Tag Archives: Internship

Where do I see this industry in 30 years’ time?

When wading through my summer internship applications, one key element I sought for before committing to applying came in the form of a simple question…where do I see this industry in 30 years’ time? After all, why would anyone settle into a career that’s inevitably going to reach a dead end in the near future?

Tax definitely raised concerns for myself, as it may do for many of you. Throughout the last two decades, technological advancements have been exponential; with alarm bells ringing in the heads of tax consultants worldwide, based around one sole issue – Automation. However, upon starting my 6 week internship in the Entrepreneurial and Private Client Tax department at Grant Thornton, I almost instantaneously realized that in fact, automation isn’t a concern at all. If anything, it’s just a catalyst for new opportunities. I thought I’d write a quick article as to why my views have changed, and hopefully encourage a lot of cautious individuals out there that a career in Tax at Grant Thornton is one that’s far from short lived…

The Tax landscape is changing. Countries’ global interdependence is continuing to grow by the day, with the reliance on updated tax legislation and advice rapidly accumulating.

Quite clearly, it hasn’t gone un-noticed that computers are much better equipped to handle the computation side of things. So where does that leave the Industry? Broadly speaking, Tax can be split into two branches, tax compliance and tax advisory. Compliance is essentially the process of reporting past transactions, whereas tax advisory involves planning for the future. Both are key to the functioning of the industry, but the latter is one thing computers just can’t handle.

Even upon receiving my Invitation to visit Grant Thornton for an Experience day, I was shocked as to how many different avenues of tax there were. From VAT, to Corporate Tax, to Real Estate Tax, there’s such a diverse array of teams, expressing just how complicated the current system is – and highlighting the need for effective tax advisors. In my opinion, the industry is shifting towards an Advisory dominated background, making it a very exciting time to be delving deeper and getting involved.

Back in 1989, Margret Thatcher introduced a Poll Tax in Scotland, England and Wales. This is a fixed tax on everyone in society. Despite being told the tax could result in people sleeping rough, she proceeded to implement it. Soon after, she lost her job. This is such a critical example as to how a uniformed individual can create political instability and economic depression, all through not receiving accurate tax advice. Grant Thornton does some great work in advising the central government on their tax policies, and through continuing to do so, are keeping the economy afloat.

The tax industry isn’t sinking, it’s evolving. The need for effective tax advisors is more crucial now than ever before, and with Brexit on the horizon, and with huge tax reforms recently in the U.S, who knows what’s to come next.

I’ve loved my short period of time here at Grant Thornton, and I’m glad I didn’t let the naïve perceptions of society stop me from putting myself out there and applying for that internship position. Keep an open mind, and you’ll be surprised of what you can achieve at the firm in such a short space of time. After all, as quoted by the great Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes”.

By Harry Baker  – Summer Intern

Grant Thornton vs Small Accountancy Firm

I am now over halfway through my internship at Grant Thornton and have also previously worked at a small regional accountancy firm. Some of you may have had previous work experience or a part-time job at a smaller accountancy firm and may want to know how this is different to working at Grant Thornton, so I have made this list below of my 5 main differences:

Bigger Clients

Grant Thornton provides services for large, fast growing clients. I have attended meetings and completed work for large international businesses. During your internship, you will get to see first-hand the complex challenges that large businesses face and how there are more potential hazards for international businesses.

Bigger Team

This means you get to work with lots of people from a diverse range of backgrounds and benefit from a vast breadth of experience. Although I found the size of the office and team a bit intimidating at first, everyone is genuinely really friendly and welcoming and always happy to help with anything.

More opportunity to specialise

At Grant Thornton, I joined the Indirect Tax team which is a specialist service that I would never have been able to do at a smaller firm. I am finding this area of tax to be extremely interesting and to be a lot more intrinsic to business transactions than I had first thought. Grant Thornton as a whole offers a wide variety of services so you may be able to learn more about an area you weren’t that familiar with previously!

Lots of new joiners

When I joined Grant Thornton so did over 100 other intern and placement students. This is great as you can meet lots of people in the same position as you and share your experiences. You will get the chance to network with everyone at events such as the National Intern Conference and at various enjoyable social activities.

Bradenham Manor

When you join (if not before) you will probably hear a lot about this, and understandably so. You’ll spend a couple of days over in the beautiful manor in High Wycombe. With insightful workshops, great food and very nice accommodation, your visit to Bradenham Manor will be an enjoyable one and it is definitely another perk of working at Grant Thornton!

