UCL Career Frameworks


Finance and Operations Administrator

Manpreet Karir, UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies

Manpreet Karir
I am currently working as a Finance and Operations Administrator at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). When I started at SSEES, my job title was Administrative Officer and whilst not much has changed in terms of main responsibilities, a few more have been added which I have taken on during my time here.

My main responsibilities can be divided into 4 different areas. Firstly, I work closely with the HR Officer where I am responsible for getting job adverts uploaded and advertised, while taking care of any queries regarding the jobs. I handle the recruitment aspect in terms of getting the candidates interviews and having everything ready for the panel to work with. Once we have a successful candidate, I am responsible for getting their contract processed and assist with their inductions. Over time, my role has evolved numerous times and there have been certain situations which have forced me to have a more hands on approach with HR.

The second key area in my role is that I am responsible for the Finance operations such as; purchasing of equipment, stationary, travel and other services for the school, as well as raising purchase orders, paying invoices, administering internal and external expense claims and being responsible for the department credit card. On a typical day, the majority of my work supports both the HR and Finance functions.
My final two responsibilities are building maintenance and health and safety. Quite briefly, if there is an issue in the building which could range from the smallest issues so the largest. I must ensure that I am in touch with different suppliers (and the UCL estates team) to ensure that all issues are resolved. Alongside this, my manger and I are responsible for the dissemination of health and safety protocols throughout the building.

When starting out at UCL, I had worked  in a variety of different jobs, which were unrelated to the work I have done here. I worked in retail at Next and worked as a receptionist at an optician. I also worked at the Financial Ombudsman Service in the PPI department. When I applied for this job, I wanted to get exposure in HR work as I did not have any previous experience of working in HR, so this job was perfect as it got my foot in the door. As a law graduate, I enjoyed learning about employment law and so I felt this job was finally one I could use to building on my knowledge in theory. Whilst being here, I have made the most of UCL’s services and used the opportunities to go on various trainings that have allowed me to gain and develop certain skills.

Whilst having worked here, I have been in situations where I had to step in for other colleagues and I believe this really helped me to develop and build my career. There have been a few occasions where I have stepped in and taken over completely different roles, while also continuing with my day-to-day work. Whilst this was stressful at the time, it also helped me develop my skills further, as I was using new software I had not previously used, and I was talking to people who were very different from the people I usually interacted with on a daily basis. Whilst I could have declined, I felt it was important to help to do this, being a team player, but also to further extend my knowledge of how other areas run in the department.

Having been here 4 years this post has definitely boosted my knowledge about various aspects and I am now looking to pursue HR further. I will be looking into doing my CIPD, which is the main HR qualification, and due to me being a graduate who has worked in this sort of environment, I can start on the second level of this diploma which will allow me to start getting roles higher up the ladder in HR. I will be looking to start this course in the next year. 

To anyone who is looking to go down a similar path, especially when starting out, I would say it is important to be a team player and not be afraid to ask questions when first starting out. This will only further your skills and development so it would be in your best interests. Also, alongside getting to know the people in your office and department, it is very easy to start networking at UCL so make the most of any training opportunities and workshops that come your way.