1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed it - the people were great, really fun and encouraging. The work was interesting and I was given a good amount of responsibility as my internship went on, but always within my abilities and with help readily available. The most important thing for me was that the people at BDO were so friendly and the company has such a big emphasis on employee satisfaction.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
A lot. I definitely felt like part of the team with all the teams that I worked in, everybody worked to make me feel involved throughout. Sometimes at the beginning of the program, it was a little more difficult to be involved as I was still learning the basics but I still feel as though my colleagues found me to be a helpful addition.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I always felt as though I could ask the senior on the job for help with anything that I was stuck on or double check with them if there was anything I was unsure about. They were always happy to help and were able to answer all my questions.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
It varied a lot from day to day. For example, on some days I would have plenty to do and be kept busy all day but sometimes (often on the days I was in the office), I would sometimes struggle to find work to do to keep me busy. However, in that time, I could usually work on the community project BDO had set for us, so it was a good balance. I only had a few days in the office anyway.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I found that, at the start, I didn't have much responsibility, which was good because it gave me more time to get to grips with the basics of what I was doing and learn a bit about the tests I would most likely be doing throughout my internship. As the program went on, I was quickly given more responsibility for sections of the audit. As I mentioned before though, help was always available should I need it.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The technical skills I gained from this experience will probably not help me much in my degree as it doesn't directly relate to what I study. However, the softer skills such as how to communicate on a professional level, how to balance work and social life, how to manage my time effectively to get tasks done - those are skills that will help me a lot throughout life.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was really good. There was a really chilled out, informal atmosphere for the most part. People got on with their work but were happy to stop and chat for a bit or help you out if you needed it. It wasn't like a school library or something where you couldn't even talk to anybody else or anything like that. The Birmingham office were also really welcoming - taking us out for lunch on our first day, holding drinks in the office, going out for lunch in groups or going out together after work, etc.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was very slick and well-organised. The first 4 days were training in Birmingham coupled with social events in the evening and these were all well organised and good fun! The internship itself went pretty smoothly, with a few minor hitches were I would be assigned last-minute to a job (although that is part of what the job entails).
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The firm provided a week's training in Birmingham for the first week (they put you up in a hotel and everything, it's pretty fancy) which was good and allows you to get to know the other interns too. The firm invested quite a bit in making us feel welcome and making sure we had a good time. Alongside our day-to-day work, we were given a community project to undertake which helped us develop our entrepreneurial skills further.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing! BDO seems to me a really great place to work. They seem to take good care of their employees and open a lot of doors via the ACA and/or other accountancy qualifications. They offer a lot of their interns graduate roles which is a great thing to have going into your final year of uni as it takes a load off your mind.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yeah, definitely! There was a really good social buzz amongst the interns which was helped by the fact that the HR department put on a number of social events for us.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It is not too expensive to live in Birmingham. I rented a room for £300 a month and there are lots of other places similar to this, or even cheaper. It is not an expensive place to live your daily life in either.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Yeah Birmingham has a good nightlife. A lot of the staff at BDO are also young professionals and recent graduates so they are quite keen on going out and enjoying themselves. There is also the opportunity to go to a big city for a national football tournament with BDO which is a good laugh!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yeah, quite often I would get invited out after work for drinks, etc. which definitely helped me to feel included and get to know my colleagues better. As I mentioned before, there was also the football tournament.