Will has a law degree from the University of Liverpool and works as a Projects officer/Trainee management accountant for The Co-operative.
I applied for The Co-operative graduate scheme directly from university. I had to fill in an application form, complete online personal competency tests, have an interview and attend an assessment centre.
My law degree wasn’t really relevant at all in helping me secure the job as The Co-operative takes graduates from any discipline. However, although the technical aspects of my degree are not used in my current role, I feel that the behaviours and skills I developed by doing it definitely are.
My typical working day involves checking emails, meeting with managers to discuss budgeted and actual figures for projects I am managing, preparing figures for departmental presentations, taking conference calls, setting up team meetings and meeting with colleagues to discuss project strategy.
Through my projects I have gradually developed more responsibilities and ownership over my results. I have also seen my independence increase and now find myself regularly having meetings with senior managers across the organisation. I have also seen the range of people I work with on projects expand from just internal team members to external parties, subcontractors (in the legal and banking sectors) and third party stakeholders.
My medium-term career ambitions are to complete my CIMA qualification and move into a financial management role where I am challenged enough to remain motivated, while at the same time retaining a work-life balance that keeps me happy and satisfied.
I enjoy having to meet with a wide range of people, as well as the technical aspects which help bring the accountancy theory to life by putting them into real life context. I particularly enjoy high-level business strategy, such as that relating to acquiring other businesses for the Group portfolio.
What I find challenging is identifying the best person to provide information or answer a certain question in a business which is so vast and expansive.
I am also interested in how our broad ranges of businesses compete effectively in their individual markets. High-level commercial exposure is available through completing projects in different departments across the organisation.
My advice to other students interested in a career in accountancy is go for it! Accountancy does not have to be the stereotypical number crunching, and management accountancy brings in a large element of business strategy and access to enough skills to keep your job varied and interesting. Search for a company where you think you will fit in - look into the attitude and ethics of the firms that you are applying for and see if they match your own.
Also, when it comes to the application process remember that practice makes perfect and hardly anyone gets the first job they apply for. This is especially true with assessment centres as they are designed to be difficult and are not very similar to the real job. You’ll soon get the hang of them if you act on the feedback given.
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