A big thank you to my mentor
Yier Hu (MAcc 2019), pictured above, is graduating later this year from the University and is thrilled to have secured her dream job with the auditing giant KPMG. She’s all set to start work in September but has someone she’d like to thank first – her mentor, alumnus Nawaz Safdar (BAcc 2013). Nawaz was on hand to answer Yier’s questions and give her an insider’s take on her chosen industry.
Yier, who’s studying international accounting & financial management, found Nawaz through The Network, our community of alumni mentors. She had a career path in audit and assurance in mind, and he was already working in the field at one of the “Big Four” companies, EY.
“Nawaz invited me to take some mock interviews,” she says. “He also helped explain the differences between working in various financial sectors which I was confused about – after talking to Nawaz, things became much clearer to me. I got a real interview a few days after I spoke to Nawaz, so it was really helpful.”
Yier was initially matched with four alumni when she joined The Network. “Sarah from the Careers Service asked me a bit about my background and future career path,” she says. “I told her I wanted to get into audit and assurance and she gave me feedback about some alumni who had gone to the big firms after graduation.”
“I messaged them and received replies very quickly. I had tried connecting with people on LinkedIn and I think out of 50 messages I sent, I only found one person to give me advice. On The Network, almost everyone I contacted responded.”
A perfect match
Nawaz turned out to be her best match. “I have been a member of The Network for a little over a year now,” he says, “and I've mentored four students so far through it.
“Yier simply messaged me to say she was interested in a career in the Big Four and asked whether I could offer any guidance. I felt I could advise her about what to expect in upcoming interviews, as well as give an insider’s view of the industry.”
He coached Yier through mock interviews and was always at the end of a phone or email with experienced advice. “I gave her some insight into the assessment centres she’d been invited to attend and the tasks she would be asked to complete there,” he says.
Yier was also helped by others on The Network. “One of the other mentors I connected with, Houfu, who’s from China like me, is working in internal audit,” says Yier. “I asked him about some of the things I could put in my application and also about his experiences in Ireland, where I was interested in working.”
“Another connection I made was Andrew, who worked at KPMG in Aberdeen. He gave me good advice about adjusting my application, which saved me time. If I hadn’t had his help I might have missed the chance to attend an assessment centre.”
Soon after using The Network, Yier was able to secure the position she wanted and will start work at KPMG in Dublin before returning to Glasgow for her graduation ceremony in December.
Take a chance
Yier had a clear idea of what she wanted to do when she began using The Network, but she says that doesn’t have to be the case. “No matter what your background, your knowledge or your language skills are, be brave and try The Network! You can always find someone to connect with.”
And Yier also understands the importance of paying it forward: “I would love to carry on using The Network after I graduate, because I really did receive a lot of help. So to give it back, I’d be more than happy to help others as well.”
This article was first published June 2019.