Zainub Butt

I was quite unsure on what I wanted to do when I started university but I knew studying Maths would open a lot of opportunities.

Zainub poses wearing a light pink blazer.

Graduation year: 2019

Degree Title(s): BSc Mathematics 

Job title: Technology, Data & Analytics Senior Associate

Employer: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

What does your role involve? The role covers a mixture of client engagements. Some of the key engagements include: delivering ERP transformation programmes for clients, focussing on embedding technology and process changes within an organisation; providing assurance on large transformation and high risk programmes; and developing a Digital Strategy for our clients. In addition to my role, there are a number of other ‘extra-curricular’ initiatives I deliver such as employability sessions to refugee organisations as part of PwC’s Social Mobility agenda, and represent my network on the Staff Diversity Council.

Can you describe the journey you went on to get this role? I did a Women in Business placement in the PwC Bristol office during the summer of my second year at university. This gave a really good insight into the role, type of work and team I’d be working with. I also applied for other internships at Capgemini, and a teaching placement but felt the one at PwC was best suited to me. Following on from the placement, I was called back for an interview for a graduate role and secured the role at the start of my final year of university. Along the way I received a lot of rejections when applying for internships and placements. The application process is very competitive and at times it can feel like jumping through hoops. This impacted my resiliency and at times I wasn’t giving the applications the time and attention it needed.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I really enjoy the variety at PwC, within three years I have worked with approximately 14 different clients across 6 industries (some are PLCs), and for each engagement I’m working with a different team across the country. The combination of these factors mean I have expanded my network in a short space of time and learnt a lot about how different businesses operate. I don’t think there’s any other profession that could give me this level of exposure to high profile organisations so quickly. 

What advice would you give to students interested in getting into your industry or role? Professional services is a great profession to get into if you want to explore different industries and solve difficult problems for clients. The firms are so big and the work varies every day so you can always find a project you’re interested in. It’s very important to showcase this interest in your application process. However, if you already have a specific role in mind that you want to pursue, I’d recommend exploring other industries and roles.

How did the University of Birmingham help you on your career path? I used the Careers Network bursary for financial support to complete by summer placement in Bristol during my second year. It’s great that the University provide financial support so there aren’t any barriers or worries in seeking volunteering opportunities or internships. It meant I could focus on finding the right internship for me rather than one that was close to where I live. 
I also had a Mock Interview with the Careers Advisor from the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences which was great preparation for the real interview. The advisor gave me feedback on how well I answered the questions but also on my non-verbal communication skills such as body language and tone of voice. These are factors that are really easy to forget but equally as important as what you’re saying.

How did studying at Birmingham inspire you in your graduate path? I was quite unsure on what I wanted to do when I started university but I knew studying Maths would open a lot of opportunities. I attended a number of careers fairs hosted by the Careers Network to understand what organisations I could apply to and also have a face to face conversation on the roles I could apply for, this really opened my mind to a number of graduate opportunities. PwC always stood out as the top graduate employer so I was keen to give it a go.

Why should someone considering their university options come and study with us at Birmingham? The Careers Network was a huge part of my journey at UoB, and gave me real exposure to different industries and organisations through insight days, careers fairs and networking events. There’s a real investment in students and their careers prospects so regardless of whether or not you’re studying a vocational course, you can be assured that you’ll have a good support network around you at UoB to find the right graduate job. The university also hire a number of students in part-time roles which is great for your CV and skill development, again a real testament to the university’s commitment to it’s students.

What was your favourite thing about studying at the University of Birmingham? My favourite university memories were made with my friends on campus, there’s lots of green space, local restaurants and the university is close to the city centre so there’s always something to do. The campus has a real community feel to it so it’s without a doubt my favourite part about studying.

Find out more about BSc Mathematics