When I was applying to Grant Thornton, back in September 2010, the January entry route was never my first option. Just like many other final year students, I would have liked to secure a job and start in September straight after graduation.
When it came to accepting my offer, Grant Thornton advised me that there is an option to start in January if I wished. After some consideration, I took up that offer and I have never regretted not starting in September with the rest of the graduates and school leavers…
So why did I make that decision? I am a bit of a globetrotter and I enjoy travelling. Having already taken a placement year, taking another year out to go travelling before starting a job did not seem to be feasible personally. Starting in January gave me a chance to travel after graduation and I managed to see a lot of places including the US, from the West Coast to the East Coast, Belgium, France, Budapest, Austria. I even got the chance to go back to Hong Kong to see my family for Christmas!
I did doubt whether starting in January would mean less structured training as there would not be as many of us compared to the September intake. I was so wrong! On my first day a detailed internal training programme had been set up by other trainees in my office, it was exactly the same as the one the September intake would have. The only differences is that the September intake would have time to take the information in before going out to client. With it being the busy season in January, as soon as I finished the internal training and a week at Bradenham, I was sent out to a client straight away! Meeting and speaking to a client for the first time was daunting but I had a lovely team and they were always there to help me. It was a good feeling taking on responsibilities so early. It was a steep learning curve, but I will never forget that experience of my first client.
Speaking of Bradenham, since there was only a small January intake across the country, all of us attended the same course and soon enough we formed a very close bond! I met people from the Manchester, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Reading and Cambridge offices. I still keep in touch with all of those people. It was such a good way to network and make friends with trainees from other offices.
In terms of professional studies, different offices have different plans, depending on the tuition provider courses availability. I know some of us began professional studies a few months after we started and would have completed six exams by the end of that summer. But I also know some of us did not start studying until September. That doesn’t mean there is any delay in being qualified and, in fact, you can focus on gaining work experience in the first nine months before having to worry about studying! You will be an expert A1 (first year associate) by then!
So, if you have been offered a January intake opportunity and have any doubts, I hope this will help you make your decision and as always, the team and I are happy to take questions on the forums.