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School of Business and Management

Xyna Asim (Accounting and Management BSc, 2018)

Xyna Asim is a Management Accountant at Bouygues UK and says that learning from Queen Mary’s lecturers, who are internationally renowned experts in their fields, equipped her with indispensable tools and the theoretical knowledge to be successful.

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Why did you choose to study a BSc in Accounting & Management at Queen Mary?

Whilst selecting a university degree, I tried to reflect on the subjects that I both enjoyed and excelled at. Growing up, numbers and figures were something I had always been comfortable with - so accounting with management seemed like the most natural choice. This subject area has always been appealing to me because it provides the opportunity to develop my understanding of accounting theories and practice, together with business acumen.

At the same time, I genuinely enjoy interacting with people! A career in this field is a fantastic way to develop my communication skills and team-working, which is crucial in developing the commercial awareness needed in a complex global financial world.

What aspects of your degree did you find the most enjoyable and was there anything that surprised you in your studies?

During my degree, I learnt a variety of elements regarding business, such as laws to govern particular administrations and accounting theory.

Being passionate to learn more about the never stagnant field of finance, I was never one to stay limited to the curriculum alone. Queen Mary boasted a hub of regular conferences and talks for interested students wanting to further build their knowledge, for which I will be forever grateful.

What surprised me was that the degree involves many practical aspects, giving meaningful experiences in business accounts and finance within simulated and real-life situations. This appealed to me greatly, and this is perhaps why my favourite module was “Company Valuation”. It involved picking a company, analyzing it through research to gather useful insights, and performing various calculations based on this information e.g., earnings per share. Combined with having the opportunity to prepare the key financial statements and managing budgets effectively with sheets/ledgers, I was able to gain a valuable insight into how to manage company funds effectively. Similarly, I was also able to cultivate my ability to view a company with a more holistic perspective, therefore being able to someday assist clients in determining whether it is worth investment.

Were you involved in any extracurricular activities when you were a student?

Whilst a student at Queen Mary, I was the Ambassador of Queen Mary Fashion Society, where we held events to promote fashion, such as catwalks and outfit designing workshops. This increased my ability to express myself freely and develop creativity in garnering attention amongst crowds. Overall, the experience pushed me to think outside the box when tasked with conflicts – a skill which will hopefully be valuable in my future career.

My leadership greatly benefitted through starting Queen Mary’s first Accounting Society. It highlighted the importance of effective team management, as my committee and I would work together to pull off successful events for the society members. Being a member of Queen Mary’s Pakistan Society and Queen Mary’s Business Management society further cultivated my communication skills and confidence through interacting with a wide variety of individuals.

Can you describe your career to date and your current role?

I am a stark believer in continuous professional development. Therefore, I decided to pursue a master's in accounting from the London School of Economics to further learn and develop my understanding of financial concepts. The important skills I learnt during my educational years landed me a job as a Management Accountant with Bouygues in London.

Currently, my role comprises of a variety of things such as preparing central overheads budgets, preparation of financial reports, liaising with budget holders to review cost and future trend of expenditures. It is my responsibility to ensure all company expenses are correctly reported, and all invoices are raised in a timely manner to be processed for payment.

How did your time and study at Queen Mary help prepare you for your career?

Learning from Queen Mary’s lecturers who are internationally renowned experts in their careers, equipped me with indispensable tools and theoretical knowledge to be successful in my own. The university also fostered positive interactions with like-minded individuals who were passionate about building their future, thereby allowing for the exchange of ideas and views that could only be beneficial for all parties. It developed my ability to interact and connect better with people from a range of different communities.

Being passionate to learn more about the never stagnant field of finance, I was never one to stay limited to the curriculum alone. Queen Mary boasted a hub of regular conferences and talks for interested students wanting to further build their knowledge, for which I will be forever grateful.

What was special about your time at Queen Mary? Can you give an example of your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment was being elected as PASS mentor for the School of Business and Management, due to being recognised for my educational achievements and interpersonal skills. I was tasked with supervising and providing advice to upcoming freshers and second year students about university life.

This role enhanced my confidence through personally advising and interacting with people at all levels, regularly taking charge of presentations and informing students about the facilities that Queen Mary offers. It also focused on supporting the growth and development of mentees - something that I was truly passionate about, as it meant giving back to the community. Towards the end, I was fortunate enough to build long term relationships with them.

What do you enjoy most about what you do now?

Each day is diverse, presenting you with a different challenge and therefore adding a new attribute to your repertoire. The role genuinely pushes you to adopt a think outside-of-the box mentality, and it is refreshing to use that daily.

The wide range of learning and development opportunities including mentoring schemes, champion roles such as volunteering, and group projects, promote the development of a ambitious future accountant such as myself for the long run. Additionally, the routine technical and management courses support me with my skills development.

What are your hopes for your career going forward?

I hope to continue expanding my knowledge, networking and interpersonal skills through interacting with different people at all levels. In the next five years or so, I see myself having progressed and become competent in my role as an accountant, having gained more experience in the field of finance and adding value to the company I work for.

Is there any advice you would give to students interested in studying a BSc in Accounting & Management at Queen Mary?

You must have a determined attitude; and never give up on comprehending concepts which may seem arduous at first. The degree might not produce all the answers you need but learn to adapt and find them when these situations arise. Queen Mary will provide you with the opportunity to learn, grow and lead in an environment of endless possibilities, so on your part you must never lose faith in yourself during challenging times. It will pass.

At the same time, utilise the facilities the university offers! They offer excellent personal and professional development opportunities such as courses, talks and workshops so I would recommend taking advantage of these to gain experience so that your potential is amplified.

Aim to contribute to Queen Mary’s reputation wherever possible through dedication, determination and commitment.