Qrius interviews an alumnus of EU Business School (EU) – Mr. Ashu Rathor – about the notable features of the courses offered by EU Business School and their relevance in the globalised world.
Mr. Ashu Rathor is a partner at Ernst & Young – one of the Big Four global accountancy firms – with nineteen years of experience. An ambitious certified public accountant who is driven to excel, he graduated from EU with an MBA in International Business in 1998. Since then, he has gone on to enjoy great success in the financial reporting and business world.
Qrius: You studied Humanities at Delhi University and followed it up with an MBA from EU Business School. Afterwards, you pursued an Accounting Masters at the Pace University in New York. Did you plan this trajectory in your education beforehand, or did it evolve along the way?
Ashu Rathor: This evolved along the way. While at DU, I had no idea that I would leave India. Then, a World Youth Assembly invitation came through, as I was leading the St. Stephen’s nature club called “The WildLife Society.” We organized our annual nature fair “Prakriti” and invited noted environmentalist Mr Sunderlal Bahuguna to the event. He was impressed during his visit and asked a Finland based organization to invite us for the World Youth Assembly in the Åland Islands, Finland. That inspired me to choose Europe for higher studies, and to this end, international business sounded very appealing! EU Business School was very reasonably priced, offered courses in English and gave its students the cultural exposure I was looking for. Also, EU Business School was my first step into the business world, and while there, I got acquainted with business in a very pragmatic way. Later, I decided to specialize in accounting as I aspired to be a CPA. This warranted a school known for accounting and producing CPAs. Pace University, in the heart of NYC, fulfilled that need and qualified me to sit for the CPA exam. Also, it has been a recruitment ground for the Big Four. So, before I knew it, I was working at Arthur Andersen in NYC while still studying there.
Qrius: Could you please tell us about the course structure? How did it help you to evolve into the professional you are currently? Is there anything specific about the course that could help students improve their employability?
Ashu Rathor: The EU Business School curriculum was perfect in that it gave me the tools to transform a business to an advanced level, as you would expect from an MBA program. From advanced accounting to financial management courses, from HR management to organizational behaviour, and from quantitative analysis to marketing skills; every area was covered. Apart from this, the international flavour added to each of these courses in the heart of Europe is the real value of EU Business School. The student base is diverse, and what I learned there 20 years ago comes in very handy even in today’s global workplace. I was able to leverage the accounting courses in my master’s program and at work when I joined Arthur Andersen. Courses like Introduction to Accounting, Multinational Accounting & Intermediate Accounting had direct relevance to my work. They helped me in preparing for the CPA exam as well.
Today, even after 20 years, as I oversee a global team of almost 6,000 professionals spread across many countries and cultures, what I learnt at EU Business School is coming in handy; especially from courses like International OB & International Management.
Qrius: You had an opportunity to intern at the United Nations in New York during your course at EU. Did you learn anything that had a specific impact on the rest of your career?
Ashu Rathor: EU Business School was like a mini UN. While at UN, I learnt how an international body manages to work within a community of independent nations where each one has its own focus and priorities. Some are dependent on the UN, while others are funding the UN. Today, at an international organization like EY where we have separate businesses in every country and a global umbrella, the UN experience has helped me tremendously, enabling me to strike the right chord with all our users around the globe. Apart from the cultural experiences, it’s been remarkable to be in the know on how a global body operates and to incorporate this knowledge into my current role.
Qrius: What does your day-to-day role as a partner at Ernst & Young entail?
Ashu Rathor: There is no one way to describe how a day at EY as a partner is. It’s very dynamic and full of challenges, and also very fulfilling, to say the least. From dealing with market demands to ensuring our people are getting the right growth and experience, from focusing on enhancement of profit for our users to ensuring that we expand our ability to deliver and scale up, and lastly from building trusted client relationships to making sure that we collect our invoices: all come within the day-to-day activities of an EY partner. I feel that every day I get to live up to our tag line – “Making a better working world”.
Qrius: Do you think that the diversity on campus plays a role in the development of students? If yes, how?
Ashu Rathor: Absolutely! We know that when we assemble diverse teams, they do better than homogeneous groups. Getting exposed to that diversity on campus sows the seeds of success that come in handy later at work. The ability to embrace diversity and work with different thoughts, orientation, race or gender becomes second nature when you experience it in school. EU Business School for sure was my first exposure to real diversity when I left India. It was a cultural eye opener. In today’s globalised world, no organization can function if it’s not diverse.
Qrius: Do you believe in the concept of “thinking like an accountant”? If yes, how does it benefit business?
Ashu Rathor: Well, in my view, that’s the only way to success. ‘accountant’ is often a misunderstood term. When I introduce myself as an accountant, I have had business leaders jump in to say that I am being humble. The fact is that when I say that, it sums up for me the highest level of skill set and education that a business person needs to run a business successfully. An accountant is not just a back office number cruncher. An accountant is someone who can comprehend the entire flow of business. Someone who can get to the bottom line, without getting distracted by the noise. Accountants know the rules and regulations and adherence to them is foremost in their mind. At the same time, they have the business acumen to grow businesses without the fluff. They are realistic and deliver on actual information, and will not lead to tumbling of the global economy. They, in fact, will build a strong foundation that any financial system needs.
Qrius: What are some of the skills you think aspiring professionals – pursuing a career in the accounting sector – should focus on?
Ashu Rathor: In today’s technological world, it is critical that the current generation of accountants is savvy with technology. Technology is our new notepad, the book that we keep, the return that we prepare, the financial systems we develop, and the data we play with. A good accountant always possesses interpersonal skills. The ability to communicate is essential, to be successful in our profession, and a very sound accounting base is a must. Beyond that, if we can equip ourselves with technology, we will become those ideal professionals who can change how things are done for ourselves, our clients, and our people.
Qrius: Do you think that leadership is about being the most knowledgeable person in the field? Or do you believe that it is an innate quality, developed by gaining experience?
Ashu Rathor: Far from it. Leaders surround themselves with very smart people who are the best in their fields. Leaders are inch deep and mile wide. Experience, for sure, helps.
Qrius: Any tips for the current batch of EU students?
Ashu Rathor: Make the best use of your time at EU Business School. You are getting exposed to an unparalleled education model. The academic curriculum, virtual tools, diverse community, and exposure to international business are all winning combinations. Be passionate about what comes your way, and when opportunity knocks, open the door and grab it.
This interview has been compiled in collaboration with EU Business School (EU). Established in 1973, EU is a triple-accredited international business school with campuses in Barcelona, Munich, Geneva, Montreux and Online.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius