Hi there, my name is Chris and I am studying Finance at Queens University Belfast, currently on a 12 month placement within the audit department in Grant Thornton Belfast. I have completed two years of my degree, with one year left after my internship year.
As a student I understood how important getting solid commercial experience and developing my technical and personal skillset was going to be to my professional life after Uni. Importantly, I knew the work I needed to do was to be constructive, tangible and worthwhile. Prior to starting at Grant Thornton I was very apprehensive as I had no experience in a professional working environment; having been in full time education for so long I was used to working independently on my own time and I was worried I would struggle both technically and socially. However, I very quickly realised I had nothing to worry about!
When I joined, everyone was so welcoming. Even though I was new in the office I was kept very much involved with the work and in conversation and because of my colleagues I settled in much quicker than I had imagined. More importantly, the work I was carrying out was constructive and I soon found myself being sent out on different audits getting first-hand experience with different jobs and clients. The audits were always changing so the work has been very interesting and I got the chance to travel a bit too. I really began to appreciate the value I was adding to the firm, even as an intern, I felt valued too.
In Grant Thornton, hard work doesn’t go without being rewarded as there are numerous social events and chances to chat to your colleagues in more relaxed atmospheres. From ‘Payday Breakfast’ to dinner and drinks events!
The aspect I enjoy the most about working at Grant Thornton, particularly in the audit department, is that it is filled with young professionals all very sociable yet professionally motivated. This creates an ideal environment for an intern as I felt like I could relate to my colleagues right from the offset. Ultimately the Internship has allowed me to gain a good insight into what accountancy is like as a graduate after university. Although I am working in a young team, because of the open office environment I am also exposed to senior management and feedback from managers and directors comes through on a regular basis. Throughout my internship I have seen myself progress dramatically, through unrivalled first-hand experience and exposure to different areas within the firm I believe I will be returning to university with a much more developed skillset and aspect of professionalism I didn’t have beforehand.
Grant Thornton for me has been a huge learning curve but something I will always be appreciative of, as a result I would highly recommend an internship to anybody looking for experience in a professional environment. It is not only the people that makes the difference, it is the exposure to some great work and clients too.