Working at a smaller accountancy firm is a great way of gaining an overview of the industry as a whole, but I have experienced more and gained more skills at Grant Thornton. I am having an amazing time here as I believe you all will when you join!

Written by Laura Jackson – Tax Intern

My audit experience

Hi I’m Sam and I’m an audit intern in the Manchester Office. I’m now four weeks into my internship and I am really enjoying it so far. The intern conference at the start of the internship inspired me to get the best out of my experience as we had many great presentations from partners and most notably the CEO Sacha Romanovitch who was very impressive talking about the vibrant economy and Grant Thornton’s culture.

In this blog I wanted to give an idea of what it’s like being out at a client site on audit. Having also spent some time in the office which is a relaxed environment that is easy to work in, for me what has been great is being out at client sites as well. It has been a great experience working as part of a team. Work is very enjoyable when everyone is sat around a table working on the same project and it’s good to be able to hear what parts of the audit people are working on so you can build up a picture of the audit as a whole. Being on a couple of audits for a full week each has meant I have had the opportunity to understand how a business can be made up of many different holding companies within the group and how a company develops a product, sells it, and delivers on the sale for example. This has been really fascinating and a great learning experience for me as I study history at university and had little knowledge of business before I started.

The chance to be able to speak to the client is also a great opportunity to understand the business and has really improved my personal confidence from being able to negotiate an unfamiliar situation. Each team that I have been on has had a different atmosphere and I’ve learned the importance of adapting your personality and the way you communicate to suit the team that you are in. In a large lively team you might have to be more extroverted and contribute more to fit into the team whereas in a team with some quite naturally quiet people you might need to be slightly quieter yourself and encourage others to engage in conversation. Working in teams has made me realise how you need to adapt to suit the situation and most of all I’ve found it’s enjoyable to work with lots of different people and get to know them on a personal level.

Adapting your personal style was something we talked about during a couple of days at Bradenham during our presentation workshop which was also eye opening as we learnt that when speaking it’s your body language and tonality that matter the most with the actual words that come out of your mouth being of very little importance. This surprised me and the internship is helping me develop my personal skills a lot which is not something I necessarily expected at the start. So I would say the thing that I have enjoyed the most and I have learnt the most doing on my internship is working in teams at a client because you really learn to communicate well with colleagues and are immersed in the client’s business meaning that you learn very rapidly.

By Sam W Cressey – Audit Intern

Creating, Recognising and Taking Every Opportunity

Interns from around the UK collaborated in the Finsbury Square office, London, to listen to a plethora of successful advocates of the internship/placement scheme. Partners and Associates shared their experiences and advice to ensure we achieve our personal successes in the following 5 weeks. Personally, the highlight was listening to Sacha Romanovitch (CEO) speak passionately about the importance of recognising employees as individuals, company changes, and the relevance of GT’s purpose of achieving a vibrant economy. Sacha’s motivation and personable nature left me inspired, grateful, and eager to embrace all upcoming opportunities.

Key Advice:

> Sacha emphasised that to be the best you can be you must always relate your task back to the bigger picture – achieving a vibrant economy.

> Malcom Gomersall (Partner) – always ask why to ensure full understanding and do more than you’re asked to demonstrate enthusiasm and excellence.

> “Look up, look forward, look out” – Sacha highlighted the importance of grasping every opportunity and constantly looking to grow, for optimum success within the firm.

Throughout the internship I aimed to keep these 3 crucial pieces of advice in the forefront of my mind; leading to the creation of this blog post to encourage future interns to do the same and show what opportunities can arise by doing so!

Creating Opportunities

Put yourself in the best position to take advantage of opportunities – here I refer back to point 1 and 2 of the key advice: “relate your task back to the bigger picture” and “always ask why”. Taking on board these qualities makes you more engaged, allows you to fully understand the tasks requirements and the reasons behind its completion and ultimately be more confident and produce a higher quality of work. This will lead to more responsibility as people recognise your ability and enthusiasm and puts you in the best position for exposure to opportunities.  

