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What will I need at the start of my internship?
A lot of the information and equipment (including your own laptop!!!) gets given to you on the first day by GT. All I’d say you need to bring is some smart clothes, pens, passport and a trusty notepad. GT should get in touch with you to let you know where you are and anything extra to bring.
What’s it like on the First Day?
The first day can be really nerve-racking, but what I tried to remember when I was there is that I was with 14 other people in the same position. You’ll likely see some people there from your assessment day or from an ice-breaking event Grant Thornton may have arranged, so you’ll be sure to see a friendly face. It’s a nice introduction to the company and with the people you’ll be seeing in the office over the next six weeks. Just try to speak to them all and remember to be yourself.
What are the people like?
You’ll hear Grant Thornton brag a lot about how good their people are, but this isn’t just them saying what you want to hear. Everyone has been in the position of knowing nothing before and because of that they’re very understanding. They’re also very friendly and will happily answer the questions you will inevitably have. Not once in my time so far have I not been greeted with a smile. I can guarantee the people will be one of your favourite parts of your six weeks.
Will I just be making the tea?
There’s always a worry with internships that you won’t actually get a feel for the job, and if you do it will only be shadowing. That is really not the case here. In my second of six weeks I was being put in charge of making documents for a huge client (under supervision of course). It was great (but also very scary) to see a document made by me being uploaded and signed off on the Audit system. You also get to do a range of tasks in your area and have the freedom to feel you’re contributing.
Am I always going to be in the same office?
The simple answer is no. For my first week I was in Reading on the Monday, London on the Tuesday and Wednesday, Oxford on the Thursday and Southampton on the Friday. This is really nice as you get to see the very different offices, I can assure you London and Southampton are chalk and cheese! You also get to spend time on client sites as part of a team, which is a very different experience to the office. If that isn’t enough, you also get to spend two days at a training site. You’ll be able to try a range of meal deals all over the country!
How difficult is it to travel?
After the last bullet point this is probably your first thought. If you have a car and are confident in using it, then you’ll be fine. If, like me, you don’t have a car it is more difficult, as not all the offices and client sites are easily accessible by train. It can be done though, one of the guys I worked with has managed to get everywhere so far by using a mixture of train and bus. My personal preference however would be to try and car share with others. You inevitably feel bad for asking but it is a great solution. Not only does it make your travelling easier, being stuck in a car for an hour and a half with your fellow interns is a great way to get to know them better, something you’ll appreciate in the office.
Will I always be doing the same thing?
The cliché you’ll hear from the auditors when you start is that “every day is different”. I was personally quite sceptical of this idea as it must surely be the same work. For your internship though, this cliché is definitely valid. Whenever I’ve been working on audit I have been able to do a wide range of jobs to help the team, with almost every one being something new. By the end of my six weeks I’ll have also spent days with the tax team, corporate finance team, marketing team, with clients on site and even at a training facility right out of Downton Abbey!
What advice would you give me?
The advice I would give from my own personal experience would be to not hold back during it. Ask as many questions as you can, say yes to as many things as you can, offer to do as much during the days as you can, speak to as many people as you can. You realise when you get here that six weeks is really not a long time, because of this it’s important you find out as much as you can about the job and the company in that time, and you can’t do that by being half-hearted.
By James Holcombe – Audit Summer Intern
I went into our two days of training at Bradenham with high expectations, as almost every associate I had spoken to at the firm had talked so highly about it. After a few wrong turns on my drive up, including missing the entrance, I finally arrived nice and early on Monday morning and instantly understood why. The grand entrance and the acres of lush garden land were an incredible welcoming, and we got started with our workshop straight away. The title of the workshop was ‘developing your business impact’ and was mainly based on improving our public speaking and presentation skills, looking at our end of internship presentation.
The group consisted of all the audit interns from across the country, and we started off with a few ice breakers; getting to know each other and finding out everyone’s hobbies and interests. The course was very ably lead by Jamie New, Ursula Hughes and Carolyn Sansom and their unique insights and feedback across the two days were incredibly helpful for our personal development.
