Case study – Sarel Dika

What is your nationality?Sarel new


What/when did you study at Durham?

MSc Finance and Investment from 2010-2011.

What are you doing now?

KPMG Deal Advisory – Manager.

What does your job involve?

M&A in various industries across Asia, particularly in Indonesia.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed?

Durham provided an exceptional learning experience especially on how to work collaboratively in a multinational environment.

What advice would you give to current students?

To get involved in many student activities and career networking events.


Case study – Anya Bukshi

What is your nationality?Anya Bukshi


What/when did you study at Durham? 

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics degree from 2011-2014

What are you doing now?

I’m a Government Consultant on the Graduate Program at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

What does your job involve?

Being a consultant at PwC involves plenty of research, report writing, networking, and on the job learning. Working with the Government team makes me feel quite fulfilled as our work indirectly changes the lives of the citizens and residents living in the Middle Eastern countries we work with.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed?

Being surrounded by a body of motivated, determined men and women made me want to do the best I could. The desire for success is contagious at Durham and I’m very glad I had three great years to learn as much as I possibly could from the people around me.

What advice would you give to current students?

Don’t let your degree get in the way of your education. Try new activities, go to the talks and debates that Durham’s societies organise. Be confident in who you are but be open to learning new things and self-discovery. Only then will you find what will make you truly happy!

Any other information you want to provide?

Don’t sell your soul to your employer. A healthy work-life balance keeps your mind, body, and soul healthy too!


Opportunities with Deloitte in China and Hong Kong

Deloitte China HK

Deloitte China and Hong Kong are recruiting Chinese (including Hong Kong) students studying undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications overseas for all 5 functions including Audit, Tax, Enterprise Risk Services, Financial Advisory Services and Consulting for all branch offices in mainland China and Hong Kong.

They are targeting those with or studying:

  • degrees in Accounting, Finance, Taxation, Economics, Law, Computer Science, Management, Information Systems, and other business-related areas
  • proficiency to read, write, and speak Mandarin for China and with a good command of Cantonese for Hong Kong
  • eligibility to work in China or Hong Kong

If you are a current finalist or masters student you can apply and start work when you complete your course. Durham students and graduates have an excellent success rate in applications to Deloitte. Click here to see previous success stories.

You can read details of how to apply in either English or Mandarin. Applications are open NOW and close at the end of October so don’t miss out!

Opportunities with KPMG in Hong Kong and China

KPMG‘s recruitment campaign for their Autumn 2013 starters is now open.

  • Are a national of Hong Kong or China?
  • Are you planning to return home after you complete your final year or master’s degree?
  • Do you have a real interest in business and a desire to continue learning?
  • Are you committed to a career in the financial services?

If you answered yes to these questions then KPMG want to hear from you. They are recruiting from all degree disciplines across their core functions – AuditTax and Advisory.

You are advised to apply early to avoid disappointment. They only accept online applications so visit their website today and click on ‘Overseas Graduates Applications’ to set your career in the right direction.

Opportunities with Deloitte in China and Hong Kong

Deloitte China and Hong Kong have opened their overseas campus recruitment campaign. They are very interested in hearing from Durham University students. 

Opportunities are aimed at final year undergraduate or master’s Chinese students with the backgrounds shown below:

• Accounting, Finance, Taxation, Economics, Law, Computer Science, Management, Information Systems, and other business-related areas

• Proficiency to read, write, and speak Mandarin for China and with a good command of Cantonese for Hong Kong

• Eligible to work in China or Hong Kong

They are recruiting for roles in Audit, Tax, Enterprise Risk Services, Financial Advisory Services and Consulting. Details of all vacancies, along with instructions on how to apply can be found here.

Vivien Tse at Deloitte Hong Kong

Name: Vivien Tse
Course: BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance
Graduated: 2011
Nationality: Hong Kong
Employer: Deloitte
Current position: Audit Associate

I graduated from the BA Accounting and Finance degree in 2011. As expected, I have benefited from the high quality of teaching and the course structure. The common first year with other business students allowed the development of a broad range of business knowledge. The second and third year featured compulsory and optional modules which made it possible to match my interests with the my future career plans. In addition, various summative essays and a final dissertation equipped me with the necessary research and critical thinking skills to increase my chances of success after graduation.

Non-academically, Durham offers many opportunities to join clubs and societies, or participate in competitions outside university. I joined Stephenson College’s Badminton team and became the President of the Durham University Hong Kong Society. I was also encouraged to join the KPMG Business Case Competition with three other Durham students. We later became the UK National Champions with support and training from the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning and Durham Business School (DBS). Besides that, DBS also provided me a scholarship to join the RealAcad Business Venture Startup Camp in the US, where I learnt how to put theoretical knowledge into practice.

