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Rikita Nandkumar

BA Accounting and Finance – ACCA qualification, Dubai Campus, 2014

Planning and Performance Management Analyst, Zurich Insurance

What made you choose Middlesex University?:

The course I picked had the best curriculum in Middlesex University compared to what the other universities were offering at the time. For example - Heriot-Watt offers a similar course but requires an additional year of study to obtain Honours.

What course did you study and what attracted you to that course?:

I did my BA (honours) in Accounting & Finance due to my passion for the subject firstly and secondly due to the strong tie up our University had with ACCA, which helped me to reach my goals of pursuing the ACCA qualification faster.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy the most?:

Business Law and Taxation were my favourite subjects of the course. Most of the academics were young & energetic - making them great teachers. Moreover, the timetable was flexible in comparison to the rigid operating hours of other schools.

What is your fondest memory of Middlesex?:

I loved the fact that we had events every now and then, university celebrating all occasions possible including Christmas, International Day, Indian Republic Day and supporting initiatives like Breast Cancer Awareness. My favourite one was the Youth Fest, which was hosted annually.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?:

I'd say, pick a course that mostly includes interesting subjects for you. this is will definitely make you enjoy the experience.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?:

Like I mentioned earlier, my course was the shortcut to obtaining my ACCA qualification. After completing my degree, because I was exempted from the entire fundamental level of ACCA, I only had to complete 5 papers for the professional level and finish my exams, which I did within the following year.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?:

A year after my degree, I joined Zurich insurance as an intern and have been working with them for over three years now. I've had three promotions in the last three years and now work as a Planning and Performance Management Analyst and chair the Women's Innovation Network at Zurich Middle East.

What has been your defining career break of highlight to date?:

Becoming the chair of the Women's Innovation Network at Zurich, Middle East, was definitely my career break. At Zurich, we aim to understand, accept and encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace, regardless of gender, as well as to create insight into business success. We work towards ensuring that there are equal career opportunities for women and men at all levels of the organisation and support the establishment of an inclusive working environment to enable all employees to contribute their best at work.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?:

Focus on developing your soft skills while at university - the degree itself will provide you with a lot of hard skills needed to enter the corporate world, but it is very important to have good interpersonal skills. The best way to develop them would be through taking part in as many extra-curricular activities as possible.

What skills have been most valuable in your career so far and how have you developed these?:

Time Management - the most important one for me! Learning to prioritise and say 'no' from time to time always helps. I always maintain a 'to do' list in order to help with priorities and managing my activities efficiently.

Are there any tips you can give international students looking to move abroad to study?:

I've stayed in Dubai all my life, so not the best person to provide advice on this matter. However, I'd say it's an amazing opportunity which helps broaden your mindset, obtain exposure to other cultures, and really helps in the workplace, too.

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