Our guest today is Aidana Kassymova, a graduate of the School of Sciences and Humanities. Aidana is from the West Kazakhstan region, the city of Aktobe. For the last year and a half of her high school studies, she attended the Nur-Sultan NIS. She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, graduated in 2015.
Tell us about your admission to NU
When I applied to NU, I already had an IELTS certificate with the required score, so for admission I had to successfully pass the SET (Subject Entrance Test) in physics and mathematics. At that time, I was also applying to American Universities which required the SAT subject tests in mathematics and physics. I found it easy to prepare for the SET, after having already taken the SAT Subject tests.
I think that my decision to attend NU is one of the most important and defining decisions of my life, and I have never regretted it. In 2010, it was still possible to purse a bachelor’s degree as a Bolashak scholar. That year I entered the Bachelor of Mathematics program at Boston University (USA) and received a Bolashak scholarship. At the same time, I received an offer from NU. I thought for a long time and decided which university I should choose for training, while many advised me to choose an American university. But in the end, I chose NU because I wanted to be part of a large community of bright and ambitious students in Kazakhstan. I saw my future and career in Kazakhstan, so I decided to start my networking at a Kazakhstan university. Now I am glad that I made this choice because the university has become for me a place of new ideas, ambitious and active graduates devoted to their alma mater. For me, NU is a community of versatile, broad-minded and loyal friends.
What can you tell us about your time at NU?
My cohort was the first group of students at the university, and we can say that the social life of NU was created and developed literally before our eyes. It was only during my last year at the university that I began to actively participate in the work of student clubs. My friends, Dilyaram and Aigerim, opened the NU Cooking Club, the purpose of which was to communicate and build new connections through social cooking events. I was also an active participant in the Youth Parliament public association and was responsible for writing press releases and getting media coverage for our events. This was an invaluable experience for me: I learned how to make video reports, I also got to know a lot of journalists who were writing about our events in newspapers and various news sites.
I think that the university gave me a lot and contributed to my development as a person. Specifically, it helped develop my thinking and I acquired many important skills. Firstly, I learned how to process a large amount of information quickly and efficiently. I also learned how to key into the information that is important and necessary to me from the larger flow. This skill helps me to this day when I, for example, prepare for qualifying exams or presentations on a new topic at work. Secondly, I got used to thinking critically and considering any issue from different angles and points of view. In political science lessons, we studied scientific works in which the same historical fact was considered from the point of view of different political theories and concepts. And now I try to read news from different sources so as not to be biased in relation to this or that situation, opinion, or position.
Tell us about your current studies / work
In the last year of study at NU, I was faced with a dilemma – to continue my studies under a master’s program or to start a career and build my own path. In order to make the right choice, I attended many guest meetings at the university with professionals from different fields. At one of these meetings, a guest said something that stuck with me for a long time: “Nothing beats experience”. These words really helped me to decide what to do directly after graduation. As a result I started my career as an auditor at KPMG in the Astana office. Having worked in the company for 3 years, I achieved very good results: I received a double promotion and received an ACCA qualification. After that I continued my career at KPMG in the office in Dubai, worked there for 1 year. Currently, for over a year now, I have been working in the KPMG office in London in the corporate treasury department.
What are your future plans?
Parallel with my current job, I participate in a mentoring program in cooperation with the NU Career and Advising Center. We are also working with NU alumni (Dilyaram Ismailova, Aigerim Khalelova, Bolat Tleubaev) to promote a startup in the beauty and personal care industry. Our project Keep It Fresh! is a mobile application with which users can choose the most suitable cosmetics for them.
Your wishes to NU / Students / Graduates.
I wish, not only that the entire university is one friendly community, but that each member of this community also remains a bright personality with their own opinions, visions, and goals!