My graduate career in technology consulting with KPMG
At KPMG I am stretched and challenged every day and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I received several job offers in my final year of university and if I could turn back time I would still pick KPMG. I feel like my work makes an impact and I am given a lot of responsibility.
I am a graduate in the technology risk team in consulting. We assess the risk associated with clients’ software systems. For example, we might ask if there are controls in place that are sufficient to mitigate any risks involved. If not, we’d then make recommendations to help our clients better manage the potential risks. I love that on each project there is something new to learn. It was my desire to keep learning that encouraged me to apply to a consulting graduate programme at KPMG.
Making considered choices
I’d always been very strong in the sciences and I chose to study electronic engineering because electronics and technology are ever-evolving; it seemed to me that it would be continually interesting.
At university, I used my summers to see what I would enjoy doing for a career. Internships with a tobacco company and my university helped me to explore corporate roles and discover where my strengths are; my year with a technology giant confirmed that the technology industry was for me. However, my role there was very technical and ‘backroom’ and I saw that I’d prefer a consulting role in which there would be more interaction with clients.
I didn’t realise that KPMG were so involved with technology until I met them at a careers fair. The fact that they had a technology specialism made them ideal. As an international student, I also wanted to work for a global firm that might offer an opportunity to work in my home country in the future.
Reflections on applications
I definitely liked that the KPMG recruitment process didn’t involve many stages: a quick application form, online tests, a ‘digital submission’ audio recording and an assessment centre called Launch Pad. It can be frustrating when waiting to hear back from companies. I appreciated going to Launch Pad on the Wednesday and hearing from KPMG on the Friday.
I think my extracurricular activities and internships made me stand out during the recruitment process. I recommend that you gain some work experience, whether in industry or via a project at university. Show that you are not someone who has no idea outside of the classroom.
When applying I used my university careers service a lot: they reviewed my applications and gave me mock-interviews. I also advise that you look online for graduates’ accounts of going to interviews to get their tips.
Support to settle in
I was really excited about my offer. I was very impressed with the amount of support I received from HR afterwards. I had many questions and they answered my emails promptly. I was also put in touch with a ‘smart contact’: a graduate in the business who was there to answer any informal questions. I was deciding which job offer to accept and asked her loads of questions, but she didn’t mind at all.
When I started work, I was given a buddy within my team to help me settle in. In the first month, graduates from all over the country went to Leeds for training. We all stayed in the same hotel and became good friends. I look forward to our graduate socials a lot!
Not a typical job
In my role, there are no fixed day-to-day tasks; it all depends on my projects, but I spend around 80 per cent of my time at client offices. I really contributed from the start – they didn’t expect less of me because I am a graduate – and I loved the challenge. My current project team is like family.
Managing my work/life balance was a learning curve. It’s not a typical nine-to-five job and I have a lot of flexibility over my schedule. I always find that there is more work that I could do because I want to do my best. However, we have managers who track the number of hours allocated to a project and who will talk with us if we are doing too much. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to be realistic and clear about what I can do and when I can do it.
The learning continues
I am studying for a professional qualification in accountancy – not the full one that auditors take but sufficient to help me better understand clients’ concerns. In time, I’d like to take the full accountancy qualification and then go on to do an MBA in the future.