Shivam Thakkar (OL '09)
Corporate Development & Transaction Services Finance Specialist
A Levels: Maths, Business Studies and Spanish
Grades Achieved: AAB
University: Aston University
Degree Course: BSc (Hons) Accounting for Management
Professional Accreditation: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Throughout my time at School, I was always fond of Maths and took the subject at A-Level. There’s a good focus on the subject at LGS, and having classes suited to your ability is something that helped me achieve a better grade. The support from teachers was second to none, and I went from a C at AS-Level to an A at A-Level (there weren’t A*s in my day!). There are strong similarities with Accounting/Finance and Maths, which is one of the things that swayed me towards choosing my degree and ultimately my career.
Having left LGS in 2009, I went on to study Accounting for Management at Aston University following work experience I had gained before applying. University was a great experience, albeit slightly different from being at School. A lot more independence is required when at University. For example, you won’t get teachers asking where your homework is!
I did an Industrial Placement working at the Walt Disney Company, and decided to pursue a career in Commercial Finance. They may seem very similar but Commercial Finance is less transactional than Accounting, and involves more analysis that enable key business decisions. I wanted to continue studying for a professional qualification, so applied for roles that offered study support. This is quite key if you’re looking to do a professional qualification, as they are rather expensive!
"I did an Industrial Placement working at the Walt Disney Company."
After applying to hundreds of jobs (not an exaggeration!), I managed to join the graduate scheme at Arcadia Group. This is where I began my professional career as well as studying for my Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification. Graduate schemes are good for a career in Finance, and some offer rotational roles (e.g. 3 roles across 3 years). This gives you the opportunity to experience different areas of Finance and whether it is an area you enjoy.
I spent 18 months at Arcadia Group, before moving to Dow Jones where I continued in a Commercial Finance role supporting the Wall Street Journal Europe newspaper’s key stakeholders. I would help provide the information to assess the profitability of the newspaper, which would help make business decisions (e.g. when to run a promotion). I also completed my CIMA qualification. Working at Dow Jones was a great experience but it was where I had decided I wanted a role with less repetitive work.
I joined Accenture in July 2016, in a role that is very interesting and diverse! It is a Corporate Finance role, which shares similarities with Commercial Finance but also has some differences. I work in a team called Corporate Development & Transaction Services (CDTS), on a variety of financial transactions. Furthermore, the role is project based so every day could be different! The CDTS team is a market facing Finance team focused on enabling Accenture’s desire to grow profitably. The team work across a full spectrum of complex high risk deals from client transactions through to ventures and acquisitions. My role in the team is to provide costing, pricing and financial deal shaping support to large and complex client transactions.
"the role is project based so every day could be different!"
Job Search Tips
Don’t be disheartened by rejections, you’re competing against thousands of people!
Current Needs of Employers in my field
Intelligent individuals but also those with good communication and people skills.
Things I wish I’d known in Sixth Form
It’s okay to not have a clue what career you want to pursue!
Describe LGS in three words
Collaborative, Engaging, Community