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.
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.
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