Interning with a professional services firm from a non-business background

By Adam Trundle, Corporate Finance & Tax Rotation Intern, Deloitte

When I applied for the summer internship in Deloitte, I wasn’t really sure if it was going to be for me. I am studying Maths and Music in Maynooth University, so my background in business is pretty much zero!

To be honest I only applied at all because Deloitte were placed so highly in the gradireland rankings. Nothing to lose by giving it a go! When I came in for my interview, it was soon obvious that Deloitte wasn’t just some big, boring ‘accounting’ firm. Everyone was kind and welcoming, no matter where they worked. I was lucky enough to be offered a 12 week internship, split between Tax and Corporate Finance. I accepted my place, but I still wasn’t really sure if Deloitte was right for me.

Adam Trundle during his internship with Deloitte

Adam Trundle during his internship with Deloitte

When I arrived on the first day, any worries I had about not fitting in were quickly dispelled. Our first week was spent getting to know all of the other interns and we were given lots of really helpful general training. When we went out to our respective departments, the encouraging atmosphere continued. I soon learned that no one expected us to know everything about tax already, thankfully! What was more important was being willing to learn and having a ‘can-do’ attitude. Everyone that I met was willing to take time out of their day to explain things to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know something coming in because I was there to learn, with some of the best teachers in the business.

After a great six weeks in Corporate Tax, it was time for me to move to Restructuring Services in Corporate Finance. This was a daunting prospect, because while I had some idea of what tax is, restructuring and insolvency were entirely alien concepts to me! When I arrived first, I was given a general overview of what the team I was joining did day-to-day. Every question I had was answered in detail, until I felt confident about my individual role. I am writing this blog at the end of my third week in corporate finance and I can safely say that I have learned more about restructuring in these few weeks than I did up to this point.

I’m really glad that I applied for a summer internship here in Deloitte, even though my degree didn’t originally seem relevant. I would recommend that anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do after college does the same. The learning and development team, the online resources and the people-focussed culture mean that anyone can achieve their full potential. That includes the likes of me, studying for a non-business degree.

Find out more from gradireland about what’s involved in areas like audit, tax and accountancy with our unique series of #FYI videos. Perfect for kicking off your career thinking while you’re still in college!

 

 


Graduate Permit Scheme extended: working visas for international Masters and PhD students now valid for 2 years post-graduation.

International student flags for studying and working in Ireland

The permit extension is of huge benefit to both students and employers (Image: http://www.pathwaytoaus.com)

A welcome recent development for both international students and graduate employers is the news that the Irish Government has agreed to extend the Third Level Graduate Permit Scheme, for non-EU/EEA students at level 9 and above.

The new permission will double the ‘stay back option’ for Masters and PhD students from 12 months to 24 months. This will allow eligible graduates who have studied in Irish higher education institutions, and whose award is granted by a recognised Irish awarding body at Masters or PhD level, to remain in Ireland for two years to seek employment.

The Graduate Permit Scheme allows these non-EU graduates to stay in Ireland for 2 years after their degree and legally work for 40 hours per week.

For some employment sectors the restriction of the working period post-graduation to one year has been a disincentive to hiring international students. The extension of this eligibility for work for highly qualified students from 12 to 24 months, whilst on the Graduate Permit Scheme, is to be welcomed both in the context of the skills gap and the employability journey for postgraduate students emerging from Irish HEIs.

For more on working in Ireland for international students (from outside the EU) from gradireland, watch our videos here


Find out why studying in Europe could be for you at the gradireland Further Study Fair

Lund University Sweden

Lund University Sweden, one of Europe’s oldest universities and one of the world’s top 100.  (Photo from www.studyinsweden.se)

Every year, a wide variety of reasons attract students to make the choice to study overseas. The accessibility and relatively low cost of travel, particularly within Europe, has made the logistics of studying away from home a lot simpler. When you couple this with what many European universities have to offer; affordable fees, reasonable entry requirements and prestigious courses taught in English, it’s little wonder that an increasing amount of students are finding it an attractive option, particularly for postgraduate study. 

The increasing attraction of universities on mainland Europe, particularly Germany, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands, has gathered pace with the continuing uncertainty over the Brexit scenario.

In addition to affordability, and the attraction of a new and diverse culture, eligible students studying within the EU can avail of their Irish state awarded grant and are also allowed work part time. According to a recent article in the Irish Times, about 1,500 third-level Irish students in receipt of state funded grants are studying in colleges abroad.

Guy Flouch, head of the European University Central Application Support Service (EUNICAS), will be speaking at this year’s gradireland Further Study Fair on February 15th at the RDS. In the Irish Times  he said that Irish students were broadening their options when it came to pursuing study overseas, and were no longer primarily focused on UK institutions, a trend which has increased in the wake of the Brexit vote.

