Muhammad Fasih

Sector: Accounting
Job title: Junior Analyst
Subject of study: Business Analytics
Year of graduation: 2022
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Taught

Current Employer/Organisation Name

BDO

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

As a Junior Analyst in BDO’s Digital Risk and Assurance Services (DRAS) department, I contribute to the delivery of innovative methodologies, technology, and strategies that enable our clients to effectively manage business risks. In my position, I focus on advising and supporting clients in their approach to technology as they navigate change, risk, and compliance objectives. Additionally, I assist the Advisory Management team in expanding the digital service portfolio and driving business growth. My proactive approach allows me to work independently and efficiently, while my strong communication skills enable me to collaborate with senior managers, directors, and BDO’s partners to provide exceptional client service. At BDO, I have the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships with clients and gain a thorough understanding of their businesses, which helps me deliver high-quality advice and solutions tailored to their needs. With a commitment to innovation and agility, I strive to identify opportunities for enhancing service delivery and expanding our offerings to better serve the organizations we work with.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

My choice of a career in digital risk and advisory services was a conscious decision influenced by both my educational background and personal interests. While pursuing my Masters at the University of Exeter, I developed a fascination for the intersection of technology, risk management, and business strategy. I was particularly intrigued by the rapidly evolving digital landscape and the new challenges and opportunities it brings to businesses. I realized that a career in this field would not only leverage my academic training but would also offer an exciting avenue for continual learning and growth. What I enjoy most about my work is the dynamic nature of the industry and the variety of challenges it presents. Every day brings new situations, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The uniqueness of each client’s business operations and risk profiles requires a tailored approach, which makes the job incredibly fulfilling. Solving these complex problems is akin to piecing together a puzzle; it engages my analytical skills and offers a deep sense of accomplishment when a solution positively impacts a client’s business. Additionally, I derive immense satisfaction from the consultative aspect of my role. Working closely with clients to understand their unique business needs and then translating those needs into effective risk management strategies is truly rewarding. It’s more than just providing a service; it’s about building relationships and becoming a trusted advisor. This client-centric focus adds a human dimension to the technology and risk management facets of my job, making it a well-rounded and continually engaging career choice.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was a member of PakSoc.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

One of the aspects I enjoyed most about my Masters in Business Analytics program at the University of Exeter was its interdisciplinary nature. The curriculum combined technical subjects like data analysis and machine learning with the business-oriented aspects of strategy, decision-making, and operations management. This multifaceted approach provided me with the essential tools needed to tackle complex business challenges while empowering me with the technical know-how to delve deep into analytics. The faculty were a highlight of the program; their expertise and mentorship were invaluable. They fostered an environment of active learning and intellectual engagement, helping us to not just understand the theory but also its practical applications. My classmates, too, brought a wide range of perspectives, enriching our class discussions and group projects with their diverse backgrounds and experiences. The standout highlight of my program was my research project on Marketing in the Metaverse. Instead of a traditional capstone project, I had the opportunity to explore this cutting-edge topic, which blends the realms of digital technology and marketing. The project allowed me to apply analytical techniques to understand consumer behavior in virtual environments and how businesses can optimize their marketing strategies accordingly. This experience was both intellectually stimulating and professionally enriching, offering me a unique opportunity to specialize in an area that is at the forefront of business innovation.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

