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Farooq Arshad

BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance (2017)
Assurance Associate, PwC Leeds

A profil epicture of Farooq Arshad, international graduate

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford?

I applied to the University of Bradford as the University was offering an international excellence academic scholarship and the University had a high ranking for my course with an excellent accreditation around the world. The University also had a great level of support provided to the students through the library, ELS and from Career and Employability Services support team.  

The city is overall easy to familiarise yourself with and it is affordable for a student to spend their university life especially if an international student. The things I enjoyed most about Bradford was the social life at the university with wide variety of people, the food and the locality.

Why did you choose that particular course?  What did you like and enjoy most about your course?

I choose the course as I had a passion for becoming a Chartered Accountant and had done A Levels in Mathematics, Economics and Accounts. The course at the University is well designed and students can get up to 9 exemptions in their exams for ACCA, which is a huge advantage for anyone planning to do ACCA.  I liked the practical work we had during the period of our course and I enjoyed the tutorials with quizzes and tests.

What would you say about the University of Bradford and the city to prospective international students?

University of Bradford has a great atmosphere with friendly academic staff and with lots of support through the resources available at the library which helps in preparing for the exams and assignments.  I would highly recommend University of Bradford to any prospective international student as it is a great place for any international student to join different societal groups, learn about different cultures and be a part of one of the top universities in the UK.

What advice would you give to prospective international students about the course at University of Bradford?

I would advise any prospective international student to do a proper research upon the course as many students attempt to change their course at the end of the second year and can’t do so.  Also, many people have the confusion that Accounting is all about numbers but it is more about the theoretical understanding of the subject and applying it into practice.

How did Career and Employability Services support you during your time at University?

From my first year, Career and Employability Services Team was supporting me throughout my application processes to different jobs and internships I applied to.  Through their support, I could secure an internship at PwC at my first attempt and at the end had a graduate scheme offer as well.

What action did you take to improve your employability whilst at University?

The Student Self Development and Employability modules were a great help to improve my skills through mock interviews, mock assessment centres and many different presentations.  I was also a Student Representative in my first year where I could communicate with many different students from my course and it helped me further enhance my employability skills at the university.

I would recommend any student to start applying for internships and placements from the end of their first year, as it is better to apply earlier and secure your position rather than apply late and don’t have many vacancies to apply to.

What advice would you give to your fellow international students about improving their employability?

I would recommend any student to start applying for internships and placements from the end of their first year, as it is better to apply earlier and secure your position rather than apply late and don’t have many vacancies to apply to.  Also, an internship or placement after your second year highly ensures that you would be able to get a graduate job offer at the end of the internship or placement, so the graduate job is sorted, and for the final year you can concentrate on the exams and assignments.

Tell us about your current job…

The Assurance Department in PwC deals with many multinational and top 100 FTSE companies in the UK and provides them with audit and non-audit services. Majority of the work is done upon audit where the Associates handle the testing of the final accounts provided by the clients.  The work is mostly site-based at the clients’ offices and sometimes in the PwC office as well.  

Audit Associates use different audit software to run tests on the financial figures in the financial statements and to assure that all the information provided is stated in a true and fair manner.  It would be great to be a part of the Assurance Team at PwC (starting Sept 2017) as they are one of the biggest four accounting firms in the world and the working atmosphere is great.

What advice would you give to current international students wishing to enter this type of career?

I would advise current international students to research a lot about the accounting firm you are applying to as a company like PwC provides various services other than Audit which is helpful for the student’s knowledge.

I also advise students to build up their application forms and apply to a single company at a time rather than applying to ten or five companies at a time. This reduces the focus on each company and may reduce concentration during many interviews and the assessments. I applied to EY alone at first but couldn’t go through. My second application was to PwC alone as well, and it took some time to get through the process but I got an internship at their Leeds office. So applying to a single company at a time helps a lot.