Profile with Shazia Azim

Shazia Azim (Pakistan & University 1993) is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers specializing in risk and capital and insurance. She has worked extensively in the financial sector, including for UBS, RBS, and Goldman Sachs. Originally from Pakistan, Shazia holds an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from the University of Oxford.

Rhodes Project: What is your favourite thing to do in London?

Shazia Azim: Ride my bicycle in Richmond Park.

Rhodes Project: When you were a child, what did you aspire to be later in life?

Shazia Azim: There was a stage when I wanted to be a doctor, an economist, a physicist, etc. But something that has remained consistent in my aspirations has been a desire to be among the top five to ten percent in my field-to be at the top of whatever I choose to do.

Rhodes Project: What is the most rewarding part of your job now?

Shazia Azim: My current job, and in fact all my previous jobs as well, are client-facing: I deliver opinions, reports, or advice to my clients. My satisfaction comes when the client is very happy and we’ve given them very good advice to solve their problems.

Rhodes Project: What is the most challenging part?

Shazia Azim: I think the challenging part is motivating people and keeping them engaged in a way where they can deliver their absolute best. It can be a challenge to keep people motivated to do their best all the time, not just some of the time. 

Rhodes Project: What advice would you give to a young woman interested in a career in finance?

Shazia Azim: The industry I work in is very male dominated. Often, I find that I’m the only female.  I do think that that can be very tough.  I would very simply say that you’ve got to stick to your guns – don’t change your personality, this is it! Absolutely, there’s no reason to do that.  Diversity of opinion and diversity in the way we look at things are really important, especially in a finance profession because you don’t often get that. You end up with “group think” or a sort of herd mentality.

Rhodes Project: If you could meet one female historical figure, who would it be and why?

Shazia Azim: It would be Queen Elizabeth I. Frankly I think she was remarkable. Politically and militarily, she was very able and you don’t often have very many examples of that. In her age particularly to be a female ruler, in a time of so much political and international intrigue, she came off looking very good.

Rhodes Project: What do you do in your free time?

Shazia Azim: If free time means after work, then I have my children and that’s another job! If I have free time with no other jobs to do, which is rare, then I like reading, it’s incredibly relaxing. I also like sport.

Rhodes Project: What brings you the most joy in life?

Shazia Azim:  I’m a very positive, happy person who derives joy from a number of different things and that’s probably why I’m generally happy and satisfied with life. I see joy in a beautiful summer’s day like today and that makes me extremely happy.  I love my children, I enjoy their company and they always bring me a lot of joy. My job brings me a whole heap of joy as I enjoy being intellectually challenged and I like delivering sound advice to my clients. I love being with my husband because he is wonderful and it brings me a lot of joy to be with a partner who understands me. If I were to pinpoint one single thing above all, I really couldn’t! I’m happy with a lot of different things!

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