Partner shadowing and stock takes;
Researching potential clients while in the office;
Involvement in corporate social responsibility (CSR) events.
The KPMG summer vacation scheme was hugely enjoyable. The work given to me was interesting and varied. I met a lot of people who were very welcoming and friendly and encouraged me to seek the insights and opportunities I wanted to gain from the internship. I often found myself getting in early because I was enjoying the work so much and found it so interesting. I think I assumed everyone would work in silence all day, but whilst still learning lots I got chance to chat with everyone I worked with, which made a real difference. The days flew by!
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I always felt valued by my colleagues. My contributions were considered and respected and often used. I was invited to team socials despite my short time there and was included in all team meetings and email updates throughout my time. Nearly all the people I worked with were more than willing to share their insights and take some time out to catch up, talk about their work and ask me how things were going. I felt welcomed very quickly and that continued throughout the internship.
Almost all of my managers and supervisors were extremely supportive and gave me great guidance. My performance manager - the manager who I reported to constantly regardless of the project - was very effective at giving me direction and focussing me on objectives for my internship. He was also excellent at helping me identify some weaknesses and giving me ways and opportunities to develop them. My individual project managers were on the whole fantastic - they answered me questions on the projects and supported me in the work I did, giving me feedback where necessary both on what I did well and how I can improve for next time.
Most of the time I had a good balance of work to do, not so much I felt overwhelmed but enough that I didn't get bored. However on occasion I did finish the work quicker than the team anticipated, or in some instances there was simply nothing I could do due to security restrictions on the project and thus was left having to keep myself busy with online training. With a little forward planning I feel this could have been avoided.
As an intern you shouldn't expect a large amount of responsibility but when I asked for more responsibility (within reason) I was usually given it, such liaising with different teams and taking ownership of small parts of the project. A lot of my work was directly implemented into the project and the tasks I was asked to do affected deliverables within the project, so in that sense I had a responsibility to ensure I was contributing to the highest standard I could. I was also given access to privileged information and was entrusted not to spread it.
I learned a lot of valuable skills, both on the projects and through training with my manager. I learned how to work with a variety of different people in different teams and began to understand how I myself work best. I also learned some key skills in computing software such as Powerpoint and Excel which will be invaluable in the future and I will be able to take them back to university and into my future career.
The atmosphere was professional but reasonably relaxed. Each team had a slightly different atmosphere but for all of them were friendly and open. The office layout was conducive to an open and collaborative team environment through the use of hot-desks and "breakout" spaces. Everyone was open to taking coffee breaks to chat and the general atmosphere was extremely welcoming. They were lovely, and although still professional, I never felt not involved or lonely. I felt part of the business and like everybody welcomed me in. It was never silent, but not distracting, and a very comfortable environment.
Initially the internship felt very well organised. I was placed into a team and immediately utilised by the team for a couple of on-going projects. However as time went on it became clear it had not been as well designed as it first seemed. The team I started in I was part of for 2 weeks, and that worked well as there were projects available for me to work on and contribute to. As the 2 weeks were coming to a close it was decided it would be useful for me to get some wider experience of other teams within my service line - which I agreed with and was keen to experience some of the other teams' work. However from there it appeared that some of teams had not been briefed on what my role as an intern was, how long I was with them for or what to expect from me.
The firm invested a reasonable amount. My performance manager was excellent and I felt he invested a lot of time personally into helping me develop over the duration of the internship through our 1-to-1 sessions. The firm also had invested time creating a document for us to complete which helped guide the internship. I had regular meetings with my performance manager but it was unclear whether this was just a formality or how much difference it made.
As previously stated the vacation students are given the opportunity to pursue the grad programme upon completion of the internship. I am still unsure as to whether or not I will accept as the hours can be somewhat unsocial during the busy season and their seems to be little flexibility on annual leave with staff members having to book leave months in advance. Having previously worked in a company operating flexi time, I much preferred this approach as it is more compensating of the work/social life balance.
Despite the large contingent of interns there seemed to be only a small group of us interested in socialising. We met fairly regularly for drinks after work and everyone got on well, however it was disappointing that there weren't more people keen to socialise. There was one social organised by the firm for all interns which was well attended and good fun - however it was done near the end of our internship. It may have been better if it had been done towards the beginning so we could build upon the initial connections made and continued to socialise with a wider group of people.
I feel any internship outside the South east of England is going to be reasonably priced in comparison. Cost of living is very reasonable plus any expenses incurred during working hours such as travel and lunches was reimbursed by KPMG. Plus the pay for the internship went a long way in regards to paying for living costs. I spent more than I was expecting to but it was still good value though. But overall it was a lovely experience.
As the internship was in the centre of Birmingham there are countless options for Nightlife. Even though I didn't go out much during my internship, if you wanted to, there are definitely lots of affordable student friendly places in the city centre that you could go to on a Friday/Saturday. The night life was good with some nice pubs around. The nightlife in my area also offers plenty of opportunities for people who would like to stay out until the first lights of the morning.
Activities outside of work need to be properly timed and managed. In fact, interns have only the weekend available to be truly engaged in an outside activities. Particularly if such activity is time-consuming. However, the city offers multiple opportunities to have fun whilst not working. From parks, libraries, concert venues, festival, stand up comedies, student organisations, museums, sport clubs, etc. However, I think this is just my personal choice and if you were interested you could get involved in more of the societies.