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BSc Accounting, Finance and Economics 2020

  • Graduated in 2020, BSc Accounting, Finance and Economics.
  • He now works as a Tax Specialist for HMRC 
Osman Ehtsham, 2020 BSc Accounting, Finance and Economics alumnus, with a signed boxing glove

Journey to Bradford

"I previously studied Law at the University of Leeds which was a great and worthwhile experience, but because of the long train rides and distance, I did not really feel part of a community or network.

"After Leeds, I attempted multiple businesses which mostly failed. I realised that I had little understanding of how a business is run, and more importantly, I had no network to rely on. I decided to study a technical financial/accounting-based degree at the University of Bradford with great support for start-up business.

"The city of Bradford has won the UK’s “City of Culture” award and is generally known for its entrepreneurial culture. Back in 2017, I also remember Bradford being ranked #1 for distance learning MBAs. Ironically, I started studying to start a business, but ultimately became a Corporation Tax Specialist for HMRC!"

Osman Ehtsham, 2020 BSc Accounting, Finance and Economics alumnus, standing in front of a poster of himself.

Osman during his student days at the University.

Favourite memories whilst studying

"Firstly, one of my favourite memories was randomly getting an email to inform me that I had won an award for getting the average highest grade results in the Faculty of Management & Law, and was invited to a private ceremony to collect it. I also got a cheque but I never cashed it for sentimental values.

"Another favourite memory was setting up, and being the elected president, of the Society for Accounting, Finance & Entrepreneurs (SAFE) which was a lot of fun! Within a few months we had one of the largest monthly paying members in the university, and organising workshops and networking events for people with similar interests as me was both challenging and rewarding. Thanks to that role, I got to meet many local business owners and skilled entrepreneurs worldwide. I also got deeper relationships with many professors who I remain in contact with.

"I was also awarded a place on the Entrepreneurs Across Borders programme which sent me to Bahrain for a week. This was more exposure to incredible business owners and an amazing network. The absolute highlight was the Accelerated Student Entrepreneurship programme led by Paul Thorning. It’s highly competitive, but after an interview and mock business pitch, I was thrilled to get awarded a place on programme!

"I received expert coaching, support, and a network of entrepreneurs, investors and professors in both the UK and Bradford which ultimately resulted in me forming a company with a global team, producing a prototype and full business plan and then travelling to Beijing/Shanghai to pitch it to real investors in a Dragons Den Style format. The Chinese hosted us amazing well, and the business programme Paul set up is, in my opinion, the best in the world. I’ve stayed in contact with many of my Chinese friends from my time there!

"The last highlight was becoming a Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) teacher. Thanks to the previous two programmes, I’d learned the importance of a global network, so wanted to teach the class for new international students who’d just arrived from China.

"It was a support and peer based class but was entirely voluntary, meaning if my classes were not useful it wouldn’t have many attendants, luckily it went really well with over 60+ students turning up for multiple classes. Whenever I feel like I’m not progressing or developing enough, I re-watch some of the clips of my room-packed classes as a reassurance that my time in Bradford, Bahrain and China was incredibly useful."

Alumnus Osman Ehtsham, 2020 BSc Accounting, Finance and Economics delivering a keynote session to global stakeholders at a confernece.

Osman delivering a business pitch to investors. 

Travelling the world and experiencing new things is my greatest hobby! I’ve always been a fan of Japanese anime and culture but in Bradford I made so many friends from places like Dubai, China and Korea. My Chinese friends have made me addicted to Chinese hotpot and KTV. My Korean friend was also the President of the Korean society and it was here I got addicted to K-dramas. I also love boxing/MMA (not to participate…), and I was thrilled to win a Bradford University quiz to receive signed gloves that Amir Khan wore in his epic match with Marcos Maidana!

Career journey and finding work

"My career plan was to always start a business but I randomly saw an advert for the Tax Specialist Programme online and the career potential looked incredible. The application period was a year-long, and had multiple interviews, psychometric tests and a 2-day assessment centre. The congratulatory email said successful candidates were 1% of the total which blew me away!

"Julia Morgan’s employability class held a mock assessment centre which is the only time I’ve practised interviewing/assessment centre so was very useful. Leaving Bradford I was very confident in accounting, and thought tax was broadly the same thing. I quickly learned that tax is entirely different, and that accounting is the starting point to learning tax. HMRC’s first few modules are accounting based so others from different backgrounds can get up to speed – definitely could relax a little more on these modules because of my time at Bradford.

"It isn’t the technical knowledge that Bradford gave me that has helped me most. I’ve always been good with exams or technical stuff, but struggled with leadership, management and group settings. I had a bad speech impediment as a child and social anxiety so always ran from public talking too.

"In Bradford I decided to tackle it head on, and threw myself into every uncomfortable situation I could find, like being the President of a large society, pitching a business idea to a room full of Chinese investors or standing in front of 60+ Chinese students waiting for their class. Bradford almost transformed me from a socially anxious and reserved individual, to a confident and composed person who never ran from a challenge."

Alumnus Osman Ehtsham, 2020  BSc Accounting, Finance and Economics as a guest speaker for the University of Bradford.

Osman delivering a presentation to students during his time at the University. 

My advice to others is to be optimistic, sincere, mature and nimble! Definitely in academic institutions! Go beyond studying and speak a lot with professors, you’ll understand the quality insights they have, this goes beyond just the degree. Throw yourself into every opportunity you can find, it will develop you in ways you can't even expect!