I was an undergraduate student with Middlesex at the time and used to see Middlesex as my home. In addition, with all the new developments around the Hendon campus in 2007/8 and the newly built Shepherd’s Library, I really didn’t want to leave.
Another major factor was that I had decided to start working to gain experience and learn the basics of practical and professional life. Before finalising this decision, I spoke to my friend who was doing a PhD at Middlesex at the time and then decided to continue on as a student by applying for an MSc.
I’ve always had a keen interest in Finance.
It was the summer of 2006 when I moved to a flat in Wimbledon and the owner had left a few boxes of magazines for us on purpose. One day, I picked up one of these magazines (The Times) and started flicking through. I ended up reading an article that made me think “you know what? This is my thing, I like it, I will go for a degree related to Finance” and the rest is history.
The good thing about postgraduate courses is that you get to spend time with professionals. The majority would be those with some professional experience. The assignments and presentations that we delivered and the dissertation especially, helped me to learn how to search for information and that is what I do in my current job, searching for information that can help my clients achieve their business goals and avoid unnecessary situations.
I have always wanted to work for a globally recognised organisation and with KPMG being one of the biggest financial services firm in the world, it was clearly one of my preferred destinations. Above all of that, problem solving has been my motivation since childhood and this is what you provide to your customers when you are in a service industry.
Honestly, there are many positives about my industry. You gain a huge amount of experience by meeting hundreds of professionals, from C level management all the way through different levels in organisations, which helps you learn about problems faced by almost everyone in any organisation. Apart from this, if you enjoy wearing suits, holding expensive bags, traveling by plane and living in hotels, then this is the industry for you.
On the other hand there is a lot of travelling involved so this job often means you spend a lot of time away from family and friends and may have to change your personal plans spontaneously.
There are people who spend hours taking courses and preparing for exams and there are people who accept any professional request received from their seniors. There’s nothing wrong with courses and exams but if you really need to enhance your professional profile then simply be willing to learn from senior managers, do little projects and tasks for them and grow from that experience.
I helped a huge semi-government client in achieving its vision of providing services to its customers all day every day. I designed future state process maps for them to achieve this.
Don’t wait until you’re in the role you want, start living like a professional now. Wake up at a fixed time, read papers, change the way you write emails (learn how to structure professional emails), start following professional magazines on social media, change the way you appear, move from casual to smart casual etc. to be taken more seriously as a professional.
Do not become a victim of the bandwagon effect. Look for internships and figure out what the right industry is for you. Do not go for glamorous fields just for the sake of money. Find yourself and money will follow you there.
You might be surprised that not a single one of my tips is heavily related to the professional world. This is simply because once you’re thrown into a pool you’ll learn to swim, but it is the attitude that you need to take care of. That is the most important thing. With population growing and economic crisis around the globe, we are living in an increasingly competitive market, but don’t let this put you off. Stay positive and keep your family and friends above your professional career. This would give you the real happiness and peace of mind and thus, the energy to do more in other fields of life including your professional life and the society you live in.