— TIP: Take genuine interest in people and their roles, and ask inquisitive questions! —

Another obvious but often overlooked quality is taking a GENUINE INTEREST in people’s careers and ASKING INQUISITIVE QUESTIONS. This can lead to secondments in different service lines, for example, that allow you to gain a wider business awareness and a better idea of the opportunities that lie in your future with GT. Despite being an audit intern, I was fortunate enough to gain some experience working with the Growth 365 team. G365 is a tailored service for ambitious CEOs and leaders of mid-sized businesses, providing focused advice and putting plans into action for their growth vision. The aim of my project was to build a picture of the South West in terms of the business landscape – what companies are here, their size, their sector in order to effectively tailor marketing and business development to specific sectors and businesses. It was a great experience, however involved a high level of excel expertise… which was not my forte!!

— TIP: Take initiative! —

Which leads onto my next point, TAKE INITIATIVE!  There may be times in the 6 weeks where your work load is low (people may be waiting for information to be attained before they can set your task), think about your weaknesses and use this time to increase your job efficiency or expertise. For me, excel was a weakness as I have never been required to utilise this platform at university or in part-time employment. It is highly relied upon in this line of work so SCRUB UP ON YOUR EXCEL SKILLS PRIOR TO EMPLOYMENT! In this respect, opportunities can be used as a word to resemble the learning and development that can take place if you put in the effort and fully utilise the resources available (i.e. pdfs, excel demonstrations and the business school (on the intranet, if current interns are unaware!)).

Recognising and Grasping Opportunities

I’d like to say this medal commemorates the momentous occasion of securing this highly sought after placement, however it’s a medal for something much more significant – my debut as 5-aside football team captain! I was asked if I would be willing to play in a 5-aside football tournament for a networking event set up by the corporate finance team one lunch time, an opportunity I could not let pass! A variety of different businesses such as NatWest, HSBC, Womble Bond Dickinson, Burges Salmon and many more attended – a great day in the sunshine and a great experience to represent GT. I was not, however, told prior to the event that I would be captain! I was introduced to my team – 5 men, all very successful in the corporal world, with me, a 2nd year university student interning at GT as their captain, with absolutely no idea how to play 5-aside football! Nevertheless, we were victorious!! Returning home with a shiny medallion to honour the experience! Not only did this opportunity introduce me to the corporate finance team and allow me to network with other established business professionals, it also gave me the chance to inquire about spending my final week of the internship with the CF team to ensure I return to university fully aware of the opportunities that can lie in my future.

I suppose what I am trying to signify is: don’t let a moment pass. Don’t doubt yourself, your ability to play 5-aside football or your ability to network with professionals – let nothing be your excuse. With no excuses comes more opportunities and development.

Grant Thornton wants you to develop and create your own path – take full advantage of this!!

By Hannah Sabine – Audit Intern

Intern to Partner: What could your career at Grant Thornton look like?

As an intern going into his final year at university I have recently been doing a lot of research into various graduate jobs, and often find myself left with the same question, “what would a career at ‘X’ look like?” Therefore, I have decided to ask around the office, and compile a rough guide of what a career at Grant Thornton could look like. As part of the Entrepreneurial & Private client tax team it is important to note that this account may reflect that of the more advisory roles within the firm.

Summer internship (6 weeks)

Aimed at students in their penultimate year at university, this is the first step in your long, and hopefully successful career here at Grant Thornton. If successful this role can lead to a place on the graduate scheme. As a current intern myself, these 6 weeks are all about learning, trying everything and anything.

The first week consists of a mixture of inductions that help to integrate you into the company’s ethos, and network with the other interns. For the rest of your time here you are acting effectively as an associate, and therefore get a great deal of exposure to all the different types of work your team will do. A particular highlight for myself was accompanying two of my managers to a lunch meeting with some private bankers in Mayfair!

Associate (2-3 years)

You join the graduate scheme as an associate; these first 2-3 years are often the hardest in any job. The adjustment to working life, undertaking exams (usually ACA, but can vary depending on your service line), and learning from the bottom up. Most associate’s view this as a sort of rite of passage, learning the fundamental skills that will allow them to advance further down the line. This common struggle helps to unite the associates, and leads to a real sense of comradery.

Secondments to different service lines are available allowing you to explore what suits you and your skills suit best. A common theme expressed amongst those I have spoken to is that Grant Thornton is incredibly flexible and accommodating to its associates, many of whom are still trying to find what best suits them.

