Why did you choose to do an internship?
I chose to do an internship/placement to try to enhance my CV, gain some valuable and relevant work experience and to try to improve my chances of gaining a graduate role in a competitive field upon finishing my degree. I also wanted to do a placement to decide whether after completing my course at university, if this field/role was the type of role that I would like to do as my full time job.
How did it tie in with your overall career plans?
It tied in very well with my career plans. My placement allowed me to move around 3 different departments in my firm: Internal Audit, Freelancers/Contractors and External Audit. It allowed me to experience roles which I felt would be good roles for me to apply for post-university. During my course I felt that I would probably want to go into External Audit post-university and my placement allowed me to experience what it is like to work in External Audit. It has made me realise that this would be a role I would enjoy and like to progress further with.
What was the application process like – any advice?
For me, I was very lucky. I was lucky in that my mum is the Financial Director for one of the clients of the firm. She knows some of the partners of the firm due to past audits and just mentioned in conversation during that I was looking for an accountancy placement and asked if they knew if any placements that were available. This connection paid off massively because I was invited for an interview with the Beever and Struthers Training Partner a few weeks later and they decided to offer me the placement role on the day. My advice would be to use your contacts and network with people because you never know where or when an opportunity is going to arise. It is always worth speaking to people and asking the question about work experience/placements. Get yourself on LinkedIn, go to careers fairs and speak to people there and create a good impression. You never know what could come out of those quick conversations.
What were the most important things you learnt from the internship?
I learnt how important it is to create the right impression with both your colleagues as well as with clients. It is about how you present yourself to them, do you seem like the type of person they can both get along with as well as work with? It is how you interact both professionally as well as having a personal conversation with both clients and colleagues. I also learned that I actually quite enjoy what I was planning to pursue as my career and so I am glad that I did get a placement because it confirmed that this is the route I want to go down. I would say another thing that is important for me personally was that it helped me feel motivated to go back in my final year and work hard so that I can come out of university with the best degree possible and give myself the best chance on paper of getting myself a graduate role.