How to prepare for a graduate job

08 March 2018

Jake Chesini, Graduate, Business Services |

Making the leap between university and a graduate job could have been difficult, but BDO helped to make the transition go as smoothly as possible. There was a range of things I did to prepare for the transition.

The benefits of practical experience

I started in my role in BDO Adelaide's Business Services team just two weeks after finishing my university exams. Although this wasn't a lot of time to prepare, I was fortunate in that I'd worked at another Accounting firm for about a year and a half while I was an undergraduate. This meant I'd already built up some practical experience and was able to put my Bachelor of Commerce and Accounting to good use.

The experience I gained doing this also helped me with the ultimate success of my application. I would strongly recommend any undergraduates who are thinking of moving into professional services to get some practical work as soon as possible.

While working for another firm, I met someone who was working in Audit at BDO and asked how they were finding the job. He was very complimentary both of the culture and the support and increased client exposure that comes with working for a larger firm, so I decided to apply.

The application process

The application process was really easy. The People and Culture team contacted me initially to invite me to a face-to-face interview with the Associate Director and the Manager of the team and after that I had a couple of hours of psychometric testing. The interview was very easy-going and really gave me a feel for how welcoming the culture is here at BDO Adelaide.

If I could go back and do anything about my preparation differently, it would be to go to more networking events. At university a lot of my lecturers had experience working in professional services firms and industry bodies, so I would make sure to utilise this to its full extent by getting advice and references from them. Employment Evenings are also a great way to meet relevant industry professionals.

One of the main reasons I chose BDO over staying with my previous firm was the training and support that BDO offers. As an example, we have regular Masterclasses for each module of our CA studies, as well as days off to study for each subject. There's a real emphasis on training and development firm-wide and the Partners' doors are always open if we have questions.

The most difficult thing about the transition to a graduate role was time management. Everything at university is fairly laid back, but at work there are clear deadlines for projects. Luckily, BDO really helps with this by holding weekly work flow sessions, where we set goals for the week and prioritise the most important tasks. Partners and Managers regularly communicate with us to ensure we are on track to achieve our goals.

For more information on starting a career with BDO, visit our jobs site.