- Hi, I am Kush Vijay, a Chartered Accountant, currently working as a Fund Auditor in the Wealth and Asset Management Industry.
- After getting my CV rejected multiple times, in 2021 I landed a role with KPMG UK, and in 2023 shifted to EY in Sydney, without any referrals.
- Although it sounds like a straightforward path, there were many ups and downs in my international job-searching journey.
After completing my schooling I wasn’t quite sure what direction to take in my career.
Like many students today, I sought guidance from my seniors and that’s how in 2009 my Chartered Accountancy journey began.
I pursued my articles with a good mid-sized CA firm and had a great learning experience.
The most challenging part at that time was getting through the exams in fewer attempts. What helped me move forward was the thought process ‘It is the journey that defines who I am, not the triumph.’
In 2017, after 8 years of hard work, I passed the exams and earned the prefix ‘CA’. What a relief it was!
But then came another conundrum, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into taxation or auditing.
In 2019, I was offered a role with Deloitte USI (Their global practice) as an Auditor focused on Private Equity, Hedge Funds, and Fund Of Funds. This wasn’t a very popular profile to work with like it is today.
Since I was always fascinated by the investment market and stock market, I took it up…
There has been no turning back ever since.
Auditor in the Wealth And Asset Management Industry
For the first few months, I focused on observing and learning the workings of the Big 4 firm.
In the field of Fund Auditing, I noticed that funds, such as private equity, and hedge funds, invest in a wide array of businesses.
They can invest money, provide loans, or acquire equity in companies spanning a wide range of industries, from airlines and shipping to clothing manufacturing and even food markets.
Due to this diversity, I get to learn something new every day. Even after all this time, I can’t claim to be an expert in the field of Private Equity because there are various aspects I never encountered before.
In this space, regardless of where you work, it’s essential to maintain strong connections with your seniors, partners, and individuals in similar industries.
Sometimes, the work you have done can complement what others have accomplished, and vice-versa.
Dreaming of a Career Overseas
In 2020, I moved to KPMG and was a part of the Bermuda team as an offshore member.
There was always someone onshore explaining and guiding me. I wondered, ‘I have a professional degree and knowledge, and I put in a lot of work. Why can’t I be the one on the other side of the computer?’
This thought ignited a spark within me and I decided to look for an opportunity abroad.
Ever since I was in school, I’ve wanted to travel the world. I wanted to explore different countries, connect with new people, and embrace diverse cultures. This was the perfect moment for me to fulfill that dream.
I was offered an opportunity to relocate to Bermuda. No matter how good the country was, it just wasn’t right for me. I decided to turn down the offer and instead look for a position in London.
There are three main reasons for this.
Firstly, London is a very lively city with a lot to offer. There’s always something going on, and I knew that I would never be bored.
Secondly, London is a major financial hub, presenting numerous opportunities in the alternative finance industry.
Lastly, KPMG London seemed like the best office to work with in the UK, among other Big 4 firms.
Never heard from the recruiters
When I was trying to look for overseas opportunities, I had two options: internal transfer and direct application.
I didn’t want to ask people to refer me, so I decided to apply directly to companies. I sent my CV to almost 300 vacancies, at all of the Big 4 and top 6 firms in the UK.
Alas, I never heard back from even one of them.
Upon asking an acquaintance of mine for advice, he pointed out that I had been using the same CV for all of my applications. It is one of the biggest mistakes one can make while applying for jobs.
This was an eye-opener for me. I took his advice and started tailoring my CV to each job position, focusing on proper keywords.
Within a short period, I started getting interviews. I even had a few HRs call me directly from the UK.
Starting out in London
I ended up giving 11 interviews and receiving offers from three to four companies, finally narrowing it down to KPMG London.
In 2021, I received the offer letter and moved to London.
It took me about six months from the time I started receiving interview calls to the time I landed in the UK, due to the visa application process and other factors.
My first month in the new country wasn’t too great as I was homesick. (A common phenomenon for people working overseas)
Thoughts like, ‘I was earning well in India already. Why did I have to come to the UK?’ circled my mind.
But then I remembered why I decided to move overseas and looked at the bigger picture, the doubts faded.
The UK turned out to be a great place to live and work and turned into a second home for me.
I’ve had a great professional life in the UK. KPMG has given me some amazing friends, that I’ll ever have in my life.
Next destination? Australia it is!
I was having the time of my life in the UK, but due to some personal reasons, in early 2023 I had to return to India.
Unaware of what to do next, I joined EY India. That’s when Australia came into the picture.
I had heard that Sydney is the financial hub of Australia. On top of that it has some great VC firms, which means the country boasts a significant investment funds industry. The working culture in Australia is also exceptionally positive.
Traveling being one of my goals, I opted to move to Australia and directly applied to EY’s Sydney office.
I packed my bags once again and in May 2023, joined EY Oceania as an Assistant Audit Manager in the private equity and asset management division.
It’s been only a few months and I’m enjoying my time in Australia to the fullest.
It has more laid-back vibe than the UK’s, which has a fast-paced environment. The people are friendly, and additionally, the weather is great.
There are so many activities one can engage in. What more could I ask for?
Pros and Cons of Moving Overseas
The UK and Australia offer appealing financial compensation and work-life balance. A magnificent possibility to make strides in your career!
But it comes with a price.
Leaving your country and stepping into unfamiliar territory can be incredibly challenging and overwhelming.
Speaking from my experience, here are several drawbacks of living and working in the UK and Australia, that I believe you should take into consideration.
- The UK and Australia have a high cost of living due to worldwide inflation. Manage your expenses wisely, paying attention to where your money is spent.
- You have to tackle daily household chores – cooking, cleaning, repairing – as household help is expensive in developed countries.
- Catching a cab to work is common in India due to reasonable fares, but in the UK or Australia, the high transportation costs will make you think twice.
- You may feel homesick, which will impact your mental state if unprepared. The time difference of four to five hours with India can lead to situations where you’re available for a call, but your family is asleep, and vice versa.
- Making friends in a new country can be a bit daunting, initially.
Moreover, exploring a career in a new country requires patience and the willingness to make sacrifices.
Before making the final decision, understand your ‘Why’; Why do you want to move overseas? That simple answer can make this process a whole lot easier.
Today, we are witnessing a remarkable level of globalization (if not the highest). The world has opened doors for the world, signifying
The USA, the UK, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Gulf countries, Bermuda Island, Luxembourg, and Cayman Island are notable hubs teeming with abundant opportunities, and not just in the field of traditional finance.
If you were to ask me today, ‘What would you do differently if you were 21 again?’ I wouldn’t have pursued Chartered Accountancy. If I had chosen the path, I would have also completed a sustainability course, that’s how hot the field is right now.
Sustainability is a rapidly emerging and highly promising sector with significant demand worldwide and the Big 4, and the top 10 CA firms actively recruiting in this field.