Advice to students from Jamie Mumford-Raine CA
Downstream Commercial Development Analyst at BP, Jamie Mumford-Raine became a CA in 2009 after ICAS training delivered by BPP. Since then his career has gone from strength to strength and his connection to ICAS has deepened.
Here, he looks back to his time as a CA student and offers some advice to students of today.
“For me, it’s simple,” he said. “If you want to stand out after finishing university and get solid technical skills in finance, get your CA. The course covers so much and gives you a broad network. It also helps you to understand the types of career available to you as a professional.”
Step one: Find what your passion is
Jamie suggested that the course itself can help clarify exactly where your career should lie. And that the focus should be on the aspects that you enjoy the most, rather than the most appealing industry.
He said: “As you are studying, try to think about what your favourite modules are or chapters within a module. Rather than walk into a classroom and think ‘oh this is a mountain I have got to climb’, instead, take a moment to consider, if I had to pick one of these modules to do as a career what would it be?
“For me, it was investment appraisal. I opened that advanced finance book and I clicked with it. I liked the business stuff. I liked the accounting stuff. But I really clicked with the advanced finance.
“Too often people centre their career choices on a specific company who they wish to work for, without thinking what they might add to that company and, more importantly, what they would enjoy doing.
“You could join Google doing a role that’s wrong for you and hate it, but you could join Google and work on business development and love it. And that is the difference.”
Step two: Talk to a mentor
His second piece of advice is to get in touch with ICAS when you are thinking about your next step. As well as professional qualifications, ICAS provides a support system for your whole career.
“If step one is working out what you like from a technical side, then step two is an understanding of how you can apply that in a broader career,” he explained. “And that means picking up the phone to a mentor.”
ICAS offers a formal mentoring scheme. Jamie, who is a member of the London and Home Counties ICAS Committee explained that there’re plenty of opportunities to meet CAs at all levels and a network of peers who can really help give you the insights and inspiration to take the next step.
He said: “As a committee we are looking to engage more with newly qualifieds and would love to see you at one of our events such as the one we ran last year, In addition we are available if you would like to get in touch with us with your burning career questions as we can use them to shape future events, or even give you advice. You can contact the committee through firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Step three: Don't be in a rush
Finally, Jamie urges patience.
“It has taken me four years to get something I think is really well suited to everything I want. It is very easy when you first qualify to feel as though you have all of the technical skills to walk into your dream job straight away, but in today’s competitive environment it can take a while to land it.”
Instead, he urges consideration of the role you want and taking the time to plot a course that gets you there. It may mean working in an organisation, or even an industry, that isn’t your favourite in order to get essential experience to allow you to compete for the best positions in the one that is.
In summary, he said: “Try to think of your career as a three step plan. Work out what it is you are technically good at. Get the advice to work out how you can apply that. Draw your career path, but be willing to compromise and be patient with it. It’ll be worth it in the end.”