Meet AAT’s youngest student: 15-year-old Mahi Shah

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At just 15 years of age, Mahi Shah has already completed both the Level 2 Certificate in Accounting and the AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting.

And all that before even taking her GCSE exams.

It’s a path she has chosen in order to give herself a head start on a career in finance, which she hopes will one day culminate with a position as CFO of a multi-national company. “I know I want to work in finance,” says Mahi, who lives in North-West London with her family.

“So while I was solely focusing on my GCSEs until year 9, when my Dad, who works as a chartered accountant, suggested I study for the AAT qualifications at the same time, I thought: ‘Why not?’.”

Mahi’s AAT journey

Keen mathematician Mahi’s AAT journey began when she was just 13 years old. “I started AAT about two years ago with the Level 2 Certificate in Accounting, in which I got a distinction, and I received my Level 4 Diploma certificate in November 2022,” she says. It’s an impressive track record, especially given that Mahi studied for the qualifications at home in her free time.

“Studying for the Level 4 qualification really solidified my understanding of financial concepts, giving me a great base on which to build my career,” Mahi says. “I really enjoyed studying IFRS and IAS and the subject MDCL.

“In fact, the hardest thing for me was time management as I had to study the AAT subjects alongside my schoolwork, and I couldn’t let my grades drop.” Doing AAT studies while still at school has benefits, though.

“Doing the AAT courses has helped me with my schoolwork as I learnt many new skills, including how to better manage my time and how to prepare for exams, which will be useful when I come to do my GCSEs next year,” Mahi adds.

“It’s also given me exemptions for future courses I plan to do, which is why I recently advised a friend with similar career goals to look into doing AAT himself.” And Mahi’s AAT journey is not over yet. Once she finishes school, she intends to become a professional AAT member too.

Mahi’s plans for the future

An undoubtedly gifted student, Mahi is currently taking 12 GCSE subjects, including maths, additional maths, French, and computer science.

“I’ve always enjoyed maths,” she says. “It’s so fun! When I was younger, I was also interested in neurobiology, but finance is the area in which I can imagine myself working, and I would love to get to the very top.

“That’s why, after my GCSEs, I’m planning to do the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualifications, ideally as part of an apprenticeship with one of the big four firms.

“I’d then like to go to university to do an MBA, probably in business and administration; I just want to do everything I can to have the best possible career in finance.” It’s not all work and no play for Mahi, though. She also finds time to have fun with her friends.

“I play the piano, and I like going to the movies and going swimming with my friends,” she adds. “But I’m very driven and motivated when it comes to my studies and my career. I want to go as big as I can.”

With that sort of attitude, there’s no doubt Mahi Shah is a name to look out for in the future. We’d like to thank her for her time and wish her the best of luck with her GCSEs and her longer-term career plans.

How to study for AAT qualifications at home

Online or distance learning is a great option for people of any age who want to do AAT qualifications but need to fit them in around other commitments such as school, college, or work.

It’s also a handy alternative for those who don’t live near a college or study centre where they can take an AAT course.

The AAT qualifications you can do this way range from the Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping to the Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting.

You can sign up with an approved online training provider or, if you’re confident you can cope without the support of an AAT tutor, simply buy the AAT textbooks for the qualification you want to take and get started.

Even if you choose the self-studying option, however, you’ll still need to register with AAT to be able to sit the assessment – and to get access to the AAT Lifelong Learning Portal, which is a great source of information and study support materials.

You’ll also generally need to find an approved assessment venue at which to take the test you need to pass to attain the qualification you’ve chosen to do.

Further reading

Jessica Bown is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor.

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