27 February 2018

Exploring my future career with the Industry Placement Program

Many of us would recall that when we were little, our parents telling us that you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be. But as the clock ticked by, sometimes we get lost. When it comes to my career, I got worried when I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to be an astronaut anymore, after watching a video detailing their daily training activities. However, I also realised the importance of developing a thorough understanding of your future career before diving into it. The main driving force for me to apply for the International Placement Program in China was to gain some insight into the accounting and auditing industry, and I was particularly curious about the working dynamics of the ‘Big Fours’ since they operate across the globe. As a result, I mentioned my placement preference during the selection process and I do appreciate the effort put in by the program coordinator to successfully matched me with my ideal placement host. My host organisation was KPMG China, located in Beijing, and I was one of the interns allocated to the financial service auditing department for my learning experience.

The program follows a well-structured framework, which instructs students to set out a few achievable performance objectives in three key learning areas before the commencement of the internship, and encourages participants to self-reflect on this valuable industry experience throughout. It’s a great way to keep a record of your learning journey, as well as reminding you to keep your eyes open and constantly reflecting on your professional and personal growth, instead of getting lost in trivial matters which might blindfold you from the bigger picture.

At the beginning of my internship, a two-day onboard training was organised by the Learning and Development department to introduce us to the working environment and the main tasks that we would be engaged in. We were then picked up by our in-charges to be taken to the project groups. I was quite nervous when I first walked towards my team since they were all busy watching their screen and typing on their keyboards. But as I was ready to introduce myself to the team, everyone turned away from their computer with big smiles on their faces, I was immersed in a sense of belonging immediately. I was then introduced to my main tasks which involved completing audit working papers and preparing and sending audit confirmations. These tasks might sound simple, but when it comes to the details it could get really confusing. I soon realised that you should never be afraid to ask questions since everyone has their own jobs to focus on, if you kept your questions as a secret, you are underestimating the importance of your role and being irresponsible to the entire team. I have learnt so much from asking questions, not only for gaining professional on-job knowledge, but also for getting to know the people and understanding the corporate culture. By the end of my internship, I had experienced a lot of different stages of the auditing process, which is extremely valuable for me to make decisions about my future career. I have also gotten to know many of the lovely people working at the firm, received advice and created friendships.

I would strongly recommend everyone to make an effort to apply for the IPP program since it’s definitely more than just an internship opportunity. The Business School will prepare you well before the orientation and help you set up your expectations appropriately. I have enjoyed my internship journey so much that I could not have expected more than what I have experienced!

Written by Jiaxin (Cathy) Yu
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School

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