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Case Study: Emily

Personal details
Degree:Masters in Chemistry (MChem) with Industrial Placement Profile picture
School(s): School of Chemistry
Year of Graduation:Jul-2011
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Deloitte
Job title: Senior Associate (Audit)
Occupational Sector: Accountancy
What has been your route to getting your current position?
There were 5 stages from applying to being offered the job:
Stage 1: Online application form
Stage 2: Online psychometric tests
Stage 3: E-tray Exercise This is an inbox simulation which consists of 2 sections. The first was a 1 hour email session which required replies by multiply choice. The second part required a written reply to an email.
Stage 4: Manager Interview This was an hour competency based interview where the interviewer asks for 2 personal examples of different scenarios.
Stage 5: Partner Interview This was another 1 hour interview but included a 5 minute commercial awareness presentation (I was informed on the topic before) plus more competency based questions.
What does your job involve ?
During my first year of the graduate scheme I studied for a number of ICAS exams such as finance, business law and financial reporting. When not at ICAS I worked for a wide variety of clients providing audit services. We work in small teams where we interact closely with the client to gain a good understanding of the client’s business and processes. We design and implement tests to determine the accuracy of their financial records and our in-depth knowledge of the client enables us to make recommendations on how to improve their accounting processes.
What are the best bits of your job ?
My favourite part of my job is that everyday is different. I never know what my next challenge will be. I also enjoy the fact that most of my time is spent at client sites (both in Edinburgh and further afield). This means I am always working with new people and I get a change of scenery often!
Why were you successful?
During the interview process I was very worried I’d be out of my depth as I had no experience in the business world. I found this was not a problem at all and they were looking for transferable skills rather than someone that was already an expert in accounting. I think my industrial placement help me a lot with having examples to the competency questions. Additionally any extra curriculum activities are highly recommended.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Completing the chemistry degree helped me learn to be disciplined when it comes to studying. This helped me a lot when I came to studying for my ICAS exams which can be difficult due to the quantity of material that must be learnt in a short period of time. I also found the year industrial placement helped build my confidence when dealing with colleagues and clients.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Deloitte runs a ‘buddy’ scheme where you are paired up with a recent graduate in the firm who can help you with your application. I would definitely recommend signing up for this and asking as many questions as you can. Also make sure you prepare as much as possible for the interviews (you can never do enough). We do have to work very hard and can work very long hours during busy periods but there is also have a good social life. There are many extra curricula societies you can get involved in and other general social events.