An internship at a professional services firm can be a great way to find out if a career in finance is for you. They typically work across accountancy, audit (which is also known as assurance in some firms), tax and consultancy. We spoke to some graduates about what life is like in these firms.
What’s the application process and do you have any tips for future candidates?
The application process involves an online application form that can be accessed via the firms. When applying for internships, we would advise students to make sure their application is targeted to the position and employer they are applying to and that they display the skills and qualities that match the selection criteria.
During the interview, competency questions are used to ask the applicant to provide detailed
answers, based on personal experience. These questions give you the opportunity to demonstrate the skills required for the position. As there is likely to be a series of questions covering a range of personal skills, avoid using the same scenario twice. Draw on the breadth of your work, personal interests, activities and study to provide a variety of answers.
On commencing your internship make sure to make the most of your experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, have fun and take advantage of the network of people around you.
What are some of the benefits of an internship programme?
An internship is a great opportunity for students to gain real-life insight into what their graduate career could be like. It gives them the opportunity to see if this is a career that they really want to pursue and likewise, it gives the employer the opportunity to see if they are the right fit for the position and the firm.
Is there a social aspect to internship programmes?
Interns generally work together on a group project and develop the skills they need to adapt into this line of work. Professional services firms are also very modern and pleasant places to work for, with benefits such as on-site gyms. The internship is paid, and as they finish before the end of the summer, which gives you a chance to travel before college starts back.
What about training? What was available once you started the internship?
We were given a full week’s training when we first arrived. It gave us all a chance to relax and settle in. We also made many friends as we were put in teams. In our second week we began to work with clients. We were all assigned a ‘buddy’ through the PwC buddy system. This was one of the most helpful aspects of the internship as you could approach them with any kind of question, even asking about how to use the printer!
After the internship, you were offered a graduate position. What does that mean for you to have that now as you return for final year?
It’s great. It has meant I am able to focus on college without the added pressure of looking for a job. I plan on having all my CAP 1 exemptions before I start so I only have two years of exams left when I start the graduate programme. As the graduate programme doesn’t start until October, I hope to have some time for travel before it begins.
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