For Kunal Patel, a return to the Isle of Man to pursue his accountancy career has made complete sense.
The 24-year-old is enjoying career opportunities that may not have come his way elsewhere.
Some people raised their eyebrows when he left London to return to the Isle of Man, but two years down the line Kunal believes he has made the right choice.
‘Everyone, especially my dad, kept telling me, “the world is your oyster”. I can see that, accountancy is a global profession. But you can do that from your doorstep, here with a commute of a brisk 15 minute walk.’
Kunal moved to the island with his parents when he was three, and grew up in Port St Mary, where he went to Scoill Phurt le Moirrey, before moving on to King William’s College. The friendships he built at both educational establishments remain strong after all these years
He studied banking at City University, London, and while there began the search for a job.
An opportunity arose with PwC in the island and he joined two years ago. Kunal is a trainee audit associate, with the aim being that he will become a chartered accountant at the end of a three-year programme.
Kunal was born in London, with close family still there, so the move back there for his studies made sense. But he was happy to come back to the island.
‘I enjoyed my time in London. It was lovely. But the student life is different from working life. I did some work experience in the insurance broking world. You had to leave home early and even then, getting a seat on the underground train was hit or miss.
Kunal is one of many to appreciate the lifestyle boost that having easy access to the workplace gives.
He also appreciates the easy connectivity from the Isle of Man to major cities in the UK, which brings the best of both worlds.
Back in the Isle of Man, he has renewed his love of rugby. During the recent World Cup, he even managed to get his parents involved.
‘When I was at King William’s College, there was a lot of rugby. I joined Castletown Rugby Club and whenever I came back from university I played for them.’
Now he is back in the Isle of Man he is a regular, captaining the first XV.
During the World Cup he sat down with his parents to watch England’s famous win over New Zealand in the semi-finals – my parents put the win solely down to it being my sister’s birthday. For the final, his parents did not watch as they were on their way to the UK.
‘They told me afterwards that England lost as it was not the sister’s birthday! Difficult logic to argue with.’
He recognises the value of the vibrant sporting scene in the island, not only on the field of play but in terms of social and community life as well.
In terms of work, Kunal believes returning to the Isle of Man will serve him well for a career in accountancy.
‘If you look around there is a lot of business here that is finance related or where accountancy experience is a necessity, so if you are keen and willing to put the work in, the Isle of Man is a good place to come,’ he said.
‘There are a lot of people I know who have grown up in the island who have gone away but a lot have come back also. In my two years at PwC, I have seen lots of people’s careers develop. The Isle of Man is a good place for that.’
Although he grew up here, Kunal was too young when his family first arrived to remember much of what his first impressions were.
‘We are told that when we first came over we stayed in the Empress Hotel and me and my brother got stuck in the lift several times!’
But Kunal can recall and relive the enjoyable walks in and around Port St Mary, where his parents still live.
These days, living in Douglas, he is a particular fan of Groudle Glen.
‘That’s what is so great about the island. You are so close to green fields and blue seas.’