Associate blog: Alexandra on her experiences at the KPMG Professional Experience Week

“I gained more knowledge of the professional services industry and how to network.”

upReach Associate Alexandra McLeod shares her experiences of the Professional Experience Week at KPMG, and how it helped shape her perceptions and aspirations for the future:

Which Professional Experience Week did you attend?
I went to the KPMG Professional Experience Week with upReach. It was held at the main KPMG offices in Canary Wharf, London and I was lucky enough to spend two days in the offices, and two days work shadowing an employee working externally at Knight Frank estate agents.

Why did you decide to apply?
One of the main reasons was that I knew it would allow me to meet other students from both my own university, Exeter, and other UK universities. I have stayed in touch with some of the group as we got on so well and had so much fun throughout the week, both during the day whilst working on projects and in the evenings when we discovered new areas of London.

Did your perceptions of the firm change?
My perceptions of KPMG were that it was like any other big company, but I learnt about small differences and efforts the company makes to make all employees feel included and thus making the workplace a nicer environment to work in. For example, you get a day off on your birthday!

Would you recommend an upReach Professional Experience Week to others?
I would fully recommend applying to the Professional Experience Week! My advice would be to give a diverse CV with a range of jobs, societies and activities you have carried out, as all the people selected for the week had studied different subjects and were involved in different extra-curricular activities.

Why was the experience important to you?
This week was important to me as I am still unsure about the line of work I want to pursue. I take as many of these opportunities as possible in order to learn more, meet more people and discover what I am really passionate about. I have since applied for KPMG’s Summer Placement program and would definitely recommend any other students to do so.

What was your favourite part of the week?
The best part of the week was shadowing an audit team at onsite and offsite client meetings. My group also won the two presentations we did throughout the week – we used awareness of social media to market a product effectively. I feel like I gained more knowledge of the professional services industry and how to network with current employees in a range of different departments. One afternoon involved socialising on the top floor of KPMG’s offices with recent graduates, which was a great insight!

 

Professional Experience Weeks take place every year for upReach Associates. These weeks are hugely beneficial to students who often find themselves locked out of vital experience and networking opportunities.

Our next Professional Experience Weeks will be this summer at KPMG and Deloitte. For more information on how you could get involved, contact john@upreach.org.uk.

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