Ali-Reza Panjwani

BSc Business and Management graduate shares his experience working for J.P. Morgan’s headquarters in New York City.

My parents told me to dream big and here I am now working for J.P. Morgan’s headquarters in New York City – the biggest and best bank in the world.

Hello, my name is Ali Panjwani and I studied BSc Business and Management at Aston University.

I was born and raised in Chelmsford, Essex just outside London, son to immigrant parents. My mother was a refugee from Uganda, my dad was born in Tanzania. My parents have always told me to dream big and so for me that meant if I wanted to go into finance, I wanted to work for the biggest and best bank in the world.







Why did you choose Aston University?

I work for JP Morgan in New York City. Ultimately for me, when I was growing up, I wasn’t very comfortable with my identity. I sounded different. I looked different. My name was different. And so, I was really longing for a community and for diversity that I couldn’t see right there and then.

I really wanted to select a university that allowed me to be who I was, gave me this empowerment, this sense of belonging. And look no further, I chose Aston University.

The course was particularly helpful for me. For the first couple of years, you’re looking at organisational behaviour, you’re looking at macro and microeconomics. These are the foundations for anyone looking to go into business or finance.

What did you enjoy most about Aston University?

The placement year for me. I established consistency and discipline, things that I didn’t have until that placement year. I was wearing a suit every day, nine to five, working at Pinsent Masons, a law firm in London and it was the perfect foundation for me to get corporate experience. I am now studying at Harvard Business School and now taking what I learnt at Aston over to Boston.







What was the JP Morgan journey like and what’s it like working in NYC?

When I was a kid growing up, I heard about this great institution. After joining I moved up the ranks relatively quickly. I went from a summer intern to an executive director in five and a half years which for a big corporation is pretty rare.

New York City is so energetic, so vibrant, full of electricity. This city has taught me a lot about being resilient but to continue moving forward, dream big. This city has superheroes, but we’re not wearing capes. This is a city where you can go from rags to riches and really climb up whatever proverbial ladder there is. But Aston was foundational for me during my career.


What was so special about studying at Aston University and why do you say it was your top choice?

Belonging to an immigrant family was tough when I was growing up. You’re the odd one out. You’re an ethnic minority. So, you shy away from the spotlight. What Aston did for me was to give me that spotlight back in a positive way. When I went to Aston University, I saw people that looked like me. I saw people that sounded like me. It’s that diversity. And it’s not just diversity as a buzzword, it’s diversity with inclusion.

The University allowed me to reclaim my spotlight, my identity, who I was. It changed the course of my career, but also the direction of my life and I really mean that. Aston was my top choice. For me, it is the most well-rounded university in the UK and in Europe.







Ali-Reza commented:

If you are thinking about applying, don’t hesitate. Don’t think twice because I went to Aston, I’m now living in New York, I’m recognised by Forbes, I’m studying at Harvard. So, apply, it’s going to change your life, and I really mean it.