Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am married with 3 children. I was born in the United States but relocated back to Nigeria at the age of 3. I lived in Lagos Nigeria till I moved to Edinburgh about 9 years ago. I currently work as a Financial Control Manager at RBS.
What professional field would you say you are in?
I am an accountant and I currently work within the Financial Services sector. Prior to that, I was working in an Accounting Practice.
What made you decide to pursue a career in your chosen field?
Everyone I studied Finance at the university and started applying for jobs after I graduated. My brother encouraged me to try the big 4 (PWC, EY, KPMG, Deloitte) due to their size and global footprint and also because they were good to have on your CV. Luckily almost immediately after I started applying I got a job with PWC as an external auditor and immediately started taking professional accountancy exams. Fair to say I wasn’t a big fan of the Accounting profession prior to that but I had no choice at that point so I guess it was something that just happened to me rather than being carefully planned out.
If you didn’t start your career in the UK, what was your experience transitioning into the UK workplace? Any tips you’d like to share?
I started my career in Nigeria as mentioned earlier but later moved to the UK at the peak of the financial crisis a decade ago. There was hiring freeze across the Financial Services sector, worse still, they were also laying people off, suffice to say it wasn’t the best of times to be a jobseeker in the UK but I persevered. I was unemployed for months and eventually had my breakthrough in form of a part time Admin job which eventually became full time.
I eventually managed to get back to the Financial Services sector after about 2 and half years of working in Admin and taking a maternity break. On landing this role, I have had to hit the ground running as I had to grasp my new role and adapt to the British work culture which was totally different to what I was used to in Nigeria.
My advice to anyone in a similar situation is to be resilient, have a strong network of trusted people around you, NEVER stop applying for roles and learn to smile when rejection comes your way as it is character building and will be a story for tomorrow and importantly, be actively involved in Edinburgh Black Professionals as catering to someone like you is the bedrock of the network’s existence.
Describe an average day in your role…
BUSY! Amongst other things, I have various meetings with stakeholders and work to get IFRS 9 implemented from a Classification and Measurement point of view. IFRS 9 is a new accounting standard which became effective from 1 January 2018.
Having worked your way up the career ladder, what advice would you give to those looking to progress in their careers?
Be determined, be focused, always keep your eyes on where you want to be and actively plan towards it. Don’t let rejection keep you down. Lastly, don’t be intimidated – everyone learns on the job. Believe in yourself. Improve yourself (training, professional courses, degrees etc.)
What challenges have you faced on the way up?
Combining family life with my career would have to be up there among daily challenges I’m facing but I have a supportive husband and wonderful children who make the challenge less difficult. Also, getting a job in my field after moving to the UK, having to learn quickly in new roles and constantly dealing with difficult/challenging clients/colleagues.
How did you deal with these challenges?
Time management. Dusting myself up and trying again after a failure/disappointment. I am a Christian so I believe in prayers and lastly, taking advantage of various free reading resources on the internet relating to time management, people management etc.
What has been your biggest professional achievement to date?
Getting my professional accountancy qualification.
Have you made any big changes in your career to get where you are? If yes, why?
I had to take a more junior role (Admin role) in order to understand the office culture and break back into my chosen field at a later date. It all worked out eventually.
What are your main priorities outside work?
Is there anything you do outside of work which you really enjoy?
I’m an adventurer so I love visiting new places, eating out and watching movies.
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Segi Awogbemi is on LinkedIn. Click here to connect with her.
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