Nilofer Subhan

Country: Pakistan
Sector: Accounting
Job title: Senior Manager
Subject of study: Psychology
Year of graduation: 1989
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

A.F. Ferguson & Co

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

In my last year at Exeter I was offered a job in chartered accountancy by Ernst & Young, now EY, in their London office (banking sector). I started working there in August 1989 until March 1993 when I left to move to Pakistan, where my parents had shifted to after living in Hong Kong. I took a 13 year career break in which I got married, moved to the States, completed my ICAEW CA qualification, & brought up three children. My family moved to Pakistan in Dec 2005 & I restarted my career in July 2006 with A.F. Ferguson. I’ve been with them 14 years now, building up the Independence & Ethics offices. I was lucky enough to go back & visit Exeter a few years ago.

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

I knew that a good degree in Psychology from Exeter would open avenues for me. I had initially hoped to complete a Master’s in Clinical Psychology, but due to family issues changed the direction of my career & began interviewing for a job in CA with the largest global firms. What I love most about my job is the versatility, & chance to work with very talented, smart people. I’m not client-facing anymore, which suits my introvert nature. I enjoy the research required to stay up-to-date on regulatory matters, on a global level, and enjoy one-on-one discussions with my clients – the firm’s partners & staff who are client-facing. I enjoy the flexibility of work hours that allows me to spend quality time with my family.

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

I was the President of the Overseas Students Society, and a member of a few other societies.

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

The passion of the professors for their work, which led us to be interested in the areas we studied. I loved being in the Washington Singer building, it was, and is, the most beautiful part of the University in my eyes.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Exeter’s relaxed atmosphere, being on a beautiful campus, making friends who I’ve kept in touch with after 30 years, meeting people from all over the world.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

The quality of the Psychology programme, the closeness of the city to my relatives in Hampshire (I was an overseas student coming from Hong Kong so was new to the UK), & the reputation of the University.

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

The scientific process of hypothesis, experiment, results, & conclusion: the logic of it & the report-writing really helped in completing my audit work & reporting my results & conclusions. Also learning to work with teams & partners during my studies was a plus since so much of professional work is done in teams, or managing them.

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

I would say whatever profession you go into, hard work & honesty will lead to success. And kindness & good manners can only smooth your way. With Chartered Accountancy we were told “the world is your oyster” and I’ve found that to be true. It’s a worldwide qualification that signifies you’re able to work very hard, understand complex financial issues, manage people, and have had experience working in different industries & companies.

What are your plans for the future?

I am looking forward soon to an early retirement where I can travel the world, spend time with those I love, give back to those who are needy, and work on my spiritual growth.


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