From French Student to Financial Crimes Analyst

It’s always good to get a chance to find out what our students end up doing after they graduate, and particularly interesting to get updates several years down the line. Paul graduated back in 2011 and wrote a blog article for us two years ago about his experiences since finishing his studies at Stirling. Since then, though, Paul’s career has taken off in a rather unexpected direction as he explains here:

“I studied for a BA Hons in French and Spanish between 2007 and 2011 at Stirling University. I chose Stirling to study French for a number of reasons including the close knit student community I witnessed on the open day as well as the flexibility and variety of modules available for the cultural elements of the course. When I started university, I had very little idea about what career path I wanted to follow post-graduation and I felt Stirling offered me the best chance to develop an understanding of the language and culture in a variety of different ways.

I followed the normal path of language and grammar modules throughout my four years in addition to a number of modules focusing on the literature, cinema and current affairs of francophone countries. I really enjoyed modules focusing on French cinema, particularly a module called ‘Screening the City’, where I was able to develop my analytical skills which has undoubtedly helped me in my postgraduate career. I’m still a keen viewer of French films and TV shows and take great pride in the fact I was able to watch an entire series of Les Revenants without subtitles.

2016 Addison Place Stanislas Nancy
Place Stanislas, Nancy


One of the main highlights for any language student and I myself am no different is the opportunity to study abroad. As part of the ERASMUS programme, I chose to go to the University of Nancy 2 (I believe it is now part of the University of Lorraine) and spent six months studying modules alongside French students and other students on the ERASMUS programme. It was a memorable experience where I was able to travel across France, Belgium and Luxembourg during the weekends and I regularly keep in contact with the other French ERASMUS students I met during my time there.

I spent the first four years after graduating doing various roles within the recruitment industry where I was able to use my French skills to work with internationally based clients and candidates for a number of different roles. I also spent a brief amount of time working in the Welfare to Work sector where I provide interview training to non-English speakers across the Glasgow area.

About a year ago, I made a bit of a career change and have subsequently found a role as a Financial Crime Analyst in a large consultancy firm based in London where I get the opportunity to travel and work with financial services companies all over. My first project as part of this role involved travelling between London and Paris on a weekly basis as part of an international sanctions investigation and had the opportunity to brush up on my French language skills. It has certainly not been the kind of career I had originally envisioned for myself but something which I find both challenging and extremely rewarding.”

Thanks to Paul for this update and we look forward to following the next stages of his career!