It is always a good opportunity to have real world experiences as a business student. What is happening in the real world very is very important to me to complement my studies in the classroom. Six months ago, I was lucky enough to join the Industry Placement Program (IPP) and work at PwC in my hometown, Beijing.
I’m the kind of person who always strives to set goals before taking action. At the beginning, I put down a few objectives. However, the story in the real world is always different, insofar as you never have the chance to complete your goals one at a time. Unlike the classroom, you can easily feel overwhelmed by many tasks and must be able to adapt to the pace in the firm in order to catch up with others as soon as possible.
I worked in the Risk & Assurance department for two and half months. Our job included designing and evaluating internal control systems for some state-owned enterprises in China. It started with a few days of preparing and editing biding documents for clients, and also many other tedious, but important jobs. 'Every brick is essential for building a house', and from the very beginning I began to develop an understanding of the whole business.
Later, I was given the opportunity to further grasp the essence of the job on a three-week business trip. Working in a team is always very interesting. None more so than in one of the Big Four accounting firms, as I had so many opportunities to interact with people from different backgrounds, and, as such, dramatically improved my interpersonal skills. One extremely valuable experience was the opportunity to interview senior managers of our clients, allowing me to understand how managers conduct their work and think from their perspective.
The unique element that distinguishes IPP from other programs is that it actually provides the chance for peers to share their experiences. In China, all the participants lived together, no matter which company they were allocated over the six-week period, which gave us the chance to share all our interesting stories. Even the catch-up on weekends was a special part of it. Having heaps of friends around you to talk about the funny things, not only helps you learn more about office politics, but also enriches the experience, as you are not on your own.
Overall, I gained insight and tranferable skills in a diverse range of areas. Time management is perhaps the most important one, as you have to cultivate multi-tasking skills in order to meet deadlines. In addition, learning how to handle stress in the workplace, especially in professional services, can help you to achieve more and also make the work more enjoyable.
I really appreciate that I had the opportunity to put what I’ve leant in to practice during my last year at Uni, and I can’t wait to graduate and have more exciting stories in the future.
Anqi is an international student student at the University of Sydney Business School. Anqi recently completed an internship with PwC in Beijing as part of the Industry Placement Program.