It's possible to work in an occupational area across different industries. For example, every sector needs marketing, HR, IT, management and finance professionals, to name a few! We chatted to Zuhairi to find out about his experience applying his passion for data analytics to multiple sectors.

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Zuhairi. I'm from Malaysia, and I graduated in 2018 with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics.

What did you do after finishing university?

I started my career as Data Analyst Intern: Data & Analytics at KPMG Malaysia for six months. After completing my internship, I was offered a permanent job as Data Analyst: Data & Analytics at the same company. In this role, I was working as a Consultant. I was involved in multiple projects for internal departments within KPMG and external clients across different sectors. I also had the opportunity to be Project Lead for some of the projects.

If you took some time out, what skills did you gain during this time that helped you in your first graduate role?

After graduation and coming back to my home country, I was unemployed for three months. During this time, I continued attending multiple job interviews and waiting for a job offer. I also upskilled myself by doing online courses related to Excel and Power BI via Udemy. This aspect helped me to land the internship role at KPMG, as I was able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of Power BI to the interviewers.

What did you learn from your first graduate role? What did you like about it?

As a Consultant, I enjoyed meeting with potential clients & being involved in the process of attracting potential clients. I was grateful because my managers were willing to teach me the required steps that they would do before signing a contract. I also enjoyed being a mentor to our interns and apprentices. I guided them regarding the relevant knowledge and required skills needed to be successful in this field. Moreover, I let them be involved in client projects so that they could develop required skills in a client-facing role.

What are you doing now?

I am currently working as Business Intelligence Specialist: Financial Planning & Analysis and Global Workplace Solutions at CBRE. In this role, I oversee multiple developments and application support services of GWS FP&A Power BI dashboards. Our team supports the GWS FP&A team globally.

How did you find this opportunity? What was the application process like?

I found out about my current role from CBRE careers portal. There were three stages of the application process. The first stage was a phone screening interview with the HR Talent Acquisition team. The second stage was a virtual interview with the hiring manager, who is also my current manager. During this stage, he wanted to learn more about my personality traits and previous working experience. The final stage was a virtual interview with the hiring manager and the Head of department. During this stage, I was required to develop and present a sample Power BI dashboard. From the sample dashboard, they tested my Power BI skills and my thought process behind preparing the dashboard. I received the job offer a few days after the final interview. The whole process took around a month.

Are you still working in the same sector? If not, why the change?

I am still working in the data analytics field. However, I have worked in different companies. I changed sectors multiple times because I wanted to broaden my horizons, since this field exists in multiple sectors. I started my career at a consulting firm, then I switched to an insurance company, and now I am working at a commercial real estate firm. I am open to exploring other sectors in the future.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

One thing I would do differently is to do some internships before completing my studies. I graduated without any internship experience. Even though I excelled academically and secured multiple job interviews, I was not performing well in those interviews and it was hard for me to obtain job offers because I was lacking in experience. My confidence level plummeted. Fortunately, after I gained relevant experience in this field, my confidence level improved, and I performed well in most of the subsequent job interviews.