According to the article, almost 900 degree programmes across all disciplines are taught through English in Europe, many of them at far cheaper fees than would be applicable in Ireland. For example, no fees apply in Germany, Scandinavia, Sweden and Finland. In Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, fees are usually less than €1,000 per year.  In the Netherlands, fees of €1,984 apply, but students can get a loan to cover this. Repayable over a term of 35 years. Which seems more than reasonable! More than 40% of the EUNICAS programmes on offer are done through Dutch institutions.

Within many European countries, points are not a barrier to college entry. The requirements are lower and there is a strong cultural focus on third-level education being available to all, however many of the universities are very high-ranking institutions and while they may be accessible-they also demand high standards from their students. “These are some of the best universities in Europe. There is no repeating of years. You’re expected to get 45 out of 60 credits, take part in problem based learning and show up for all your lectures and tutorials,” Guy Flouch added.

While there are obviously challenges in settling in and studying abroad, the evidence seems to suggest that Irish students flourish in a variety of ways while abroad, according to Mr Flouch. “The levels of self-confidence and self-esteem and independence they get is a skill set which employers really see. They are self-sufficient and living abroad-meeting challenges and succeeding. It impacts positively for the rest of their lives,” he said.

See what’s involved with studying abroad and find out everything you need to know about EUNICAS at the gradireland Further Study Fair on February 15th at the RDS Industries Hall. Click here to register for free entry.

 


‘It’s all about the team.’ Hear from a leader both on and off the field.

Working in audit with Deloitte, and captaining the Cork Ladies Football Team, Ciara O’Sullivan talks about balancing your work with your passion.

6 September 2014; Ciara O'Sullivan, Cork. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Armagh v Cork. Pearse Park, Longford. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

6 September 2014; Ciara O’Sullivan, Cork. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Armagh v Cork. Pearse Park, Longford. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

 

When did you start playing football and how did you end up on the Cork team?

I started playing football with my club Mourneabbey when I was under 8 and when I was 11 I went for Cork under 14 trials. I was lucky enough to make that U14 panel and have been playing with various Cork teams since then. I have been a member of the Cork senior team for the last 9 years and this is my second year as captain of the team.

How does your intensive training schedule for Cork compare to your training to become a Chartered Accountant?

I must admit I enjoy training with Cork a little bit more than I enjoyed studying for the exams! I think both take discipline and organisation and I actually think they complement each other. During study leave for my CAP 2s and FAEs I really looked forward to going training after studying for the day and although sometimes I was tired before training, I always felt better after it. It’s great to give you a focus other than the exams and work. It’s also always something to talk to clients about when you’re on site as a lot of clients in Ireland have some interest in GAA!

Does your work as captain on the field help your work in Deloitte off the field?

It’s not something I’ve ever actually thought about but I suppose it does. I’ve been very lucky to be part of this Cork team who have so many leaders, so in some ways being captain is just a title. I’m just the one who goes up for the toss or gets to collect the cup if we win. Everyone helps each other and it’s all about the team. It’s the same in Deloitte, particularly as I work in audit where in general there are a number of people on the audit team. Again everyone helps each other and it makes the job much more enjoyable and efficient. I’ve made great friends on both the Cork team and in work and having these friends who are in the same boat as you helps a lot.

What has been the best moment of your career as the captain of the Cork Ladies football team?

It would have to be winning the 2015 All-Ireland final. It was against Dublin again and like in previous years we just about won. The closer the game is the more you appreciate the win when it’s over. Lifting the cup was unreal… the speech that followed definitely wasn’t unreal!

What’s your advice for other trainees who juggle the heavy commitment of both their career and passion?

I would say that it’s totally achievable to do both, if you want to do it enough. Obviously I know I’m lucky that work accommodate me where they can so that I never miss training. I think that once you are organised and like doing something enough you will make it happen.

For more advice on getting started in your career and balancing your life, read gradireland’s advice section. 

 


Guest blog: What design can help your graduate recruitment display stand out from the crowd?

Cathy O’Donohoe of Pluto, official partners of gradireland, has compiled some tips on why your need to make you display truly stand out and represent something that can align with the values of the graduates you are seeking to attract. 

scandinvian-touch

 

Every exhibitor recruiting at a graduate recruitment fair has a ‘cut-through’ challenge. How does your corporate brand resonate in a room full of graduates, with dozens of other brands competing for the exact same talent? Exhibitors need to excite to attract. Large corporations need to examine what attracts a graduate to an exhibiting employer, when so many other doors are potentially open to explore in the very same room. Given the number of years that an employee can invest with an employer, graduates need to feel that a potential employer has brand values that align to their own. Those values need to be aspirational, current and relevant. At the very least, the basic design of the stand needs to be current and ‘on –trend’, given the multitude of brands that graduates and students are exposed to through various mediums and platforms on a daily basis. Time and time again, corporate employers invest in taking space at graduate recruitment fairs but don’t invest in updating their stand – often taking out something that was used previously and merely dusting it down. If the stand isn’t exciting, the perception will be that the opportunity for employment with that company isn’t very exciting either. Graduates should leave your stand incredibly excited about the opportunities that the journey ahead may bring them, should they choose to invest their future with you. To invest in a space, without investing in the stand design, can be potentially lethal for an employer brand.

