Hello all! Gauri Mahendra and I (Samantha Rueber) have written this blog to share our fantastic experience as interns this year, having joined the Technology Risk Services (TRS) team in the London Finsbury Square (FSQ) office for six weeks this Summer.
So a little bit about TRS. It sits within Business Risk Services, offering highly specialised and extensive expertise of various key IT risk management areas. This is often separated into three sectors: IT Internal Audit; External Audit; and Advisory. Within these areas there are more specific client services such as data analysis, data privacy, and logical/physical security auditing.
We chose this service line for pretty similar reasons. Although neither of us had the technical skills and knowledge required in TRS, we had a tremendous passion for IT and technology – especially the prominence it has in the Financial Services industry today. We were assured during the application and interview process that our curiosity and enthusiasm to learn would suffice at this stage. While our degrees weren’t exclusively in tune with TRS (I study Chemistry and Maths, and Gauri studies Law), the commercial knowledge, skills and work ethic embedded into us during our University courses strengthened our competency and furthered our experience this Summer.
Having been through the application process, one of the main things we noticed was how much detail and genuine interest Grant Thornton invests in applicants. They want prospective candidates to simply be themselves and share as much of who they are in terms of their experiences, aspirations and growth at every stage of the application process. Having spoken to many people about graduate positions, internships and what companies are looking for, what we and many others have found surprising is that Grant Thornton looks for much more than a degree or any other qualification; Grant Thornton looks at their future potential and what an individual can achieve with the right support. Coming from backgrounds in Chemistry and Law and interning in TRS, we definitely found this to be the case. This was only furthered by the team’s confidence in us and support. Despite the fact that we didn’t have the specific technical skill and knowledge required, they entrusted us to understand and pick up the work quickly.
During our first week, we were immediately thrown into a rapid series of events. Coincidentally, the annual TRS conference held at Bradenham Manor fell on our second week at the firm. This meant that we had the chance to visit High Wycombe early on in our internship and meet the entire TRS team from across the UK. (To learn more about Bradenham, click here) Being able to meet the whole team and speak with them about their job and experiences as well as socializing with them was an added bonus. It gave us fantastic insight, not only into TRS, but into the firm as a whole. Being at Bradenham Manor gave us time to get to know our buddies and line managers in a more relaxed environment and on a more social level (with a free BBQ dinner!). Additionally, we had a couple of induction and welcoming events held by the People and Culture team to get us settled in, and an introduction on our national projects (such as lendwithcare) and a presentation relating to a “Vibrant Economy”.
Our schedule was always jam-packed and we both can honestly agree on the fact that there was never a dull moment with nothing to do. For almost half of our internship, we were whisked away to clients’ sites, accompanying experienced Executives and Associates. We were entrusted with handling complex audits and were even given the opportunity to give meetings directly to the client and had a great deal of input into reports, which undoubtedly gave us a taste of the role as an Associate would genuinely be like. This is one of the most valuable aspects that we both took away during our six weeks, especially because of how uniquely jam-packed events were compared to other sectors or internship programs.
In addition to travelling to clients’ sites, we were also given the relevant data analysis training by a talented Associate (coined “IDEA data software”) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Excel work. This may seem like a mouthful, but trust us; the number of explanations and walkthroughs given by our mentors greatly helped us through each process. Every member of the TRS team was nothing short of fantastic, always willing to answer our tireless bombardment of questions no matter how busy they were.
The vast range of experiences we were exposed to, including bonding with the other FSQ interns (who we are still in touch with today), being able to get involved in volunteering and social activities, and first-rate training at Bradenham all gave us a taste of what life would be like working here. Additionally, being in an office environment exposed us to workplace practices and etiquette including simply how to best exude professionalism. The culture at Grant Thornton is warm, friendly, and inviting in every department with which we interacted, leaving us very excited about our future with the firm.
Being an Advisory intern at Grant Thornton this Summer very clearly exceeded our expectations. From the first day we were warmly welcomed by the department and were treated like valued members of the team instantly. As a whole we found the company to be very open and welcoming. Colleagues were generous with their time, whether it was regarding an assignment, general career advice, or simply to introduce ourselves. We strongly urge each prospective candidate to apply to Grant Thornton and promise them the most fantastic experience – either as an intern or starting your career. It is fully achievable as long as you’re open, honest, hardworking to fulfil your objectives, and prove that you can work well within the firm!
Samantha and Gauri