Beatrice is a graduate software engineer at KPMG. She studied mechanical engineering at the University of Bristol.
1.Tell us about your route in KPMG
Honestly, when I was first looking at grad job, KPMG wasn’t a company I ever really thought to apply to because I thought it would be super uptight and corporate. When I finished uni, I wanted to take some time out to relax and plan my next steps and thought it would be a good time to learn some new skills. I did an introduction to coding course through an organisation called Code First Girls which is an organisation that helps to promote diversity within tech. The sessions that I went to happened to be taken by KPMG employees who were really lovely and supportive and took us through the basics of coding. I ended up really enjoying the course and was asked If I had thought about pursuing it as a career. She told me that KPMG recruit software engineers and despite my very limited experience, told me to apply to the grad scheme. So, I did. The interview process from there was pretty standard, psychometric tests etc with some additional ones to test your aptitude for coding and logic.
2. Why did you choose KPMG out over 3 of the big 4?
As cliché as it sounds, I picked KPMG over the rest of the big 4 because of the people. Whenever I had an interview or had some sort of email correspondence the people I talked to were not just friendly but I felt like they were really genuinely nice people. I didn’t get the feeling that they were trying to sell the company to me and were upfront about the good and the bad. Unlike some of the other interviews with the other big 4’s, we spent a lot of time talking to Grads that were already at the company and it was all very laid back. I preferred this over the more serious vibe of the others. Also, ultimately, I did also apply for different schemes at the other of the big 4 and the breadth of opportunity that was offered at KPMG, to develop technical skills alongside consultancy skills was good for me as someone who wasn’t 100% sure that was the industry I wanted to go into. I will say that now, after being here for a few months, the reasons I chose KPMG over the rest, are the reasons why I am enjoying my time here so much more than I ever thought I would. The people I work with are such lovely supportive people and I am pushed to try a range of different things. It’s really nice to be part of a company where the values actually mean something and I feel like the people they recruit are in line with them.
3. How do you think you made yourself stand out from the crowd?
Up until the assessment centre it’s a pretty standard recruitment process. Besides saying the right things on application form/ video interview and doing well on the test there’s not a lot of things I did personally to stand out. Throughout the assessment centre I was put at ease by the facilitators so it I was able to be more like myself, have a few jokes and actually have good conversations with the people there which I think helped. Ultimately, they want to see if you’re someone they’d actually want to work with. The interview itself was pretty hard for me because of my lack of experience in the role. I think because I had done that course at KPMG before and I spoke about how much I was able to learn in such a short space of time with the help of the employees, it really helped my case. If I’m being honest after the first question I was 100% certain I hadn’t got the job, so I just took it as an opportunity to talk to the interviewer about other stuff. We got on and had some things in common so we just spoke about a range of random topics for most of the interview.
4. What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoy the flexibility that comes with my role and the fact that it’s not boring. There’s always something to get involved with and as a grad there’s a lot of challenging work. I like that there’s a degree of autonomy over your own work and you’re encouraged to find new ways of doing things and improve processes.
Since I am on the grad scheme, I have a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to trying out roles that aren’t necessarily software engineering so I don’t feel like I’m forced to pick a career path and stick to it. Although I probably should. I get to work with a variety of different people which is also makes my role quite enjoyable. The current project I’m on requires me to a liaise with a lot of different people which although is annoying on occasion means I get to have a lot of interesting conversations with a lot of interesting individuals and I have learnt a huge amount.
I find the challenging nature of the role and the problem-solving aspect of that the most enjoyable.
5. What do you find most challenging about your role?
The role I have means that I get a lot of exposure to senior people which may actually be a positive for a lot of people. Even though they are all really nice, it can sometimes be intimidating to advise on things with such experienced people when you’re still fairly new. Especially when you have to push back on things. I do however get a lot of help and support from my colleagues so things never go as badly as I think they will and people are surprisingly receptive to the opinions of grads. It also has helped me improve a lot of my softer skills, so you know. Growth or whatever. They’re always forcing/encouraging me to do better and be better which has allowed me to learn a lot. They don’t really let you operate within your comfort zone for anywhere longer than a week.
6. Top piece of advice for prospective applicants?
- From the time that I’ve spent here, I will say that KPMG is a company whose values are very important to them and by and large the people that they hire are testament to that. So, make sure you exemplify them and as much as possible you refer to them in some way in any questions they ask.
- Be yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality.
- Say yes as much as you can to things, even if you don’t know what you’re doing right away because there are always people that will be more than happy to give you a helping hand.
7. What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?
Depends on where it crashed to be honest. It would definitely be a pretty sad situation to find myself in so I’d probably take a minute, have a moment of prayer for the rest of the people in the crash and then try and figure out where I was and how I’m getting home. Then look to see what means of communication, food/water supply and tools I had. If it was a nice island I might stay a bit longer.