Why did I choose to do an internship?
During my first and second years at university I wasn’t sure what job or company would be the best place to start my career. I thought spending part of my long summer vacation doing an internship would be the perfect way to find out and to earn some much needed spending money too!
How did it tie in with my overall career plans?
I had been to numerous graduate recruitment events at university, and I decided to apply to KPMG based not only on the range of career opportunities they offered, but because of the people. Everybody I met at their events seemed approachable and I thought they would make good colleagues.
What was the application process like?
The process was simple and efficient. I made several applications for internships before starting my second year of university in October 2010. By December I had accepted the offer to spend six weeks in July and August 2011 with KPMG Birmingham. By comparison, some companies did not reply until four months after I had accepted my KPMG offer!
Because the application process for the internship is identical to that for the graduate job (except without the assessment centre), you don’t need to re-apply for the graduate position. In lieu of the assessment centre the team have six weeks to assess you! Perfect if you shine better in reality than interviews. The final part of the process is a partner interview and presentation. This may seem intimidating, but my experience was very positive. The partner in question even told me I had the offer before 9am the next day!
All this meant I had secured a job with a top graduate employer before starting my final year of university.
What attracted me to the role?
Corporate tax at KPMG toes an interesting line between the requirements for expert technical knowledge and for excellent people skills. My hope was, that with the appropriate training and development KPMG offer, I would be able to achieve these goals.
You don’t need to look very much in the newspapers to see what a hot topic corporate tax is. It’s a fast changing area, where problem solving is a key part of our job.
What were my main duties?
My role didn’t just involve photocopying! As the sole corporate tax intern in Birmingham, I had managers across all areas keen to give me work. This varied from research, taking meeting notes, editing documents and proof reading, plus some calculation work.
The rest of my time was filled with department meetings and so on. This gave a real opportunity to feel like a part of the team. Any time which wasn’t filled was spent preparing for my final partner interview and presentation. I was even taken along to a very special lunch with a senior partner and a valued client, which made me feel very privileged indeed!
What were the most important things I learnt from the internship?
There were obvious personal benefits – knowing the team I am now working with as a graduate has proved a real confidence booster. Crucially though, it was interesting to see how such a large organisation functions, the way work is won, and the type of needs clients have. As well as finding out what the graduate job involves on a day to day basis.
Do I have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
It’s worth the effort. My situation means I haven’t had to do any graduate applications since before the start of my second year of university. So by the time you need to get your head down for final exams, you aren’t still panicked about whether you’ll have a job at the end of your degree.
KPMG tax is a great place to go. Aside from the interesting work, the people are very down to earth and approachable. In particular, I was surprised how on my desk – which consisted of directors, senior managers and assistant managers – everyone took it in turns to get the coffees for the rest of the table. I had expected to be getting the directors’ coffees, but they even got mine!
What skills did I acquire or improve during the internship?
My knowledge of tax improved for a start, as did my awareness of just how much KPMG is planning ahead and preparing for changes and developments in the tax system. I’m sure it helped my soft skills, as well as offering presentation practice and hands on experience. KPMG are very good at providing feedback, which helps you target specific areas for improvement.