We were given a lot of on the spot training, being given very little time to prepare for a short presentation. The first of which was a sort of elevator pitch to a manager as to why we’d be the ideal person for a job, presenting to small groups. The instant feedback we received was incredibly helpful as it allowed us to implement the changes in a short time. Presenting to a range of people allowed feedback from different perspectives who could pick up distinct features of yourself, whether it was your shaking legs, over the top hand gestures, or poor engagement with your audience. We later learned that over 50% of the overall delivery consisted of body language, about a quarter tonality, and less than 10% of the actual words you say, meaning that even if your content was remarkable, your audience may not take any of it in if your tonality and body language were poor.
After a lovely lunch break, we reconvened, and after some more theory we set about our next task. Three new groups were each given a topic of a feature of the Vibrant Economy Index, with my group presenting on ‘sustainable growth’ which was more at ease for me with my economic geography background. After 25 minutes of prep we presented back to the whole group receiving constructive, positive feedback in the GT framework. For topics people knew little about, all three groups spoke very well and confidently. The audience would’ve struggled to tell that the group had such little time to prepare for it.
At 6pm, we all had a barbecue in and sat around in the picturesque garden while some of the guys ‘attempted’ to play some croquet. Then at 7pm as soon as the bar opened, everyone flooded in to watch the football on the television, and even after the game finished, everyone remained to watch the evening’s episode of Love Island which allowed for plenty of bonding, interaction, and interesting debate. After a few games of pool, more socialising, and LinkedIn/Facebook adds, everyone went back to their rooms for some well earned rest.
The final day was all about our own personal presentations, which were going to last around 7 mins on any topic of our choice. So again after some more theory, we went away on our own to work on our presentations; mine was on my recent field trip to Havana where I investigated patterns of music consumption among different social scenes. Our group went out into the garden to present and it was already clear to see everyone taking in the advice they’d been given as everyone spoke immaculately well. Everyone spoke of genuinely interesting topics with particular favourites in my group being Marianna Emmanouilidou’s life of travelling having visited 57 countries aged 20, Jack Chisholm’s volunteering and charity work, and Rebecca Rowland’s passion for dance.
After another tasty lunch, we all parted ways, with new friendships and connections. I believe everyone definitely felt more confident with themselves at the end of the second day, with lots of practice and astute feedback which will put everyone in a better position for ‘improving their business impact.’
By Nikhil Rawal – Audit Intern
Starting any placement or internship can be a daunting experience, well at least it certainly was for me. At times you will feel like a crash dump of information hits you straight in the face and that you have to desperately force your two remaining brain cells to focus and retain any salient information possible. But remember, you are never alone and that this is one of the most invaluable experiences of your life to date. So I decided to write a post detailing how to get the most out of your time with GT.
Embrace that you know nothing
It is okay to feel at times that you have absolutely no idea what you are doing. In fact, it is completely natural. Going on a placement is one of the biggest learning curves you will have faced so far and I can guarantee at the start you will question whether you will actually be able to learn even the most basic work. Relax, I can confirm that you do learn and you do pick things up as you go along. I implore you to always ask questions as everyone is incredibly talkative and friendly. At the end of the day you are here to learn and the only way to do that is to ask questions, sitting in the corner slowly drowning in questions but refusing to ask any will not help you.
Connect, connect, connect
During your first week here you will be part of the National Conference, where over 100 interns and placement students from across the country come to London for 2 days. This is a fantastic networking opportunity so make the most of it, get to know new people and have a good laugh along the way. Grant Thornton is an amazing firm, everyone I have met are super friendly and the people really are the backbone of the firm.
In the grand scheme of things a year is a very short period of time (6 weeks even less), it will fly by. Don’t be a passive participator, try and make a lasting impression of your time here. Be friendly, be chatty, but most importantly be yourself. If you get an offer from GT then the interviewer must have seen something that they liked about you already. The people are the firm, so don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t, be true to yourself and put yourself out there.
Take every opportunity
If you have an interest in another service line then go and explore it. There are opportunities to go on Secondments to both Tax and Advisory and you have an opportunity to explore more about the firm and what it has to offer, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Get involved in team days and careers fairs, if someone gives you an opportunity to do something different always say yes and see where it takes you; hopefully it takes you somewhere warm and sunny but in the UK this may well be hard to find!
Enjoy your time here, there will be highs and lows but make every effort to enjoy it. Like anything, what you put in is what you get out of it in the end, so put as much as you can into your work and beyond your 9 to 5 job and there is no reason why you won’t have very fond memories of your time here.
By Alexander Prentice – Public and Third Sector Audit Associate