1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Hard work, helpful and friendly colleagues who were more than happy to assist when struggling. Did lack variety in places - often sat down in front of a computer for many hours. Enjoyable visiting client sites and interacting with them to get the information needed to carry out the audit correctly.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Very helpful colleagues. Encouraged me to ask questions when I was struggling. Given a good level of responsibility and was taught how to use computer programmes in order to carry out an audit. Trusted to speak with the clients in a professional background. Overall the colleagues were very sociable and willing to help.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My audit senior was extremely helpful. When on a client site, he would pick me up from the hotel we were staying in and would drop me off at the end of the day. Always said to ask for help if I needed it, and was available via email/skype. Overall very good.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Amount of work per day varied quite a lot. Sometimes the atmosphere would be very laid back, but the next day there could be a realisation there was actually a lot to do. Was asked to do overtime over the weekend on one occasion which I didn't like being an intern.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Quite a lot. Was involved in client meetings in regards to understanding the company finances and accounts. Was given individual sections on the audit which I carried out independently with assistance from my audit senior and the rest of the team. Responsibility to travel to and from the client site.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Internship with BDO helped develop different skills from my degree. Learned a lot about how to use certain systems such as Microsoft Excel, and importantly how an audit is carried out. Helped develop my ability to work in a team in a professional environment and how working life can be in the financial/accounting sector.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Generally friendly. Very supportive and willing to answer questions and concerns that I had. Would socialise on lunch breaks and have general chit chats. Sometimes would go quiet when the workload increased as everyone became very focused, which at times left me uncomfortable to ask questions as I didn't want to disturb.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Initially not good. Was designated to work in the Ipswich office. Turned up on my first day and was told I should have been in Birmingham for the week for training. However this was not communicated to me prior. Had to therefore travel from Ipswich to Birmingham that day on the train which was not ideal. Rest of the internship was organised well, but first impressions were not good.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Quite a lot. Importantly paid for all my travel expenses including meals. One weeks training at the beginning of the internship to ensure I knew what I was doing when I was carrying out the audits. Also planned for us to do CSR projects to understand the social responsibility of big companies like BDO.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Was offered a job after the internship, with 85% of interns on average being offered a graduate job once the internship is completed. May take the role, enjoyed it as time went on but feel I prefer words over numbers which is a large theme in auditing clearly. Pleased to have been offered a role though.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
In my office I was the only student carrying out an internship. Did meet other interns in my first week at the training sessions which was good and during this time they put social events on like pub quizzes, escape room etc. Did also meet them for two days in London with a night out, but during actual work i was limited to senior staff.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
During my internship I lived in Norwich and would commute to Ipswich office (1hr30 drive there and back). Most of my internship was spent travelling and living in a hotel in Milton Keynes for 4 weeks. All travel and food expenses were paid for by BDO so I did not lose any money.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Rarely went out where I was. In Milton Keynes there were good restaurants and pubs. For example there was a Wetherspoons close to where I was located which was ideal for cheap food/drink. Other easily accessible food places such as Nandos and McDonalds. Were some bars available to go out to if wanted.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Opportunities were limited to the training and presenting periods at the beginning and end of the internship. While I was away with a client, two of the team lived in Cambridge so would commute to and from every day. My audit senior didn't make much effort in the evenings for social activities as days were long and tiring.