The strong trend for design in 2017 will be led by the following key influences: Scandinavian touch, steel and wood, theatrical elements, geometric imagery and mesh and Lighting. So what do these mean?

  1. Scandinavian touch: Continues to influence design. This trend includes light pastel hues, strong  colour accents, clean and light wood, mix & match furnishings and a general sense of playfulness.
  2. Steel and wood: A box section & feature wood cladding dominates this trend.
  3. Theatrical fun: Creates a tangible zone for customer interaction, such as installing a single feature piece.
  4. Geometric: Creates immediate modernity with seamless patterns creating depth.
  5. Mesh and lights: Stands out with opaque lighting features, abundance of mesh types and the use of mesh partitions.

For more information about what Pluto do, click here.


What makes a good personal statement?

Oxford University

Oxford University

The Personal Statement is a vital part of the application process if you’re interested in studying in a UK University. Students should not underestimate the importance of getting it right before the earlier closing date of the 15th of January 2017. Careers advisor and expert Roisin Traynor has some timely advice. 

As University applications open, many students will be looking ahead or may have even already decided on their CAO choices prior the closing date of the 1st of February 2017. But those hoping to study in the UK will also be looking at the UCAS application system. One of the main differences with UCAS is the requirement for a personal statement (PS) as part of the application.

I am currently working in a registered Cambridge international school in China. The majority of students are applying to UK universities through UCAS. I’ve looked at around 140 Grade 12 personal statements and have seen some really good and some really bad!

So what makes a good personal statement?

From my experience, someone who shows genuine interest, has some work experience and can discuss and show proof of research such as a reading outside of school makes for a strong PS. A good structure to your PS is important and of course it needs to be well written. This can really help when trying to convince the reader you’re right for the course, which is the ultimate goal.

Let’s break it down into different sections.

The beginning

Your PS needs to have a strong introduction. Ask yourself: Why do you want to study the course? What interests you about the subject area? What aspirations do you have? Your introduction is an important part. You need to grab the reader’s attention, be clear about what you’re interested in studying and why. That’s the number one rule. Try not to start with “Ever since I was 8 years old I wanted to be a doctor,” or a weak quote. This strategy is overused. It might be difficult to give your background in the subject without mentioning your age. If you feel you need to, just don’t be clichéd about it.

The middle

Here is where you show proof of your knowledge, skills, academic ability and experience; i.e the evidence! Divide it into two parts, academic and work experience/volunteer work.

In the academic section

Discuss academic achievements/subjects studied. Ask yourself: What academic skills and knowledge do you have that will prepare you to succeed in your chosen subject? What subjects are you doing now? Any skills transferable to what you want to study? Any particular school projects that come to mind? Any achievements/ awards? And of course, make sure you show proof of readings. This should be the longest section of your PS. Depending on where you are applying for it can vary. 60% to 80% of your PS should be academic. Within this section, while it is okay to show off in-depth knowledge but avoid extended, in-depth discussions of an idea. Keep it brief enough and more of a prompt to start a discussion, perhaps at an interview.

Work experience/employment/volunteering

Write about any skills that you have gained from work experience, employment and/or volunteering opportunities and how these experiences prepare you for university study. If you don’t have anything that relates to the subject you are applying for and you have time… go get some! It’s impressive when a student is applying for accounting and interned at an accounting firm for a few weeks. Remember students with work experience in the related area are who you’re up against. Not only does it help you with the competition, the fact that you have gained real life experience in the area and are still interested in the subject is going to show the reader that you really are interested in this subject. Which, remember is the overall goal. If your work experience or volunteer work does not relate to the particular course you are applying for, make the skills as transferable to the course as much as possible.

Mention any other achievements, extra-curricular activities or hobbies that demonstrate you have the relevant skills for the course you are applying to. This can say a lot about you even though you might not think so – it shows the reader something about you and could even make you stand out. What do you have to offer the university outside of the classroom? For internationals, including Irish students if you’re applying to the UK, they like to see why you want to study in the UK and if you actually have a good reason.  The final paragraph should convince the reader again you are suitable for the course. Finish with a brief summary. Like the introduction, this is extremely important. This is your last chance. Why should you be offered a place?

