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Ali Azeem

Associate Director, Millward Brown

"Being CIMA qualified helped get ME in front of potential employers"

Education: BA (Hons) MA (Cantab), Maths and Computer Science, Cambridge University

How did you land your current role?
After working in finance for several years, I was given the opportunity to work directly with the CEO on restructuring the business.

It was this challenge that drew me towards a career in strategy consultancy.

Despite the downturn in the economy, I found that being CIMA qualified helped get me in front of potential employers.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
The vast range of projects is definitely the best thing, as no two are ever the same.

This has allowed me to work in different industries, from technology to pharmaceutical, as well as solving different business problems.

It’s this variety of work that I find so interesting, and it has equipped me with many skills that other roles would not have.

Is there anything that would surprise us about your role?
Outside of consulting, my role has expanded to also include managing the company’s financials too.

I work closely with the MD of the practice to ensure that the business pipeline is healthy, and that we are on target to meet revenue and profit expectations.

Being a chartered management accountant allows me to add a lot of value to the business itself beyond my main role.

What support has Millward Brown provided to help you progress with your CIMA studies? 
I completed my studies with CIMA before joining Millward Brown. Since joining, they have paid for my professional fees, and also put me forward for the award of Consultant of the Year, which I went on to win. I believe they did all this because they understand the value a professional qualification from CIMA adds to any consultancy offer.

How did getting your CIMA qualification make you feel?
Receiving chartered status from CIMA was a great achievement.

It felt good to be recognised as part of an exclusive group of finance professionals that have shown proven skills in the main areas of business.

It was also a great feeling to know that I had finished my exams in only two years, and that the hard work had paid off.

If CIMA were an Olympic sport what would it be and why?
If CIMA were an Olympic sport, it would be the triathlon. It really tests your endurance on three distinct areas of business: finance, performance management, and enterprise.

Like a triathlon, it requires commitment, persistence, and the ability to be good at multiple things. Master all of these and you’ll find yourself in good shape to cross that finish line.

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