A recent graduate has been recognised with a major honour from Aberdeen University, after balancing her full-time studies with supporting an oil and gas company’s finance team and caring for her young son.
Zara Pirzada has been awarded the Charles Scott/ICAS Prize, given to the top student in the graduating class for accountancy.
While studying she became a summer intern at Neptune Energy, and continued to support the UK business before completing her internship on June 26.
Zara, 30, moved to the UK from Pakistan in 2009 and relocated to Aberdeen in 2012, where her son, Daim, now 7, was born.
She started her studies at Aberdeen College, undertaking a diploma course in accountancy, before continuing her education at the university, studying for MA Accountancy and receiving a first class honours degree in June this year.
She said: “It has been amazing and everyone around me – friends, family and colleagues – are very proud. During all my years of study, I have been managing my time working while looking after my son.
“I stayed positive and focused on exactly what I was doing – that’s what gave me the energy I needed.
“It has certainly been tough at times, but I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.
“My husband has always been very supportive and actively encouraged me to pursue my dream, going to university and obtaining my professional qualifications – it has been a team effort.”
Professor Martin Meyer, University of Aberdeen Dean and Head of Business School, said: “In these challenging times it is a real pleasure to celebrate Zara’s success.
“Zara transitioned to the University of Aberdeen from Aberdeen College as part of the 2 plus 2 articulation programme. From day one she demonstrated academic excellence while juggling work and motherhood.
“This has culminated in her receiving the Charles Scott/ICAS prize for best honours student in Accountancy. We at the Business School wish her every success in her next ventures.”
Zara now plans to further her professional studies.