What did you do before joining the training scheme?
I joined Imperial College London straight after completing my undergraduate degree in Economics and International Development. My degree included an industrial placement year, in which I worked for 14 months at UBS Global Asset Management, in the Global Real Estate Multi-Managers and Securities team. While I enjoyed my time there, I decided a career in asset management wasn’t for me, and focussed on pursuing my interests in accounting and finance.
What attracted you to the scheme?
Imperial has a strong culture of personal and professional development, and I was particularly attracted by the excellent support package offered to complete the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification; alongside the opportunity to nurture other key skills through undertaking courses at Imperial’s Learning and Development Centre. The Higher Education sector offers a unique and stimulating work setting and I was keen to experience first-hand how Imperial responds to the changing political environment whilst maintaining its position as a top education and research institution. Completing a variety of placements across the entire Finance division seemed an excellent way to link my interest in the sector with my goal of becoming a qualified accountant.
What has been the highlight of your time on the scheme?
During my time within the Management Accounting team, I acted as central finance support to over 20 different Support and Academic Services departments at College, including the Library, Careers Service, Research Strategy and Safety Department. As a result, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of senior personnel across College and gained considerable insight into how each department contributes to Imperial’s academic mission. The placement proved particularly valuable and relevant to my CIMA studies and I was able to progress quickly through the exams.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Having had very little accounting experience prior to joining Imperial, I had to learn basic accounting principles in a very short space of time, whilst also getting to grips with Imperial’s finance systems and adjusting to my new responsibilities. While it was a steep learning curve, my team were incredibly supportive and this practical experience has allowed me to build up a strong knowledge and skill base and progress quickly through my accountancy exams.