Raj Sidhu
Careers Consultant at Queen Mary University

Raj Sidhu
Careers Consultant at Queen Mary University

Raj is a careers consultant based at Queen Mary University. Prior to his work in higher education, Raj enjoyed a decade-long career in investment banking, working on trading floors at Deutsche Bank, RBC and WestLB in a variety of roles ranging from trading and structured finance deal management, to organising banks’ responses to changes in regulations following the financial crisis of 2008. Raj graduated from the London School of Economics after reading Economics with Economic History.

What attracted you to the role?

Being paid to listen to people and glorious long holidays that stretch into the sunset – what’s not to like!?  On a more serious note, many different facets of the role attracted me – though they perhaps didn’t strike me all at once. I saw the role as a nexus point between the privilege of having people share their thoughts with me at a time when they might be far from home and under strain, along with working in a nurturing learning environment, alongside colleagues with varied and interesting professional and personal backgrounds of their own. Perhaps strongest of all, was my feeling that the role would afford me the opportunity to work around themes of hope and continual learning.

Describe a typical day in the life of a careers consultant.

Typically, no two days tend to be the same, so the first part of the morning might be spent making a plan – sketching out when 1to1 appointments might be scheduled in for, and if any specific preparation might be required. The remaining time then gets shaped around other tasks and meetings which may include blog writing, gathering labour market information and speaking to colleagues in academic departments as well as within Careers.

What surprised you about your new role as a careers consultant?

How much freedom I have; to create, produce and to try things – even if that means “failing forward” – a mantra I saw cited frequently on a recent visit to Facebook’s UK headquarters.

I’ve also been surprised and thrilled by just how many varied aptitudes I’ve had to call upon and develop – from teaching and planning, to public speaking, marketing, PR and customer relations – a bit like being an entrepreneur!

I’ve also been constantly surprised and warmed by the generosity and support from my new colleagues – whether to console, celebrate or explore new ideas with – there’s been no shortage of encouragement or people willing to help.

What aspects / skills acquired in your previous job have been most useful in the role?

One element of my previous banking role was to project manage the implementation of new regulations. It was this need for time, people and resource management that I’ve found perhaps most valuable in my new role.  At any time, there are lots of projects, tasks at various stages of fruition – so the need to stay on top of them is very important. One such project I am working on at the moment as part of a team, is the creation of an Islamic and ethical banking internship.

 

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