Economics and Politics student Tom talks about how he landed his position in Financial Services, Audit at Deloitte.
Working in Audit in the Financial Services industry means providing advice on financial reports of banks, insurance firms and investment managers. The purpose is to inform the senior management and other stakeholders on whether the information presented in their financial information is accurate and up to date.
Deciding a career path
After finishing second year I still didn’t have any great idea of what I wanted to do after graduating. I had been rejected by most of my internship applications for that penultimate summer so I wasn’t feeling hugely optimistic! I knew I wanted to work in finance and fortunately, I managed to secure an internship with a charity in their finance department over summer. During summer, I had a look at loads of different career paths and spoke to family and friends who worked in Finance to get an idea of what would suit me. Eventually I decided that I wanted to start my career in Professional services, this refers to roles in Audit, Tax and Consultancy. Compared to banks and investment management firms, professional services firms hire far more graduates and offer better training opportunities. The prospect of being paid to take a professional qualification was an attractive one, particularly with such a competitive job market in the finance industry; it also opens a lot more doors later in your career. Deloitte offers a huge amount of training and development opportunities in all their different service lines.
Why Audit and why Deloitte?
It goes without saying that Audit isn’t exactly the most exciting job in the world! Saying this though, in your first three years you spend a lot of time in college revising for your ACA. Having spoken to friends in the industry, everyone said the same thing, ‘get your professional qualifications and go from there’. Compared to other areas in professional services, audit provides you with a breadth knowledge about every aspect of a firm, something that will no doubt be invaluable for the rest of my career. Despite part of me dreading another three years of exams, I know it will be a completely new challenge which is an exciting prospect.
My key goal was to get a job at the ‘Big 4’, particularly Deloitte. I’d attended open evenings and career talks at a number of firms but the Deloitte evening in their Leeds office really sold it for me (I would recommend going- there’s free food and booze). On a serious note though, all the graduates I spoke to seemed down to earth and Deloitte are a huge global brand, offering so many opportunities to travel or move around internally within the business.
The application process
Like most grad jobs, the application process is long and quite tedious! Professional services firms all follow a similar structure. Personal info, followed by a few longer questions about you, your experience and why you want to work there. For Deloitte, I also had to do a personality test which assessed you on areas like determination, risk taking ability and accuracy. After this, you go through the psychometric tests (numerical, logical and verbal reasoning). I found these challenging but there are so many resources to give you a hand; I would recommend using www.assessmentday.co.uk and any packs that the Careers Service have.
Interviews and Presentation
Next up was the interview stages. Deloitte was the only ‘Big 4’ firm that didn’t require a telephone interview which made the process slightly easier. For my other applications, the telephone interviews were competency and strength based. I’d recommend focusing all your answers on the firms’ values and make the most of people’s comments on websites such as Wikijobs and Glassdoor, where people talk about their interview experiences. Most of the time you can pre-determine what questions come up. Whilst the interview was taking place, I would have flash cards on my wall with brief points on for all the different potential questions.
The next stage was the Assessment Centre, once again it was a different format to the other ‘Big 4’. I was given a case study of a few different investment options and had to pick which one I would go for, given a few different situations. I then had a one on one interview whereby I was questioned on the case study and had to explain a few calculations. After this, the interview was quite casual and followed a similar competency/ strength based format. The other Big 4 interviews are slightly more formal. For PWC, you first do a written exercise, then redo numerical and logical tests and finally do a group case study.
The last few stages move along a very quickly and I was soon asked to come in for the presentation and final interview stage. 5 days before the presentation I was given a topic that I needed to prepare. You are given a fair amount of detail for what they want from you. The best advice I’d give is to draw all your points back to why your topic is vital and relevant for a firm like Deloitte and make sure you show your knowledge of both general current affairs and any news that relates to the company. After the presentation, there was about 10 minutes of questions and then another round of strength based questions, mainly questions like ‘give me a time when you have demonstrated…’
Apply early!!! Applications are time consuming and grad/ intern spaces fill up very fast.
Don’t rush applications- get people to check them.
Attend open evenings and talks- you can sign up through the Careers Centre website. Mentioning that you made the effort to go to these events and dropping some names looks great on your applications and later interviews.
Utilise friends who work in the industry to give you tips on the process and the kind of people that the firm like to hire.
If you can, enrol in the Career Development module, I can’t emphasise how much it helped the application process.
Making applications? Don’t forget to check out the applications information on our website, or book an appointment for further application and interview guidance.