 What to avoid:

  • Don’t be negative! There’s simply no time. Avoid saying things like ‘I’m not good at this, I really struggle with that etc.’ How will this convince the reader of your suitability? Exactly, it won’t.
  • Story telling: The personal statement is not intended to be an event-by-event summary of your life. Rather, focus only on those aspects of your experience that are directly relevant to the position you’re seeking.
  • Overly complex language – Keep it simple and easy to read.
  • Focusing on other people.
  • Clichés.
  • Avoid discussions of money – Many students focus on their goal of making money for the reason why they chose the course. This is not a strong reason, it doesn’t show your interest in the topic directly.
  • Spelling or grammatical errors –and remove the slang!
  • Humour (the readers sense of humour might not be the same as yours).

Tips: 

  • Start your PS early.
  • Get it proof read – a few times.
  • Remember you’re applying for a university course – not a job. It’s useful to mention aspirations and goals if you have them but just remember it’s the course you are applying for, not a job.
  • I also suggest using Grammarly.com – this online app is free and will help with essay structure, spelling and grammar.
  • Be careful of your word count!
  • Look at examples – Cambridge has a database of examples based on subject:  However DO NOT COPY!

At the end of the day the most important thing to stress is your interest in the subject, your knowledge and what makes you suitable. Make this as clear as possible. For more information simply follow the UCAS structure, it’s easily explained and sums up what a personal statement needs to be.

Roisin Traynor is a Guidance Counsellor, teacher and a careers writer and blogger. She is currently teaching at an international school in China, having previously worked in the Middle East and Ireland. Follow her on Twitter @Roisin_Traynor . For further advice on postgraduate applications and advice, visit gradireland’s dedicated further study section.

 

 


Teaching abroad: Broaden your horizons and use travel to inspire your career

Caimin Browne writes about the benefits of thinking outside the box when it comes to your teaching career, and why teaching overseas on a Meddeas teaching programme can be such a rewarding and enriching experience.

meddeas-1

Why did you take the step of coming to Spain with Meddeas?

I was finishing my degree (Saint Patrick’s College-DCU) in Ireland and I had limited options here. I wanted to do teaching in Ireland, but I couldn’t get onto the the course I wanted to do. A friend reminded me of an email I received to teach English in Spain, related to TEFL. Although I didn’t speak Spanish I thought it would be worth applying for. I’m very glad I did.

If you had to choose one specific memory of your Spanish experience, which one would it be and why?

THE HEAT. I have never experienced such heat and it being considered normal. I was wearing shorts up to December and playing a rugby match on the first weekend of March, and it was 25, 26 degrees Celsius. Coming from Ireland, where the weather is always in the public domain, I couldn’t believe how normal temperatures in the mid-20’s were in October, and people wearing jumpers and jackets. Madness!

What relationships and/or friendships do you keep from your stay in Spain?

I still stay in touch with staff from the school and the rugby team I played with, on an ongoing basis by Facebook or WhatsApp.

In what sense has your worldview changed after your experience teaching in Spain?

The role I have to play in life. I left Ireland to teach English in Spain. I was no longer a student, I was seen as a grown up, an adult with responsibility, whose main objective was to teach as a language assistant in a school and instruct, kids are going to use what you teach them to broaden their own horizons and develop their own lives. Spain for me was the first time that I was doing something I always wanted to do.

meddeas-2

Did you improve your level of Spanish? Has this skill helped you in your professional career? Do you use Spanish in your everyday life now?

It most certainly has. Before I left to teach English in Spain, I had a very basic level of Spanish, but I looked on this as an opportunity, where any progress was a bonus. The Spanish in Andalucia is distinctly different to Spanish spoken elsewhere in the country, so in some ways not having a firm footing in the language and being able to learn from scratch was a bonus. At the moment, I’m studying to be an Irish and French Language teacher, but also having Spanish is a huge bonus both professionally and personally.

How has this experience improved your CV and professional life?

It’s made a huge difference. I learned a new language, gained exposure to a new culture and got invaluable teaching experience. Furthermore, having work experience abroad has shown that I am able to adapt to work outside of Ireland. I am currently studying a Masters to be a school teacher here in Ireland and am hoping to work teaching French and Irish at second level.

What advice would you give to someone joining Meddeas in order to make the most of this experience?

I would advise anyone to do this. Spain offers so much; beautiful food, compassionate and kind people, fantastic weather and so much culture and travel. The year I completed will go down as one of the best of my life and there is not much I would have changed about it. It’s great to get exposed to a totally different way of life and culture. I would say to anyone, don’t just dream about travel, live it and use it to enhance and inspire your career and other life choices.