The combination of excellent  teaching, training and hands-on experience put me in a great position to apply for graduate jobs. Two weeks into my third year, I applied to Deloitte (Hong Kong) and was later invited to take an online assessment on personality and teamwork. After passing the test, I was asked to attend a group assessment at the Deloitte Manchester office where I met all of the candidates applying for the Deloitte China, Hong Kong and Macau offices. The assessment consisted of two case studies where our group, consisting of 6 students from different Universities, was given time for silent preparation and later a group discussion and presentation to a Human Resources Manager from China and another from the UK. This was an easy task for us Durham students as we had regular team projects in which we analysed business problems and presented complex ideas, which was an excellent opportunity to develop our presentation and interpersonal skills. Shortly afterwards I was notified that I had passed, and was assigned to have a phone interview with a Hong Kong audit partner in a week’s time. At the start of the year I attended the two day Skills for Success bootcamp organised by the Careers Employability and Enterprise Centre, so was well prepared on the selection process. I passed the interview and was recruited by Deloitte’s auditing department in Real Estate, Energy Resources and Japanese Services.

I have now been at Deloitte for five months. The first few months passed quickly, as we were constantly attending internal courses or were training for the accounting exams in December. From January to March, which is our peak season, I was at the client’s office working in a team preparing for the final audit. As a junior, I have learnt how to complete simpler sections of an audit file and have also completed the audit files of less complex companies by communicating with the client for the necessary documents and obtaining explanations for material fluctuations. These tasks have helped me to develop a broad view of the management and accounting structure of the client which is good preparation to complete more difficult tasks in the future.

My advice to the current Durham students is to be proactive in finding solutions for academic challenges and in finding new opportunities. Networking is crucial so create a profile on LinkedIn before you graduate. Also, do have courage in taking chances to develop yourself- after all, what have you got to lose?

Phil succeeds at Ernst & Young

Name: Philip O. Sarthou

Course: MSc Corporate and International Finance

Graduated: 2009

Nationality: USA/Haitian

Employer: Ernst & Young, London

Current position: Assurance Associate, Mining, Oil & Gas and Utilities

I currently work for Ernst & Young in London. I work in MOGU (Mining, Oil & Gas and Utilities) as part of the Assurance team and am studying towards the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) ACA qualification.

The main reasons why I picked Durham were the collegiate system and the campus atmosphere. Durham is a fantastic place to study and the experience I had was wonderful. I went to Hatfield College and it really allowed me to integrate and get a feel of British culture and make lots of friends. I can’t speak highly enough of my college experience.

My course involved quite a lot of contact hours compared to other courses. The Durham Business School academic staff were very approachable and being able to speak to those that had written the theory we were applying was an excellent experience. I always felt I could ask questions when I didn’t properly understand something which was very useful for subjects such as econometrics.

Durham University provides endless opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities. I was a committed member of Hatfield College Association Football Club. I also tried out new activities such as the Clay Pigeon Club and learnt how to shoot (not very well though). In addition I was part of Durham University Investment and Finance Group, taking part in the Fund Team. This was great fun while also being instructive as we managed a portfolio of £7,000 that our sponsors had provided.

Ernst & Young’s fantastic reputation attracted me to apply. Although I had offers from other “Big Four” firms, I picked EY because of the people I met during my assessment centre. I felt that it was an environment in which I could really learn and grow to be an exceptional professional. Finally, EY is, in my opinion, the most internationally integrated “Big Four” firm, especially thanks to the EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa Area) structure. Having an international background myself, I found that particularly interesting.

As an audit associate I spend most of my time ensuring that the financial statements of my clients show a true and fair view of their financial position and performance. The first year was quite intense as you are thrown in the deep end and have to juggle work and studying. However, the second year is much more enjoyable as you start to gain a better understanding of what you do and get the opportunity to take on more challenging work as you audit more challenging accounts and get involved in the actual planning of the audit.

My experience at Durham helped as it meant that I had a much better understanding of the cultural habits in this country. Also, because Ernst & Young is very keen on hiring Durham graduates, I have met quite a few Durham alumni here and this has helped me develop my network further. In addition, the theoretical knowledge that I acquired as part of my degree has helped me understand the bigger picture and how the work that I perform fits into our audit strategy. Overall my Durham experience provided me with strong evidence for the rigorous selection process which included a first interview, assessment centre and a final partner interview.

I advise current students to get involved in as much as possible and to make the most of their free time because you’ll miss that when you start work! Getting any sort of experience managing something is very useful when it comes to graduate applications, so I would definitely recommend leading a society of some kind.