Case study

Chartered management accountant and financial analyst — Leah Rohlf-Baldock

After completing an industrial placement year at Panasonic UK while at university, Leah used her connections to secure a role at the company upon graduation

What degree did you study and where?

I studied for a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics for Finance and Management at the University of Portsmouth, with a one-year industrial placement at Panasonic UK. I graduated in 2013, started my Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification in August 2014 and completed it in January 2016.

How did you get your job?

I am a financial analyst at Panasonic UK. After completing a one-year industrial placement here as part of my undergraduate degree, I built up connections in the company and a role was made available for me to return to after graduation.

Industrial placements and apprenticeships are a great opportunity to learn on the job and prove yourself to the company

What's a typical day like?

Many of my tasks deal with profit and loss in terms of cost classification, treatment of advertising and promotion (including approving budgets), forecasting and building a business plan.

Working closely with sales and marketing, I have an overall view of the whole business and ensure that business and month end runs smoothly.

The role is commercially focussed and a fair bit of my work involves accommodating commercial activities for both financial, system and audit requirements.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the variety of the role and the relationships I have with people around the business.

What are the challenges?

As I'm in a large multinational company, sometimes influencing change is harder than it seems and change is slow.

In what way is your degree relevant?

The skill of working autonomously and my analytical skills have helped me achieve an edge that other candidates don't have.

I approach challenges differently to my peers due to my mathematical background and this allows us to work together to resolve issues faster.

How has your role developed?

Since returning after university, I have moved from the service division financial analyst to be the consumer division financial analyst and I am now overseeing all of Panasonic UK, supervising a financial analyst and an assistant financial analyst. I am also currently participating in an internal management development program lasting two years.

My career ambitions are to be a finance manager within two years and a finance director within eight years.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

Industrial placements and apprenticeships are a great opportunity to learn on the job and prove yourself to the company, which will increase your chance of returning or staying in a role.

Choose a company that will help you develop and an industry that you're interested in.

Also, see every new challenge as an opportunity to learn.

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