‘The graduate programme is a very popular career starter’

Graduate profile: Lorna McGuinness, KPMG

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from and what you studied in college?

I’m a first-year associate originally from north County Dublin and I work in the financial services tax department. I studied accounting and finance in DCU and in my second year I did a summer internship with KPMG.

After the internship I was delighted to be offered a graduate contract with my masters sponsored by the company, which led me to complete the MSc in Accounting in TU Dublin.”

How did you find out about the grad programme?

The graduate programme is a very popular career starter for accounting and finance graduates, and it sets you up nicely to complete the accountancy exams as the course offers full CAP 1 exemptions.

I found out about the programme at college career fairs and KPMG open days; they were a great way to talk to people already working on the graduate programme to get their perspective.

What is the graduate programme like?

In many ways it’s really like an extension of college as everyone is similar in age. The graduates are based in an open plan office so it’s a great way to get advice and support in work. You really learn so much from each other and I find it particularly helpful having a strong peer support network when it comes to exams. It’s the little tips you pick up in the office that can make all the difference. You also can’t forget the social aspect of things too, from the coffee break chats to team events.

Explain what the work experience was like?

It’s very enjoyable and brings really practical perspectives to add to your qualifications. There’s lots of sharing of knowledge and insights and I can’t emphasise enough how much this is encouraged by everyone at every level.

As I’m in first year, I’m currently doing a lot of tax compliance work which gives you a great foundation in tax knowledge. Then as my contract progresses, I’ll move onto more advisory work and through this you learn so much about clients, their business and the sectors they operate in.

What do you plan to work as after the programme and why?

I think it’s too early in my career to plan just yet, but I know this graduate programme will provide plenty of different career opportunities for me. I’d love to live and work abroad for a while.

What’s your advice to graduates applying to the programme?

I think doing an internship is a great way to figure out if the graduate programme is for you and to find out more about the exams. If you’re coming from an accountancy background, be conscious of your module choice in college to make use of the accountancy exam exemptions your course can offer – and of course don’t forget to have some fun.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times