Ankur C.

Programme manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Ankur C.
Computer Science
Computing
Undergraduate
Derwent
2005
India

My employment

Programme manager
Nomura
United Kingdom
Finance and consultancy
Large business (250+ employees)
2006
£35000
£75000

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A day in the life of a Programme manager in the United Kingdom

I am a Indian-origin international alumni working in London in the Finance / Banking sector as a senior development manager.

What I do

Having been with my firm for a few years now, I have quite a lot of freedom in my area to pursue what I find interesting. I run a global team of developers who build solution in the regulatory technology space of the industry. My work ranges from writing code, to pure management, and quite a lot of technical design and user support.

Skills I use and how I developed them

The basics of computing languages that was taught in York, prepared me for honing my technical skills once I was in work. However, it is definitely the extra-curricular activities in York - JCRC, YUSU, etc. - that gave me the soft skills needed to excel in my job by contributing in a more holistic and meaningful manner.

What I like most

Every day is different, and I can focus on what I want to pursue.

What I like least

Management comes with a number of irritations, and sometimes one needs to implement ideas you may not completely back yourself.

What surprised me most

How much IT can help improve the flow of business. Even now, working with our clients, I am surprised how a small little piece of code can save them hours a day, and they never even thought about it till we suggested it.

How I looked for work

Went on various websites to create a list of employers I was interested in (about 200). And then went to each company website to understand how I could apply to them. Process needs to be started at-least 1 year before graduation. I went on to do a masters mostly because I started looking for a job in Dec 2004 (for my graduation in Jul 2005), and all the good roles were already gone! The next year, during my masters, I started Aug 2005, and got my Sep 2006 job by Nov 2005! Made the last year / masters a lot less stressful.

How I found out about the job

Recruitment event

The recruitment process

Most companies follow a similar process - you need to fill a form with some basic details (the more prestigious employers have longer forms), and submit your CV and Cover Letter. With an expected 2.1 or above from York, selection should almost be guaranteed. Then there is usually a telephone interview, and a couple of rounds of interviews / psychometric tests at the employer's location (they will reimburse you travel and provide lunch).

My career goals when I graduated

I wanted to go into programming for good, and then perhaps go contracting once I had improved my skills enough.

My career history

Been with the same firm for 10 years now, joined as a grad in a team, which I then was running 2 years later (due to major redundancies mostly). And then been climbing the ladder - I now run about 7 teams globally, and mostly manage managers.

What has helped my career to progress

Taking a lot of constructive criticism from people. Hard work. And taking ownership of responsibilities and mistakes.

Courses taken since graduation

Did a Masters in AI from Edinburgh, and inw ork have done a number of programming and soft skills courses.

How my studies have helped my career

The basic fundamentals of programming taught in York was very helpful. It seemed slightly pointless at the time as we were using ancient languages, but once we learnt them - the modern languages of today are a bit of a breeze.

What surprised me about my career so far

I really enjoy what I do - it surprises me because at the point of graduation, I really didn't think I would enjoy work.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

Very happy with where I am in my career - I may take another step up in another 5 years, otherwise I'll probably be doing what I am now.

My advice to students considering work

Work hard at getting yourself a job. Its a tough market out there at the moment. Once in, be prepared to work hard and learn for the first few years. Do it right the first time, and you are set for life.

My advice about working in my industry

Banking and Finance are quite high pressure environments. I worked on average till about midnight for my first 3 years in the job. But it pays really well, and from a tech perspective, there is lots of new technology you get the work with. The industry is as corporate as corporate gets, but the people you work with are extremely intelligent, and the industry is a complete meritocracy (mostly). I have very normal working hours now, but this is an industry where you need to prove your skills before you can take it easy.

Other advice

When writing CVs and Cover letters, make sure you get them reviewed by an English major, or the York Careers team. I interview between 30 - 50 applicants a year ranging from graduates to experienced hires, and the first red flag that usually makes me skip a person is a badly written CV / Cover Letter. Also, if you feel your communication / English skills could be improved, join a club or take some classes - you won't regret it. Being able to get your answers across to an interviewer clearly and concisely will make or break your interview. This holds true both international and native-English speakers.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Ankur’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Ankur a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Ankur to be your mentor.

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