It was really insightful, and I got back a lot more than I thought I would - also getting to speak to senior associates was interesting as they openly shared their experiences. That made me feel like they were not giving me a prepared presentation with cliche answers, instead searching for answers within their own wealth of experience that was relevant to our own experiences.
We were treated very respectfully throughout my Insight Day at BDO. We felt special as we were given attention by senior associates and we even had a HR staff come up all the way from London, even though it was merely for 6 students. BDO certainly values its interns, that's for sure.
We did not get to speak/network to the senior associates on a personal level, but we were given an opportunity to pick at their brains with regards to any topics that were on our minds, or any questions we had. That was a great guidance point. The applications/interview tips portion of the insight day was also helpful as it gave me clarity on what the whole process would look like for me.
It will definitely help to a great extent in terms of my grad job applications in the upcoming academic year. Having an insight as to the application process was definitely helpful - I now know what parts to focus on and how to deal with strengths or competency based questions. Technically while these tips were only given for job applications, they would definitely help for other career advancement tests/interview processes too.
It was very well-prepared to be absolutely honest. I was not expecting such a structured day - I came in with the expectation of being let to shadow a member of staff and forming back together to discuss our findings at the end of the day. Instead there was a clear discourse of information, and sufficient opportunities were given to us to ask any questions we might have had.
While the office was a smaller one, and we only met select members of staff, including HR and senior associates at the company, it was still an atmosphere that made me feel like I was in a professional environment. However, it was not a cold atmosphere, but rather a welcoming one - from the first time the HR staff greeted us, to the point where they showed us out after the insight day, it was an impressive atmosphere.
Perhaps the personal training and development was rather skimmed over and cursory, but I feel like it was a decent attempt to get us to utilize the PESTLE analysis on a company of our choice. However, this attempt was hindered by time constraints, and the fact that it was a one day insight led to us not being able to do much in terms of personal training or development.
As mentioned previously, the insight gave us the opportunity to interact with members of staff who had previously been in our role and therefore could relate. As such speaking to them about their experiences did help me understand what it would be like to have a full time role. Furthermore, we were given a clear explanation about the exact roles of the different schemes by which we could be employed by the firm.
Company culture has always been something of an enigmatic creature and a dubious idea (how does one define the culture of a company), but speaking honestly to the associates and asking them questions about their opinion of culture definitely gave us insights as to how the team works and the challenges/benefits of that style.
A major learning point was the fact that the working environment in a mid-tier firm like BDO is so much more different than an experience at a top-tier firm like the Big 4, due to the difference in breadth and quality of clients. This was helpful as a decision making factor, as it forced me to think about which environment I would learn and develop better in.
I was not paid or reimbursed expenses, but that is expected because it is a simple insight day. There is no expectation/obligation for us and focus on us as insight day attendants to add value to the company, thus there is no compensation or reimbursement plan for us, and that is acceptable.
While senior associates were called in to present on their individual understanding of their departments to us, it was more of a Q&A session on a group level, rather than an individual level. I only wish we were given the opportunity to meet more graduate trainees who are a little more like me in order to get a more wholesome picture of what I'm getting into.