Executive

No longer the most junior members of the team, and now a qualified chartered accountant/ tax professional. This is the next step, and a common theme amongst the executives I interviewed was a sense of satisfaction at being able to implement their new skills and knowledge on a daily basis. By this stage hopefully you would have found the right service line for you, and can start consolidating your expertise in your chosen field. In my team at least, it is not uncommon to start specialising in a particular type of client or work within the service line itself.

Manager – Senior Manager – Director

At this point the focus switches to building up client relations, not to say you will not have had client contact before, but now you are at the focal point of this interaction. I have grouped these roles together as essentially the skills and responsibilities required just amplify as you progress. This is where your ‘soft skills’ and leadership ability really come into play, as a manager you will often be responsible for the new associates, helping to guide them through the start of their career. As you move through management your responsibility for those more junior increases. As I am working in a predominately advisory team, it seems to me that seniority correlates with client lunches, and therefore is definitely a goal to strive for.

Partner

This for many is the end goal of a career in financial services company, a job that requires high levels of client interaction, responsibility, and unparalleled expertise. Usually when becoming an equity partner you must “buy into the business”, and therefore share in the profits. Partners are definitely revered throughout the firm, and rightly so, for many it is the end of 15 year+ journey, but for me what was surprising was how accommodating and approachable they were. This is in part due to the shared enterprise mentality adopted by Grant Thornton which in my experience emphasises collaboration and communication from top to bottom of the business.

 

By James Tomalin – Tax intern

Expectations vs. Reality: Commercial Audit

A little bit of background about myself: I have just finished my second year of an Accounting and Finance degree at the University of Leeds. My hobbies include: playing cricket, reading and being sad that it is not coming home this year! I am currently on the Commercial audit internship in the Birmingham office.

I don’t know about all the backgrounds of the other interns but outside of work shadowing, I had never had a proper office job where I was given real work. I was expecting a decent amount of pressure, calling clients a lot and lots of simple number crunching. However, the reality I found was more engaging. While I have done some adding up to check the numbers, it has been interesting to see a real set of accounts (I am an accounting and finance student). I thought this type of work would be fairly demoralising but it is easy to see how it all fits into a full audit and so it is interesting work. It also helps that the people who I have worked with have been really nice and explained things well so I feel like I am involved.

Being an intern you might have expected that someone would be checking on you and making sure that you are on track. However, in reality when I had work, I was given some independence and freedom to do my work, this has been fantastic because I don’t feel over pressurised and that is what I wanted coming into this internship. Despite being an accounting and finance student, it is nice that the managers do not assume that you are knowledgeable. This means that they explain processes in simple terms and make it easy to understand the work that you are being asked to do. Another expectation that I had would be that managers would give you some work and you would be expected to do it without a hitch. In reality everyone is understanding and willing to answer any questions that you might have.

My expectations for being on-site were of the auditors being put in a tiny, hot room with piles of work to do. In reality the last week that I have been on-site the work has been interesting and manageable. There does seem to be a lot of work that needs doing as I expected, but they have treated us quite well and it has been a good experience. With the amount of work that everyone has been doing, I have been pleasantly surprised at how nice the other auditors have been in both giving me work and explaining it so that I can understand. I have also asked them multiple questions about some pieces of work they had just explained to me and they were very patient and helpful. Having been kept busy, I also feel like I have been contributing to the overall audit.

Overall, I went in with expectations of the work and day to day activities being tough and high pressured, but the reality I have found is that the people who work here at GT have been inclusive and really embody the values of GT.

 

By George Grandage – Audit Intern

Perfecting my presentation – Bradenham

Hi everyone! This blog is going to be about my time at Bradenham, and will hopefully be useful for future interns when they first start at the firm!

So the main focus of Bradenham is to improve your presentation skills, setting you up well for the final presentation at the end of the internship. After arriving at the manor house and having some lunch, we jumped straight into some workshops. To begin with, we were tasked with creating an elevator pitch. This exercise really helped identify the key facts and strengths that you would want to tell someone if you had limited time, such as at a networking event or conference. Shortly following this, we had 30 seconds to deliver our pitches in front of our groups, with very little preparation time. Because of this, it gave some practice on off the top presenting, and allowed areas of strength and weakness to be identified.

