Uzayr Ashraf – Placement Finance Analyst at Boots


My name’s Uzayr,

I currently work for Walgreens Boots Alliance at the Boots Head Office in Nottingham, as a Finance Analyst on my placement year from DMU. Being a placement year student at Boots means you’re not just making tea or coffee for your colleagues, but you’re a respected member of the team who is given full responsibility over financial reporting within many categories. The company itself is huge, becoming one of the largest in the world after its recent merger with Walgreens in America – the office is literally the size of Monaco!

My day-to-day role consists of compiling reports and analysing data for a vast range of stakeholders around many areas of the company, holding meetings with colleagues and managers alike to come up with solutions to different queries that may come up. It may sound boring but I can assure you it is completely the opposite. No two days are the same which is something I love about Finance. I am constantly meeting new people through networking which is one of the most rewarding things to come out of my placement year so far. Some days may be longer than others, but other days will be shorter when there is far less work to do, so there is a great work-life balance here. Living right in the city centre of Nottingham means I can enjoy all that the student city has to offer – whilst only being a 15 minute commute to the office, and a 30 minute train from my University friends in Leicester.

I am doing the role of a fully qualified accountant within the corporate sector, meaning I will have the best experience possible to give me a strong footing for when I graduate. There are 10 other placement students around the company, so we also have a fantastic social circle inside and outside of work – it’s great to have people in the same boat as you. We’ve been on a couple of trips to other cities for team building activities and overnight stays, to help ease into the company and improve our skills – so that by the end of the year we’ll be well on the way to becoming leaders in the future. Within our teams we’ve also had a lot of team building days/nights out, as well as regularly playing football against other categories within the company, which helps build the friendly competitive nature around colleagues. The gym and coffee shops/restaurants around the office mean I basically feel at home here too!

One of the things that I love about working here is that even though we are dealing with millions of pounds every day and it is as pressured as you’d think, the atmosphere within the office is laid back. No need for anyone to wear a suit to work (just smart casual unless it is for an important meeting) and directors regularly stop to have a chat and ask you about your day, which backs up Boots’ slogan of ‘Let’s Feel Good.’ Everyone here refers to me as ‘Ozzy,’ which is my nickname at Uni, adding to the casual working environment in the office. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss some aspects of University life, but overall doing a placement is something which I have absolutely no regrets about and has so far been one of the best experiences of my life, which will only get better as the year goes on.

If you get the opportunity to do a year in industry (preferably at Boots), take it!


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