- Course: MSc Accounting and Finance
- Year of graduation: 2015
- Job title: Management Trainee
- Company: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Tell us about your degree - why did you choose it? What elements of the degree inspired you to study it?
I studied Accounting in my Bachelor’s degree and I found myself wanting to pursue a long-term career in the finance, or specially the banking industry. My undergraduate degree has helped me gain a solid foundation in the Accounting subject, so when I was researching masters I wanted a combination of both Accounting and Finance. On one hand, I could deepen my accounting background. On the other hand, I can broaden my specialties and skills in finance. The Accounting and Finance program at LUBS ranks NO.1 in the UK so I naturally had to research online when selecting schools. I remember when I reviewed the structure of the program, there were several modules I was very interested in but had not studied before, such as Applied Finance, International Banking and Finance and Corporate Governance. Based on the reputation and course structure, I submitted my application and fortunately got an offer.
What was the best part of your studies here? What did you enjoy the most?
I must say that all my memories in Leeds are the best parts in my life. When I look back, the most valuable moments are that I learnt to hold a positive attitude to overcome difficulties encountered with studies. I remember that I took an optional module called “International Banking and Finance”, the content was totally new. The professor always reminded us to visit him at his office hours as he knew many of us were puzzled about the content of this module. So I worked on the reference readings and practiced essays after each lecture, and went to see him on office hours to get feedback. Gradually I found the lecture was not that difficult to follow as at the beginning of the term. When I look back, I remember feeling like I could overcome anything if I put enough effort in. The process may be a little bit tough but you really enjoy it at the end.
What were your career aspirations when you arrived? Do you think the experience and skills you gained here will help/helped you in your future career plans? In what way?
When I arrived in the UK I knew I wanted to work within the Finance Industry. Since graduation my aspirations have not changed. The professional knowledge I gained from the A&F program has definitely helped me prepare for my future career. For example, I remember when I had an interview with the manger of a private equity firm, I was asked to introduce each module of my program, including the content of the module, what and how I learned from the module. The manger then asked me to state the causes of the financial crisis in 2008, the Asia crisis and the current Greece crisis. Also, when I talked about the financial analysis module, he asked me what is the total assets, gross profits and lots of other financial indicators of the company I worked on. The whole interview lasted nearly 1.5 hours and I felt exhausted. But the next day, I got the offer from HR Department. I was so happy then and felt so thankful to the education I had received from LUBS and my efforts made during the year.
How has your career progressed since leaving the Business School? Have there been any notable highlights?
My career has gone smoothly. I successfully found a job in the banking industry, which was my planned career path. I think the notable highlight may be that I was selected to transfer to Hong Kong for one year, where I experienced another diverse and challenging environment to develop my career. At the same time, I passed the CFA Level I exam in June 2016, which gives me more confidence in the finance industry. I am now preparing to the Level II exam, and my goal is to pass it in June 2018.
One thing I have to mention is the Leeds Alumni Network. Since I left the school, I regularly receive emails about Alumni Events held by either the university or fellow alumni. I have participated in 3 events held in Beijing. I was one of the volunteers to help organise the Beijing Event in January, 2017. And I was really impressed by what Dr. Muhammad said during the event: ”The university really cares about alumni’s life and career after graduation. Because your future will give us guidance about how and where we can improve our education quality. Your future may somewhat affect the reputation of Leeds around the world. And the reputation of Leeds University may have an influence on your future career as well. We will always be connected with each other although you have graduated. That’s why I am here in Beijing to communicate with you all.”
I do admire the constant efforts paid by Alumni Office to build the worldwide alumni network. It’s not a profitable project in terms of financial figures, but it feels like the university does care about its intangible assets of reputation. The good memories may have passed but they never go away.
Where are you currently working, and what is your role?
I am currently working as a management trainee at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. I have been there for one year and I have already worked in several roles and departments. It is an exciting rotation programme that requires me to quickly adapt to new environments, work with institutional clients in different business sectors, and colleagues in different levels within the ICBC group.
What are your ambitions for the future?
For the short future, I will continue to work at ICBC group. It is a very big bank where I can learn different kinds of banking businesses, working with significant and excellent clients and talents. It is such a diversified organisation with lots of subsidiaries across the world, I would work diligently and endeavor to seek opportunities to work in different countries. I hope I can gradually grow up with the company and contribute my value.
Do you think your experience and skills gained here will help you in your future career plans? In what way?
Definitely. First is the knowledge I gained at LUBS. It is of course not enough for my future career. But it does help me lay a good foundation to go further steps. Besides the knowledge itself, I think what’s more important is the spirit and guidance I obtained in Leeds.
I remember the first lecture given by Professor Kostas during the induction week, he said that he doesn’t like reading the Financial Times but will read the newspaper every morning at breakfast just in case a student asks something he doesn't know.
If you are not from the UK, how was the transition to a foreign country? Did the university offer support or services that you found helpful? Can you offer any advice?
The transition was great. I quickly adapted to everything in the UK, the English environment, the food and multicultural social networks. I enjoyed trying new things and interact with people from different countries. They make me understand more about the world with different cultures and religious.
The support and service was quite considerate. I remember my person tutor once said “you can email me or come to my office if you have any personal or academic problem.” And the staff of St Marks Residence was very kind and helpful. I never felt helpless during the year.
What was your impression/experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the student union, the City of Leeds and the region itself? What would you recommend to future students?
Leeds has a high standard of facilities and services provided, many modern and traditional libraries with a large quantity of books and advanced computers. I have to mention the “Postgraduate study centre” located on the 3rd floor of LUBS. It’s really a lovely place and I spent almost all my study time there. The Student Union offers a variety of activities for you to build a social network or just to pursue a hobby. I often went to the Global Café on Monday night and made lots of friends there. If you want to study another language or just enhance your English, just go to the Language Centre and find a partner in the Parkinson Building. I used to have language exchange with a British girl during my year in Leeds. You can also go to the career center and seek some advice about your CV or anything about job seeking. The city itself has many wonderful spots to explore, it’s a combination of modern and vintage. It’s also very convenient to take a train and travel to the countryside nearby.
What would you say is your defining memory of studying here? (eg friendships made, confidence in your abilities, or any single event that you will always remember?) And would you recommend the Business School to others
The year brought me too many positive memories, I think it’s when and where I formed lots of important values for the rest of my life. I know that study does not end at graduation, I need to constantly enhance my skills and knowledge in order to have a better career. Also, I made many friends from Thailand and Indonesia who got the government support to study in the UK. It was the first time I had lived independently in such a multicultural environment but fortunately I enjoyed it so much.
I would recommend people choose a Business School according to their own preferences but research is necessary. The university you choose may be not be ranked NO.1 in the world, but you can still have wonderful moments.