Damon Lau

Current employer: PwC

Current job title: Assurance - Senior Associate

Current location: Plymouth

“The facilities at the University of Plymouth are incredible – such as the 24/7 library and computing facilities – and staff members’ ability to connect and communicate with students is also great.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I applied for my current job whilst studying and the course definitely made my application stand out. It was in October 2015, two months after starting the postgraduate course, that I was told I had the job. I started just before submitting my dissertation in September 2016 (which was somewhat challenging to say the least). I am almost at the end of my first year with PwC, with only two left before I become chartered and obtain the ACA qualification.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

My aim was always to be an accountant; however, I never thought I would be employed by one of the big four accounting companies.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult thing I have faced in my career so far is balancing life, work, and studying. Whilst at university it was difficult, but when approaching exam periods I knew that I could spend all my time on areas I was less confident about; whereas now, that is not an option. Although I have found things difficult, I have definitely learnt from these times and, hopefully, can use it to my advantage in the future (organising my time better and improving my revision style).

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

There have been lots of fun times so far: formal dinners, Christmas parties, and nights out with workmates. The general atmosphere and relationships with associates are great; we all get along very well both inside and out of work.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

There are many things I could, and should, have done differently; for example, I should have spent more time revising the areas in which I was less confident, paying more attention, taking more notes, and so on. But as I mentioned before, I learnt from all these mistakes and I think it is good to be able to look back and recognise the areas where you can improve.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?

Obviously work hard and push yourself at university: the better your final mark, the better your chance of getting employed. Use the career advice services provided by the University of Plymouth for tips on application forms, CVs, and interviews. You may think that you know everything there is to know about things like this, but they are honestly so helpful and you come away with techniques that make so much sense – you think, ‘why did I not do it this way before?’

Definitely, do research on the industry and company to whom you are applying. This will benefit you in the interview process so you can relate your competencies to the relevant areas, but it also gives you the opportunity to hold or make conversation with those interviewing you, which will certainly leave a good impression.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at the University of Plymouth helped me enormously as it enabled me to build on subject areas in which I was pretty poor, as well as opening new opportunities. For example, when I did my first presentation I was so nervous and spoke so fast because I wanted it to be over. After being given feedback and working on certain areas, I was able to gain confidence and improve my skills. This can be said for a number of areas including working in groups and the quality of my assignments.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

I have many good memories from studying at the University of Plymouth, so it would be difficult to think of one specifically. There were great opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds and ethnicities, who I would never have met had I not studied at Plymouth. Overall, I would say my favourite part of studying at Plymouth would be the relationships I built with classmates and the people I met along the way.

Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?

I stay in touch with Julie Williams, a lecturer on both my undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She is a great lady who made my lessons so much more interesting.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?

Yes, of course, I would; I learnt a lot and made some great friends. The facilities at the University of Plymouth are incredible – such as the 24/7 library and computing facilities – and staff members’ ability to connect and communicate with students is also great.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Stay focused, but have a good time as well as these are some of the best years of your life.

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