Take life’s opportunities – and leave the rest to God

Take life’s opportunities – and leave the rest to God

After gaining a Master’s in Engineering and qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant, Zeeshan Khalid has forged a career in international consultancy – with a distinctly forward-looking slant.

Zeeshan (OE 1996–1998) is a Partner with a boutique consulting firm, Trestle Group, and is the only member of its seven-strong management team currently based in London.

Along with several of his Trestle Group colleagues, he is involved with Fourth-IR (‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’), a firm established in 2016, which harnesses new technologies including AI to help clients transform their businesses. A recent example is its partnership with a large dental-imaging software provider, where AI is used to provide augmented diagnosis, precision treatment and a better overall patient experience.

“Reflecting on my career, I would advise my fellow Elizabethans not to just follow a traditional career path, but to look at the diversity of your learning, as this is what will help differentiate yourself and open more doors,” he said.

“Life presents many opportunities; sometimes one is unable to realise that a challenge or a setback may in fact turn into an opportunity. Always make use of the opportunities given to you and leave the rest to God.”

After leaving QE, Zeeshan went to Imperial College, where he gained a Master’s degree in Information Systems Engineering.

He then spent seven years with UBS, working across finance, risk and IT departments for the Swiss financial giant, before working for RBS Global Banking & Markets and then Credit Suisse. In total, he notched up more than 16 years’ experience at top-tier investment banks, working in both London and Zurich.

In 2007–2009, he undertook his training with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and then in 2011, he established Atlas Accounting, a niche accountancy business for contractors and consultants.

Over the years he has held a variety of senior roles, covering risk management, regulatory change, capital optimisation, risk analytics, finance transformation, programme management and enterprise-wide global IT delivery.

His work with Trestle Group involves him driving business growth and building teams for consulting projects on key accounts with leading global investment banks. Active projects include transformation programmes relating to Brexit and industry-wide Basel regulations, such as the Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB).

At Fourth-IR, he is the UK Country Head. The firm offers clients a range of Virtual Team members, which are AI-driven products designed to be easily integrated into clients’ business operations. Fourth-IR works across multiple industries, including health, wealth, risk and legal, collaborating with product specialists, such as the dental-imaging software business.

Zeeshan has fond memories of his time at QE, in particular, of the then-Head of Sixth Form, Dr John Marincowitz (who became Headmaster in 1999), and his Mathematics teacher, Mrs Elizabeth Borland.

“Even though I was a new joiner to QE, I was able to establish new relationships with many of those who entered the Sixth Form from the lower years. I still vividly remember all the younger-year pupils carrying brief cases to School and the Elizabethan luncheons & debates.”

Outside work commitments, Zeeshan has been a long-standing primary school governor. Keen on the outdoors, he supports his local scouting association as treasurer.

“2020 has been a strange year, but an important one in re-setting goals and priorities,” he said. “It has made me realise the importance of focusing on friends and family, how to better manage the tricky balance between work and life (I follow the motto: ‘we work to live, not live to work’), and lastly not to take free movement & international travel for granted.

“For those wishing to get in touch, please contact me via LinkedIn; I am happy to help with any career advice or questions current pupils or alumni of QE may have,” he added.