What did you do before joining the training scheme?

I joined Imperial College in August 2022, after graduating with a degree in Economics and Politics. I have always enjoyed numerical subjects and preferred the Economics side of my studies. I therefore chose to do an industrial placement in commercial finance during my third year. My role gave me experience in sales reporting, forecasting, real estate, and use of the company-specific finance systems. This confirmed my interest in pursuing a career in finance, although I wanted to work in a different type of organisation.

What attracted you to the scheme?

After my placement year, I knew I wanted to become a chartered accountant and Imperial provides the support and training needed to achieve this. There were opportunities to gain experience across several areas of finance, through completion of 3-4 placements throughout the scheme. Beyond this there are opportunities for professional development, which is key for career progression. I was interested in the Higher Education sector as I was looking for a company who makes a positive contribution to society. Imperial College had recently made the news for supporting the government during the pandemic, and is recognised as one of the world’s top universities for teaching and research.

What has been the highlight of your time on the scheme?

My current placement is with the Management Reporting team, and a key part of my role has been the annual report. This gave me a great overview of Imperial’s finances and an understanding of our approach to reporting. I have been given the freedom to create my own reports on several areas, some of which made it into the annual report and our monthly report to senior management. The finance trainees are seen as a valuable asset so I have been involved in a number of projects and am always encouraged to share my ideas.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Working for such a large organisation is challenging as there are so many things to learn. It took some time to get used to the finance systems, but training and support from my colleagues has made this easier. I would say adapting to the terminology and acronyms used across the college has been the biggest challenge. This can only be learnt through experience and exposure to each area of Imperial’s workings. However, I have gained so much knowledge in my first few months here, I know this will continue as I am presented with new opportunities and challenges each day.