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Spyros Yiassemides

Please tell us about your career path since leaving Northumbria

After graduating from Northumbria University in 2004 I went on to undertake a Masters Degree in Computer Science at University College London (UCL) which I succesfully completed in 2005 with Distinction.

In 2005 upon my return to Cyprus I joined Deloitte & Touche as an Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) trainee and in 2008, after being successful on my ACA exams on the first attempt and having completed 3 years of practical work experience, I was admitted to full membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Since then I advanced through the hierarchy ranks in Deloitte by being assigned progressively more responsibilities pertinent to my position in the Audit and Assurance department of the Firm and, in January 2011 I capitalised on my experience and hard work and I was promoted to the position of Audit Manager. I then stayed with Deloitte for another year and a half and, being on the lookout for more challenges, in September 2013 I accepted the position of Head of International Operations in Brunswick Rail Limited, one of the leading railcar operating lessors in the Russian Federation.

I'm now based in the Cyprus office of Brunswick and I'm responsible for the consolidation of the Group's results at the top holding level, heading the accounting department and in charge of various legal, tax, IFRS and other specialised projects. Unlike my term in Deloitte, there's never a dull day in Brunswick!

Please tell us about your current job and what it involves.

As mentioned above, being in Brunswick presents me with non-stop challenges which I try to tackle as efficiently and effectively as possible - the job responsibilities are more demanding compared to the role that I had in Deloitte, that of an Audit Manager, albeit more fullfilling and rewarding! Each day is a new day and it does not, in any case, represent a huge checklist which is the case with audit which makes you think inside instead of outside the box. I can say with confidence that, although I have been with Brunswick for only 6 months, my position and its demands helped me sharpen my thinking mode and develop traits that will be utmostly redeemable in all my future professional endeavors.

What made you chose Northumbria University?

I discovered Northumbria through an academic studies consultant and I'm glad that he pointed me towards the uni's direction!

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

Lots of Cypriots choose the UK as their academic studies destination due to the high level of its academic framework and the system in general and, on top of that, there was the nightlife element too!

What was your favourite thing about your course and/or Northumbria University?

The high quality of the lectures, the guidance and help offered by the tutors, especially Donald Halliday, the Programme Director at the time, and the fact that Northumbria had students at the core of its philosophy and modus operandi helping us in this way to immerse in the student life and make the most out of it.

What societies/activities did you take part in outside of your studies? 

I didn't participate in any societies/committees while studying at Northumbria. Instead we were partying relentlessly but without this being in detriment of our academic performance!

How would you describe the city of Newcastle as a place to live and study?

Where to start? I have visited numerous UK cities during the 4 years that I was studying in the UK and I must say that none compares to the beautiful city of Newcastle. The nightlife choices are endless, the academic framework is robust and of a high quality, the shopping terrific, Scotland is a stone's throw from the city, both by car and by train, there's North Shields if you want to catch a ferry to a nearby destination like Amsterdam, good jumping-off point for travelling as well, either by train, car or airplane and, to top it all, it's a city that lives and breathes exudes student culture...the University's campus, the vast number of student that inhabit Newcastle during the academic season and the student-related thematic nights provided by many clubs/bars cannot help but immerse students into this dedicated worlds of their own

In one sentence, sum up your time here at Northumbria.

The three years I spent in Newcastle studying at Northumbria were, hands down, the best years of my life, unlike anything that I've ever experienced in the past or will experience in the future...a monumental experience comprising of thousands of smaller, daily experiences which I will cherish for years to come.

If you have one, please describe a fond or positive memory of your time at Northumbria

The pub crawls organised by the then Programme Director of my course, Donald Halliday, hold a special place in my heart! Also, the end of the exam season was a great relief both physically (me and my room mate, Chris Christodoulou (also in the same course with me during the same period in Northumbria), used to grow a beard as a 'good lucj charm' for the whole of the exam season and, shaving it off at the end of it was a great relief, believe me!) and mentally (due to the heavy mental taxing placed on us by the exams' workload) so we had this ritual of unwinding and decompressing by going on a insane pub crawl straight after our final exam covering all the bar districts of Newcastle (Bigg Market, Quayside etc.)...needless to say that we were hung over for the next 3 days!

What professional achievement are you most proud of since leaving university?

Being admitted to membership of the ICAEW, being promoted to Audit Manager in Deloitte & Touche and having offered the position of Head of International Operations in Brunswick Rail.

What career objectives do you still have?

To excel at my current role by always seeking excellence and to advance as much as possible in my career

How have your experiences at Northumbria University helped your life and career so far?

Northumbria taught me the values of discipline, team work/spirit, bonding and striking the golden ratio between work and play...traits that I have applied and redeemed throughout my post-Northumbria professional and social life with utmost success and reward.

What advice would you give students who wish to pursue a similar career to yours?

As mentioned above I would advise prospective students to employ the model 'work hard, play hard' - do not do the one in detriment of the other and the results will be tremendously rewarding to you. Always strive for excellence and make the most out of your time since it is one commodity that you can't buy more of it, a scarce one which unavoidably expires fast hence it calls us for maximising it. How this is achieved in today's fast-paced, overly-demanding society? Simply by thinking less and doing more...the more we do in life, the more experiences we will collect and the more satisfied we will be with all aspects of it...after all, we are the sums of our experiences! I can safely say that, if I hadn't lived my social life to the utmost while in Northumbria I wouldn't have accomplished the things that I have accomplished today in my academic and professional's because I felt satisfied in the one part that I excelled in the other and vice versa.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying at Northumbria University?

To indulge in everything that Northumbria has to offer and to live student life to the utmost...the infrastructure of Northumbria definitely helps you to achieve this!

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