The spring term is an important time to attend employer events and learn more about your future career options.
Find out how Sneha secured a year-long placement at EY and how the modules she studied during the first two years of her course have helped her during her role.
I’m Sneha Shah, and I’m studying BSc Accounting & Finance at Warwick Business School. I am currently undertaking a placement year at EY in London where I am working in their assurance department. My experience at EY so far has been truly rewarding and I would highly encourage every student at WBS to consider taking a placement year. When I started my course at WBS, I saw a dynamic growth of the accounting and finance industry which encouraged me to explore these fields further by undertaking a placement year. I really wanted to gain some practical experience in this industry to help me develop a foundation for my future career.
When I initially started applying for a placement year, I found the application process quite daunting due to the number of stages involved. The WBS Careers Plus team played a major role in supporting me by providing lots of information, advice, and guidance which is what has helped me throughout each stage of the application process. Before I had my partner interview with EY, I was able to book several mock interviews with the careers team who guided me through the interview process and gave me the confidence to do my best.
Before starting my placement, I began my chartered accountancy qualification with EY which allowed me to apply my theoretical learning into practical experience in audit which I believe has been the best way to learn more about the industry. The primary benefit of my placement has been the acquisition of skills that I’ve been able to apply in a real working environment that is constantly changing. I’ve been able to work on my leadership skills by taking on a greater amount of responsibilities, allowing me to step out of my comfort zone and I’ve seen a huge change within myself particularly relating to my work ethic, my communication skills, and even how I organise my time and priorities.
A typical day at work for me involves attending a team meeting to allocate tasks for the week, changing a few testing details for sampling, sending audit requests to clients, attending client meetings and updating documentation, and working on an account with a team member. What I have enjoyed the most so far at EY has been the experience of working in a team. Everyone I have worked with has been hugely supportive and provided me with lots of coaching advice and tips.
My experience at EY has solidified my interest in working within this industry in the future, and I’m hoping to secure a graduate role at the end of my placement year. I can already say that the practical knowledge I’ve gained so far will be really useful when I return to WBS for my final year and continue with my theoretical studies. Apart from the vital work experience I have gained, my placement year has also enabled me to explore the amazing city of London!
In terms of preparing for my placement year, I feel that the modules I studied during my first and second year at WBS really helped prepare me for the working world, as they are very closely related to what I’m doing in my current role which has helped me understand some of the audit language more easily. In addition to this, the countless career-related workshops and webinars organised by the CareersPlus team also helped to build my skills and knowledge which gave me an insight into what to expect during my placement year.
For any students who are considering whether to do a placement year, I would definitely say go for it! It is the best way to develop yourself professionally and understand where your career interests lie. I have summarised my top tips that helped me secure my placement year at EY:
Spend the first year of your degree focusing on building your knowledge and skills. Make sure you attend skills workshops, webinars, and company insight events which will help you prepare for the different stages of the placement year application process. I would also recommend that you utilise your summer break after your first year to do your research so by the time applications open you are better prepared to apply.
Focus your applications
The best advice I was given by the CareersPlus team was to avoid rushing into applying for every company that's offering a placement year. Make a list of a select few companies that you really want to work for and research the company in detail so that you are confident when starting the application process.
Reflect on your motivations
Before applications open think about your motivations for wanting to secure a work placement and why you want to work in a particular sector. This will put you in a much better position to find the right role for you and it will enable you to make the most of your placement year experience.
I would highly recommend a placement year as it gives you the chance to evaluate your career options and potentially clarify your future career path. In addition to this, a placement year can help to boost your employability and develop pivotal skills for your personal development.
Discover more about our BSc Accounting & Finance course and our placement year opportunities in our undergraduate brochure