What I enjoyed most about studying at the University of Exeter was the perfect blend of academic rigor and real-world applicability. The Masters in Business Analytics program was incredibly well-designed, combining technical subjects with business strategy and decision-making, which has been invaluable in my current role. The faculty were not just educators but also mentors who facilitated an environment of active learning and intellectual curiosity. Their guidance, coupled with the opportunity to work on an intriguing research project about Marketing in the Metaverse, made my academic journey both enriching and future-oriented. Moreover, the diverse and talented cohort of classmates provided a rich tapestry of perspectives that added depth to discussions and projects. It was a holistic educational experience that went beyond the classroom, setting the stage for my professional career.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose to study at the University of Exeter for several compelling reasons. First and foremost was the reputation of the institution, particularly in the field of Business Analytics. The program’s interdisciplinary approach, combining both technical and business-oriented courses, aligned perfectly with my career goals and academic interests. This made Exeter an ideal platform for specialized learning in analytics, as well as broader business strategy and decision-making. Another decisive factor was the faculty. A quick look into the backgrounds of the instructors revealed a blend of academic rigor and industry experience, promising a rich educational journey. I was particularly drawn to the idea of learning from professionals who have not only excelled in academia but have also had real-world impact. The resources and facilities at Exeter were another significant consideration. From cutting-edge software tools to comprehensive libraries and dedicated career services, the University has a robust support system that aids both academic and professional development. Finally, the international diversity of the student body was an added attraction. The opportunity to collaborate and learn from peers from around the world was something I couldn’t pass up. Such diversity not only enriches class discussions but also prepares students for a globalized work environment. All these factors collectively made the University of Exeter the ideal choice for my postgraduate studies, and I have not been disappointed. The experience has been every bit as enriching and rewarding as I had hoped.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Several skills and experiences have been instrumental in shaping my career thus far, especially since completing my Masters in Business Analytics from the University of Exeter. Firstly, the technical skills I acquired in analytics, data modeling, and machine learning have been invaluable. These tools have empowered me to handle complex data sets, derive meaningful insights, and develop strategies to mitigate business risks in my current role as a Junior Analyst at BDO. Effective communication is another skill that has served me well, allowing me to articulate complex technical information in a way that is easily understandable for non-technical stakeholders. This skill was honed through numerous group projects, presentations, and client interactions both during my academic years and in my current role. Project management skills have also been invaluable. Balancing multiple client engagements, deadlines, and team collaborations have become a routine part of my work, and the project management fundamentals I learned at Exeter have helped me navigate these responsibilities efficiently. Lastly, adaptability and continuous learning have been crucial. The ever-changing landscape of digital risk and technology requires a proactive approach to learning and adaptation. My educational background, combined with a strong emphasis on self-development, has allowed me to stay ahead of industry trends and offer informed advice to clients.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Focus on Interdisciplinary Learning: Don’t just limit yourself to technical skills or business acumen alone. The beauty of this field lies in its interdisciplinary nature. Gain expertise in analytics and machine learning, but also understand how businesses operate, make decisions, and strategize. Work on Real-world Projects: Academic knowledge is crucial, but nothing beats the experience you gain from applying that knowledge to real-world situations. If you have the opportunity to do a research project or internship, make the most of it. This hands-on experience is invaluable and will give you a competitive edge. Develop Communication Skills: Being able to articulate complex issues in an easily understandable manner is essential. Whether it’s communicating with clients or presenting findings to your team, effective communication will set you apart. Build a Strong Network: Use your time at university to network with professors, alumni, and professionals in the field. These relationships can open doors and provide insights that are not available through coursework alone. Stay Updated: This is a rapidly evolving field. New technologies and methodologies are constantly being developed. Make a habit of staying updated by reading industry publications, attending webinars, and participating in relevant online communities. Embrace Adaptability: Be prepared for change. The tools and technologies you use today might not be relevant tomorrow. Adaptability is key to long-term success in this career. Invest in Soft Skills: Skills like project management, teamwork, and ethical considerations are just as important as your technical skills. They can differentiate you in a crowded job market and make you invaluable to any team. Be Proactive: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Be proactive in seeking internships, participating in extracurricular activities, and building your professional portfolio. Seek Mentorship: Whether it’s a professor, an alumnus, or a colleague, find someone who can guide you, provide career advice, and help you navigate the complexities of the industry. Never Stop Learning: Once you land your first job, the learning shouldn’t stop. Whether it’s new certifications, advanced degrees, or workshops, continued learning will help you stay competitive and effective in your role. The journey into digital risk and advisory services is both challenging and rewarding, offering endless opportunities for those who are well-prepared and committed.

 

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