Elena James, BSc Accounting and Finance | Siemens
What have you been doing since graduation?
After graduation I joined Deloitte as an audit associate. I worked there for five years and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The job gave me very broad experience, helped me advance my technical knowledge and develop important business skills. It was a great start to my career. Then I joined Rolls Royce where I worked as the Assistant Financial Controller for three years before the division I was working for was acquired by Siemens. Since December 2014 I have been working as Financial Planning and Reporting Manager at Siemens, looking after the Global Aero Derivative Gas Turbines business, which has a turnover of over £1 billion.
In my personal life, I am happily married to Chris James and we have two beautiful daughters; Alexa, who is five and Eva who is three. We are expecting our third child in September this year.
Have you been back to Birmingham since graduation? Are you a regular visitor?
I really enjoyed my time in Birmingham during university and I chose the city to be my home. I have lived in Birmingham since graduating.
Are you still in touch with friends that you made while you were here?
I am still in touch with several friends from university. I met one of my best friends – Hushna Chutoo in university and we still see each other on a very regular basis.
What did you learn during your time at university that you’ve found valuable since leaving? How did your time at university help your career prospects?
The key thing I learned during my time at university is to have balance in my life. I worked hard academically to achieve a first class degree and graduate top of my class, while working part time at the University supermarket to support myself, but I made sure I also enjoyed the University life to the fullest. I met great friends, created wonderful memories and had so much fun! This lesson was invaluable to me and helps me even now to draw the right balance between a successful career and happy family life. I strongly believe that neither should be sacrificed and good organisation, planning and efficiency can help you a long way in achieving both.
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