London Connection Q&A: Aslan Sissekenov

BSc Banking and Finance graduate Aslan Sissekenov talks to Peter Quinn about aiming high, analysing clients and the advantages of gaining a theoretical background
Aslan Sissekenov
First Class Honours: Aslan Sissekenov (pictured on the left) now works for KPMG in Almaty, Kazakhstan
The course provided me with insights of financial mechanisms that govern the financial world, and this is especially important for a person who seeks to succeed as a financial analyst

Tell us a bit about your background and interests.
I am a graduate of the International School of Economics and Social Sciences in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I like doing sports, but apart from that, within the last three or four years I’ve become highly interested in film-making. I don’t make any films, I only watch, but analysing how scenarios are organised and how operators manage their work has become my hobby recently. Fortunately, this is not the whole list of my interests. I am eclectic and love to do a little bit of everything.

What sparked your interest in Banking and Finance?
Initially, it was all about career prospects and wage considerations. I thought financial analysts are, on average, richer than representatives of other professions. However, during the study process I really liked the course. Following world financial news has become one of my regular hobbies.

What are the particular skills and insights you gained from taking the degree?
Mainly, I developed my overall analytical skills and knowledge of financial worlds. The course provided me with insights of financial mechanisms that govern the financial world, and this is especially important for a person who seeks to succeed as a financial analyst.

"Employers value your analytical skills, as well as your decisiveness during projects. Both of these skills were gained during this course."

How important was the role of KBTU in your success?
The huge amount of support that KBTU staff gave me was extremely important. I think KBTU has provided me with all the convenient conditions for my success.

Are there specific transferable skills you gained that your employers value?
There are many skills that could be useful on an employee level. Basically, employers value your analytical skills, as well as your decisiveness during projects. Both of these skills were gained during this course. In addition, I should mention that employers highly appreciate your hard work and time management skills.

What is your top tip for someone who is considering taking this degree?
To study hard and make maximum effort during the first year of your study. If you build a proper foundation of your understanding of the course, it will become much easier to catch up later on.

How did you stay motivated during your studies?
This is the main issue I would like to discuss. From the very beginning, you should aim the highest, then in the worst case you will get a bit less than the highest. In my case, the highest aim was to get a First Class Honours degree. This motivation was pretty strong and never left me during the course.

Could you tell us a little bit about your role at KPMG?
I am assistant auditor, and basically perform an audit on an operational level. I analyse the clients from head to toe, testing procedures at all levels of business operation (e.g. sales, capital management etc.). In fact, even if it does not seem to be related to my major, I find this start of my career very forward-looking: there is no other place with such a huge amount of work overload and, as a consequence, experience.

"When you have a thorough theoretical background in what you do, you always have an advantage over your peers and colleagues."

Is what you learnt on the degree helping you in your career?
It is definitely helping. When you have a thorough theoretical background in what you do, you always have an advantage over your peers and colleagues. At KPMG, when it comes to auditing different financial institutions and dealing with various financial instruments and derivatives, I handle the work much faster than my colleagues with an audit background.

What are your future career plans?
After gaining some experience in the audit sphere, I would like to continue my career path in the business evaluation and investment management sphere, which actually suits my major background more than audit.

Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?
My future life and work security is my biggest inspiration. I think every single person in the world, even entrepreneurs, should gain at least one profession in excellence in order to insure himself/herself against different worst case scenarios.

What is the one thing you would like to achieve in your lifetime?
To make the lives of future generations happy.

What does it mean to you to be a graduate of the University of London?
It is an honour. I personally know what efforts it requires to graduate from the University of London, and I am sure that only talented and hard working people can handle this task. It also means a bunch of funny and happy moments with my friends who took this course with me.

Aslan Sissekenov took the BSc Banking and Finance degree and graduated with First Class Honours. He now works for KPMG in Almaty, Kazakhstan.