BSc Natural Sciences with Placement Year
Maths and Chemistry
Studied Biology in year 1
Biology, Chemistry and Maths – A Level
Primarily, I decided to do a placement in order to explore potential career paths. I was really interested in working in the financial sector and by completing a placement I wanted to improve my knowledge of the sector, gain confidence in the workplace and gain some contacts through networking. I was attracted to complete a placement year to allow me to make a more informed decision when it comes to applying for graduate jobs. Also, completing a placement year has been known to largely increase employment prospects. With such competitive graduate application processes, I wanted to make my application stand out against the masses and prove that I have the technical and financial skills to be the right candidate for the job! Not only that, but by completing a paid placement it has provided me with extra savings for the final year of university.
I am an Audit Associate at KPMG. It is a specialist role that reviews the accounts of companies and organisations to ensure the validity and legality of their own financial records. I have been lucky enough in my placement year to work on large interesting audits such as BT and Chelsea Football Club. I split my time between working at the Canary Wharf office and working at client sites which can be very exciting! Also, I have been given the opportunity to complete the first six accountancy exams, sponsored by KPMG, giving me foundational industry knowledge and allowing me to be a step closer to accomplishing the ICEAW Chartered Accountancy certification after graduation.
At KPMG as a placement student I was treated and given equal responsibility as a Graduate Trainee. Management have been extremely supportive throughout my placement as I have progressed from knowing absolutely nothing about finance to taking ownership of parts of the audit, leading meetings with the client and travelling abroad to complete stock takes. My main worry when applying for a placement was that I would simply be the coffee-making intern however I can reassure you that this is quite the opposite! I have been given a great deal of responsibility for the entirety of my placement and interacted with many influential people along the way.
I have gained lots of industry awareness and financial knowledge throughout my placement, but I think the most important skills I have gained are my soft skills, such as decision-making and networking. I feel like there can be a large and quite often scary gap between transitioning from University and into the world of work, especially when like me you have no clue what you want to do in life! I think for me this placement year has really bridged the gap from university to the working world and allowed me to understand further what direction I want to take. I feel refreshed and motivated to come back to university to complete my final year studies.
Yes, I really highly recommend sandwiching a placement into your degree at university. This year has really been eye-opening for me and my confidence has improved massively. The year has really been the push out of my comfort zone that I needed, and I definitely feel very prepared for graduating university. Additionally, I am extremely lucky that KPMG has offered me a graduate job after university, which is fantastic!
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