1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my internship. The team were friendly and welcoming and the work I was tasked with was worthwhile and refreshing. I was constantly involved with different projects to ensure I got a good coverage of all aspects of the BDO working life, and members of the team always took time out to ensure I was fully aware of the tax background behind key issues.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued by my colleagues. I received constructive feedback on all the work I submitted and was frequently praised by the quality of the work I produced. What impressed me the most was how the work I was tasked with was of value to the team, to the extent that if I wasn't doing it someone else would be. I wasn't just given work to keep me occupied. This was really nice to see as it showed that the team actually cared for how I valued my experience at BDO.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Every task I was set was followed by the reassuring comment that I could come and ask any questions I had. Prior to starting I was given a run through of exactly what needed to be done and how it should be done, with some tasks even providing me with a template to work off. Whenever I was stuck I could always ask the person who tasked me with the work or my 'buddy' (someone who is assigned to make sure you settle in well) who was great at making sure I was on-track.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was kept quite busy throughout my internship. There were many occasions where I even had to politely decline the offer to attend a meeting with a manager because of the amount of work I had on a particular day. However, some days were not as busy so it did free up some time. This I expected though, as a lot of the work is client-based. However, when there was not much to do on the work front, BDO had us involved with a charity fundraising task which kept us occupied in our spare time.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given quite a lot of responsibility. Most of the work I produced was billable to the client and as a result had to be of a very high quality in order to make sure it was delivered to the client on time. All the work I produced would only be reviewed by my buddy before being submitted to the person that tasked me the work so I had to make sure it was at as good of a standard as I could get it at before submitting. Moreover, I was also asked to present in a meeting to staff at manager level and below which also put a lot of responsibility onto me.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The field I was working in is Corporate International Tax, and following on from that I am taking a module in Business Taxation at university. Looking beyond, I aim to be returning to BDO in 2017 working in the same department, so those skills will be part of my life for a very long time. The internship has also improved my confidence in public speaking, Excel skills and my networking skills, all of which will be useful in my future studies and beyond.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office atmosphere was very nice. The team are very social with each other, and lower level employees 'hot desk' so they always get to experience working with different members of the team and getting to know them personally. This friendly atmosphere didn't just occur amongst our team but also all the teams on our floor. The open plan office allows most BDO employees to move freely about the office, creating a really nice atmosphere to the workplace.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well organised. The first week had a structure where all interns were in Birmingham learning basic skills that were necessary to have before starting to work. From then on we were all based in our offices. We were also tasked with completing the Micro Tyco challenge where we had to raise as much revenue as possible from a micro loan of £1, with all proceeds being donated to charity. This ensured that if we were free of work in the day we always had something to be getting on with. The final few days involved all interns from around the country to come back down to London for organised CSR activities.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The firm invested in us by having us in Birmingham training for the first few days, where we were taught about the basic tax calculations so we could start work with ease. This was all paid for by the company. When we started working in our offices, the team members ensured they gave us the full tax background to any work we were doing and made sure we were fully aware of the implications of every task we do. They used this internship as a good way of assessing if we would be a good fit for the team to take on a graduate role.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing. At the end of the internship I was interviewed by a Partner of the firm who assessed my progress across the internship and asked me about my future aspirations. I told him how I was keen to continue working at BDO post-graduation and hoped I had done enough to allow them to consider me for the position. Luckily enough, they called me a week later and offered me a full-time graduate position for when I graduate in 2017.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes there was. All the interns went out frequently together, as we all got meet each other and spent time together outside of work during the induction week in Birmingham. This allowed us to get to know each other a whole lot better and want to make plans outside of the office. Moreover, the team went for drinks at the end of every week and frequently went out for lunch together.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived in the area so I was staying at home so I didn't have to pay rent which was very lucky. However, the cost of living and socialising in London is very high. As a result, people who are paying rent don't have much disposable income, but having said that, they still manage to socialise with the team on the regular. This is because a lot of people live nearby so they save money on transport.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Central London has a great Nightlife scene, so there is always something new to try. BDO arranged a night out for the students in the final week which was very fun, and on many nights the team arranged socials out to various places around London. The office has a great location, on Baker Street, so there are hundreds of places within walking distance of the office.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes there were. One team had a CSR day in the park, a mini sports afternoon for the team, we went bowling one evening as a team and we had a day towards the end of the activity for CSR activities. These events were all pre-arranged before we even started our internship and the team were welcoming enough to let us join in on whatever they had planned.