Education: University of Strathclyde - Accounting and Business - Graduated 2018 with First Class Honours
Role: Audit Associate at KPMG
Top Tip: "Turn to your mentor as much as you can – they have such a wealth of knowledge you may not even realise.”
I found out about the ICAS Foundation from my Accounting teacher at school, who gave me the application form. We were always encouraged to consider university as our next step, so I applied for business and finance subjects at universities within travelling distance of home.
I really enjoyed university, particularly Strathclyde’s overarching approach and Management Development Programme which helps students to develop non-academic skills. My main challenge was juggling coursework to meet all my deadlines so I had to learn to adapt to work on multiple assignments at the same time, as well as balance my part time job with my studies.
The mentoring programme was the most valuable support I received from the ICAS Foundation. I had no idea what to expect when I met my mentor. Mentoring helped me understand the everyday life of an accountant, and I was able to interview other members of my mentor’s team for my dissertation which was amazing. That one-to-one relationship gave me the opportunity to speak to someone who knew me and understood the university experience and its challenges.
When I started university, I didn’t realise how the cost of textbooks, travel and lunches would add up. My bursary was ideal as it meant I could purchase all my textbooks right away – there were no worries about running out of money, or whether I could purchase all the other things I needed for university. Having internship experience was really helpful when I applied for graduate roles, as it gave me a broad awareness across different areas, and how an office works on a day-to-day basis.
The support of the ICAS Foundation staff and my mentor also helped me pursue the roles I wanted after university. Being part of the programme gave me the confidence to attend a Big Four assessment centre, because I was always encouraged to achieve my best so I could succeed in my future career.
I’ve now completed my ICAS CA exams and am working towards the end of my training contract at KPMG. I want to stay beyond my training contract, as I think I have a lot more to learn and there are so many opportunities in other areas of the company. Working at a Big Four firm opens a lot of doors, and everyone is really supportive. When I was at school, I had no idea what came next after university – without the ICAS Foundation, I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today.