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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
Having started my audit placement at Grant Thornton three weeks ago I understand how daunting it can be beginning a new job at such a respected firm. Whilst excitement prevails, there was definitely a part of me that was scared I wouldn’t be able to perform my job in line with the standards of this successful family. My personal experience in accounting prior to this job was extremely limited and so knowing I was starting work with my first client in my second week was a pretty scary prospect. However, looking back now, I wish I never worried.
Everyone in the firm I had spoken to had always said that us placement and intern students were very much thrown in the deep end. Whilst this was exciting as we knew we were given responsibility from the start, it was also unnerving to think we were expected to go from knowing nothing to everything in such a short time frame. This is where I was wrong.
You aren’t expected to know everything at the end of your first day. You’re expected to have a resilient attitude and a passion to learn. Yes, you are immediately doing the work you probably will perform at a plethora of businesses throughout your time here, but you aren’t ‘thrown’, you’re ‘introduced’, as how else are you to learn?
In my first official week of work I was guided through every step of the way, but never spoon fed. It was up to me to take initiative, explore areas of this work and learn through both the assistance of my teammates as well as my own personal curiosity. Therefore, even though you do find yourself in the deep end, it’s a dive not a fall; an exploration not an accidental disaster.
The truth is, everyone you’ll be working with has been in your position before. They’ve had a first day, they’ve had a first client and they’ve learnt along their journey to be where they are today, so why would you be any different? This common ground instils an empathy across the entire firm that not only make colleagues patient with questions, but also provokes a desire to be a helping hand in the learning process.
Something I was told so many times in my introductory week was that ‘no questions is a stupid one’ and that is meant so sincerely. No matter what your query is, just ask – likelihood is it’s been asked a hundred times before and everyone else has been worried over its validity as well. You always have a team and you are always a part of the wider GT family, so have both confidence in your part of that family and trust in the family you are part of.
So, enjoy your first few weeks and indulge in the unknown. It’s such an exciting time, and an introduction I’m sure you won’t forget. The deep end can be a scary place, but if you always paddle on the surface you’ll never know what’s down there.
By Sky Hormbrey – Audit Placement