degree and my time at university is time management. Having a multitude of assignments and projects due, usually at the same time, prepared me to always be on my toes. In my final year, I had to complete my Final Year Project of almost 20,000 words along with a number of assignments falling due at the same time and to top that off, I had exams the very next month.
Being able to manage time efficiently is one of the key skills in Assurance and Auditing because there are stages of an Audit and you need to plan each stage effectively so you are able to carry out the Audit efficiently.
What has your career journey been like since graduating?
Although I am only at the very start of my career as I just recently graduated (2020), I believe I have a good idea of how my career will pan out given that I have a strong grasp of the relevant knowledge and skills needed to excel in my field.
What is your current job role and what does a typical day look like?
I work as an Associate in the Assurance service line at EY. A typical day is extremely varied as we have to work with different teams/divisions and clients, and this fosters growth as we’re able to learn how to adapt to different management styles and working environments. It also depends on which stage of the Audit you are at, so you will be researching the company in the planning stage and understanding risks that may be specific to a certain client. As you progress into the different stages of the Audit, you move ahead for further testing and interpreting financial statements.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I believe the most rewarding part of my job is the balance of independence and teamwork. In Assurance and Audit, you are mostly required to manage your own workload and prioritise accordingly. So, in a way, you can derive ownership from your work and a degree of independence from the very start of your career. That said, we still get to work closely within teams, and we learn from each other and also support each other which leads to strong relationships with the team and that is extremely useful for personal and team growth.
My job also has a lot of room for thinking outside the box. When faced with varying problems at differing stages of the Audit process, one has to analyse and think outside the box to come up with solutions to these problems. This can usually be a bit challenging, but it’s very rewarding to arrive at the correct solution, nonetheless.
How did your university experience and degree help you to secure your job/jobs?
I, personally, found the whole job application and recruitment processes quite interesting and to some extent, fun. This was mostly because I studied Finance and researched under very well-known professors who gave us very useful insights during lectures, and I made sure to research a lot on my own.
I also attended various workshops held at the university by employers and I cannot stress how useful the Careers Service was to me, in particular, Neela Nawathe. She was my main counsellor while I was applying and interviewing, and she helped me navigate the whole process in a way I found comfortable.
What advice would you give students who are thinking of studying here?
My advice to prospective students is to research thoroughly of what you want from your chosen degree and disciple. Picture yourself a few years down the line and understand what it is you really want from life and your career and then you should be able to break your self-defined goal into smaller parts.
Once you have done that then you can target each part individually with the relevant resources and guidance. Choosing the correct institution will be a very important decision and may significantly affect the start of your career so I would recommend to really think here whether the institution aligns with your goals.
I studied at Cass and they had all the relevant resources that I required to give me a very launchpad for my career, they had the world-renowned professors and all the latest equipment and tools for Finance which helped me to get the most of my degree. If you’re looking for a Business School, then I would highly recommend Cass as they have specialised degrees with very high rankings which are well sought after in the industry.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Change. I strongly believe that change is necessary for each of us to explore our inner selves and identify who we really are underneath our outer shell. I chose to do this by exposing myself voluntarily to things that I would have normally avoided and was afraid of even though I knew I needed to overcome them in order to meet my self-defined goals.
What ensued was an attitude that allowed me to naturally adapt to different situations and also enabled me to delve into my strengths and identify my areas of shortcoming.