Attending a three day programme as an introduction to the technology division at KPMG's Manchester office.
The Women in Technology Insight programme at KPMG was really enjoyable. At the Manchester programme there was only 9 of us so we got to know each other quite well over the three days and despite the final day being an assessment, the programme overall was really enjoyable and relaxed.
Even though we were only first and second years, all of the employees we met treated us with a lot of respect and were really inviting of any questions we might have. It seemed like more than just an insight day, it was an opportunity to get a really good first impression of KPMG so everyone we met was really respectful and kind. As the area we were in was quite technical, work shadowing was more a case of observing that actually being able to contribute that much, but this was in no way a negative.
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it did not meet our site terms and conditions were very supportive throughout the three days and gave us a really clear explanation of how the programme was going to work. I never had any hesitations in asking questions or for help if I needed it. The graduates that we met were also very supportive and keen to answer any questions.
Given the option, I would now definitely choose modules relating more closely to technology but the other skills we practised during the programme including presentation skills, interviews and networking will be invaluable in future applications or in projects which form part of my degree. Hopefully the feedback which will hopefully be received within around 3 weeks will also be useful.
The insight programme was very well structured with each day split into clear chunks. Fiona and Michael explained at the start of the week how the insight was going to work and then each day in more depth as it came. It never felt as though we were at a loose end.
There was a really positive atmosphere in the Manchester offices, not only on the client facing floor where the programme was largely held but also in the normal offices which we saw during work shadowing. All questions were answered honestly but there was very little negativity and a lot of support and encouragement given to us.
I was really surprised by how many employees they managed to get to come and speak to us, especially at more senior levels. Their ability to give up their time to speak to us and interview us very much felt like an investment, as well as all the other resources which had clearly gone into setting up the programme.
Despite only being three days, the insight definitely provided a good glimpse of life at the Manchester offices through the work shadowing completed during an afternoon when I was able to sit in on meetings and calls. The longer programmes are probably better at this but I wasn't expecting to get as much understanding as I did in just a short space of time.
There was actually a lot of focus on the culture of KPMG during the Insight programme with it being a common answer to the question "why did you choose KPMG". Doing the work shadowing gave a good glimpse into this but also just the way the programme was led and the time given to younger students and graduates had a great impression on my understanding of the culture at KPMG.
I am now seriously considering a career in technology, after hearing the experiences of those on grad schemes and the other employees it seems like a really exciting area to be working in. As a first year it is still difficult to predict exactly what I will be doing when I graduate but this insight has definitely swayed me towards technology and towards applying to KPMG.
I would genuinely have done this insight for free as I am sure I got more out of it than KPMG did but it reinforces the investment KPMG make into students that we were actually paid for these three days. Travel expenses up to a certain limit were reimbursed but I don't think hotels were, as they encourage you to apply to the closest office to you.
At nearly every stage of the insight there was a new employee to meet who introduced themselves, answered any questions and were open to being added on Linkedin. At the end of the programme there was a networking session in a more relaxed environment which was a really great way to finish the programme.
Having very little experience at networking it was nice to do it with a relatively small number and with employees who had already helped over the course of the programme so that you could follow up with any last minute questions, or just have a general chat. I suppose there would have been more, had the programme been longer.
Yes, there appeared to be lots of different social activities including a golf club, women's networking opportunities, general drinks on the roof terrace at the start of the month and a ski trip. I also got the impression that those who worked together would meet up outside of work for drinks etc.
I would definitely recommend this to a friend even if they weren't obviously interested in technology, that wouldn't be a barrier to them getting something out of this programme and benefitting from it. Particularly as it is so short in length, it is the perfect opportunity to find out whether or not that sort of thing interests you.