Following a coffee and cake break, we next looked at presentation structures. A TED Talks video (https://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_duarte_the_secret_structure_of_great_talks) helped highlight a shared structure that all great speeches have shared, ranging from Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream speech’, to Steve Job’s iPhone release talk. Building upon the structure, many great speeches were shown to use humour to add effect, alongside asking the audience questions and interacting with them. Repetition of important themes and take home points throughout the talks can help emphasise key ideas, and speakers can connect with their audiences by making the talks personal. This session provided so many tips and pointers that you can use to help create your final presentation, or for presentations at university. We also started to look at the CROSSOFF methods that can be applied to presentations as well.

In the evening we had lots of free time after dinner to relax. On site there’s a pub that we all went to, where we watched the Argentina v Nigeria World Cup game, followed by Love Island. Next morning after breakfast, we started more workshops. In groups, we were tasked with presenting on different aspects of work that Grant Thornton are working on, such as how the firm is working to restore Trust and Integrity back into markets. This task was a challenge as we were only given 40 minutes to create a 10 minute presentation to deliver as a group. It really helped develop team working skills, especially given the time pressure. Additionally, it gave us a first chance to use some of the newly learnt presentation tips.

Finally, the last task was for everyone to create their own presentation on a chosen subject. This had to be 5 minutes long, and like before, we were given a limited amount of time to prepare it. This final presentation helped bring together everything we learnt during our time at Bradenham, from body language and presentation structure, to tonality and dealing with time pressure. Overall, my time at Bradenham was amazing, and it’s definitely something that you will be looking forward to when you start as an intern!

By Lucas Price – Audit Intern

A Surprisingly Relaxed Start

After having secured a 12-month placement at Grant Thornton in mid-February I didn’t give it another thought, choosing instead to focus on more pressing issues such as my looming second year university exams. Only the night before my first day of work did panic well and truly set in. At around 9:30pm on the Sunday before my first day did I finally realise that I didn’t really know what audit was despite having done two years of an Accounting and Finance degree. Fast-forward four weeks and not much has changed apart from the fact that I am no longer worried that I don’t know what a full audit entails. I know all I need to do is ask. The start to my placement has been much more relaxed than I initially expected which has been a very pleasant surprise.

After sitting through a long first day of orientation, with countless people talking at us for seven hours and collecting about a hundred different handouts detailing all parts of GT’s various policies on ethics and more, I was daunted by the sheer overload of information. And I still wasn’t any closer to knowing what audit was. I wondered whether I was cut out for the long work days having done pretty much nothing useful for my first two years at university.

But after the National Conference everything started to look up. It was great to get out of the office and meet my fellow placement students and interns in a more casual setting and it was exciting to stay over in London in a nice hotel. We got to hear some rags-to-riches stories from some of the partners and a feminist icon as well as a social in the evening. It was a great chance to bond with other new starters from my area while not being stuck inside all day listening to someone give a speech. I got to know the other starters well which was a huge relief and made everything much easier knowing that you were all going through the same things together.

The rest of my first week flew by. We were given a bit of basic audit training and got to meet the rest of the office who were all very welcoming. I was then dropped on-site for my first week of actual work with a client and I was blessed with having a very understanding team who explained anything and everything I needed with no hesitation and gave me actual responsibility on the project which really helped to keep my motivated. Having now been at GT a little longer I can say for certain that this is the culture that GT aim to maintain across the whole firm and it really shows in that everyone, no matter how senior they are, is willing to help you.

It is still early into my placement and I’m still settling into GT but I was pleasantly surprised as to show relaxed my first month has been. There is a lot of work to do but you are never given ridiculous deadlines by your manager and they are more than willing to help you if you have a question. I had also heard old-school horror stories about interns having to just make coffee and do photocopying all day but I can now say that this is definitely not the case at GT, if anywhere. I was also shocked at how quickly the student body can adapt to working 37.5 hours per week. I had a few headaches after my first few days of proper work but after one week I was totally used to the new routine and love the fact that I don’t really have to do any work when I get home, unlike at university.

One of the main things that has helped me to cope with this huge change of routine is having other starters that I can talk to or ask for help, this is a clear benefit of working for a big company like GT. Overall, so far my start into corporate life with Grant Thornton has been challenging but enjoyable and I am excited to see how else I can develop my knowledge of audit and get involved in more office socials.

By Om Menon – Audit Placement

Eight questions you may have as a prospective intern

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

My Bradenham Experience

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