The perfect placement year experience, I learnt more than I had in two years at uni, built a large professional network and most importantly enjoyed every day of it.
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KPMG has an incredibly supportive culture. From day one I knew I could count not only on my assigned buddy but on anyone in the team, including much more senior colleagues. The flat corporate structure helps everyone feel included and valued. A wide variety of social and networking events also helps bring the team together.
In the beginning of the year I went through a training course to give me the basics of what I needed for my job but learning continued constantly throughout the placement. My colleagues were always approachable and helped me out whenever I came across something new.
As with any job, there are busier periods with a lot of client work that needs to go out and others when more time is spent on business development and pitching to new clients. What I loved about it was that there is no expectation of you to stay until very late, everyone is free to go at 5.30pm. Having said that, sometimes work just needs to be done and you end up having dinner at the office but it's definitely not the norm.
Even though I was working as a placement student, I took on the responsibilities of a new graduate. I was involved in large projects, sometimes working directly with Partners and Directors.
None of my tax knowledge is applicable to the degree I am studying but the skills I acquired from working in such a large organisation and from the exposure I got will surely be beneficial in my future job hunting.
Possibly the best thing about my placement was the people I worked with and the atmosphere they created. Everyone is friendly and up for a casual chat if you walk up to them and ask them about something you don't understand or even how their weekend was. The open space floor definitely contributes to this - I was communicating with people from all teams around me even though I was never involved in projects with some of them.
Placement students in the Capital Allowances team are not treated as interns but rather as fresh graduates which was great for me as I was involved in real work very early on. Just weeks after joining, I was working on par with the other graduates and was involved in client work, including meetings and site surveys. I'd say KPMG have a very well developed on boarding procedure, various training sessions throughout the year and a great support structure, all of which made my experience seamless.
I started off with a few days training on KPMG's values, accounting, tax and capital allowances after which I joined the team straight away started familiarising myself with the work they did. There were many other training sessions organised regarding IT systems, risk processes etc. throughout the year, including optional training days on various skills which I could attend freely. All of my colleagues were always ready to help me learn and they saw the potential efficiency this would create. I'd say KPMG is very keen on investing in their employees.
Excellent. A placement year in Capital Allowances is a potential opportunity for a graduate job in the same team or on the wider Tax scheme. It is also possible to arrange an interview to go into another team at KPMG. I managed to do a secondment in a different team over the summer after my placement was done. KPMG is keen on retaining talent and if you've done well over the year they will definitely offer you a place back.
There weren't many placement students around but on average the tax teams I worked with were close to my age so I managed to make lots of friends. There was always someone up for a drink after work on a Friday and when the weather was nice and sunny we'd all go out for a team social. Being new to London meant that I didn't know many people around but my colleagues definitely made up for that.
Surprise surprise, London is expensive. KPMG is based in Canary Wharf so be ready to part with £5+ if you fancy a pint. Similarly, any other alcohol at a bar will set you back considerably more than a students' union bar. Living costs go hand in hand with the commute time and vary widely. Having said that, KPMG's competitive salary is more than enough to cover all your costs and even a bit more.
Nightlife in Canary Wharf is a bit different from central London nightlife. There are no clubs, only bars and the latest you will be able to stay is 1am. On the other hand, if you start your drinks at 5pm straight after work that gives you plenty of time. If you're after a late night, closest clubs are 10 min away with an uber so it's definitely possible. After a while, you realise 1am is enough, especially if you have to go to work the next day..
KPMG has many organised societies and sports clubs, lots of information on the intranet. They also encourage charity work if you fancy it. I wasn't involved in it but some people from the tax team got together to play football every week. Additionally, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in anything in London.