April 9, 2021, by abrierley
My Placement Year at BDO (Binder Dijker Otte)
by Vishnu Pisharodi (Finance Accountancy & Management)
Thinking about a doing a placement year? Have questions about how to start and what it will be like? Hopefully, my experience so far will help you answer some questions you have.
Hi, I am a finance, accounting and management student, who is currently completing an optional placement year at BDO in their shared service centre in Liverpool. I work in conflicts, specifically in conflicts search in progress. The conflicts hub checks new clients or new projects with existing client for potential conflicts that could arise, both international and domestic. Search in progress part of conflicts deals with the domestic side of things. Once the project or client information such as relevant entities and directors or counter parties have been identified, they are put onto a form. I get the forms/cases, and I pull up their corporate trees for the clients and counter party if there are any, from a database and use the system to run a search. Once the search is done, I go through the results for potential conflicts “hits” that are definitely irrelevant to the case and take them out or mark them as “no conflict”. I try to narrow the number of “hits” as much as I can and then create a report and send it to the project team, where the project partner will deal with the potential “hits” and clear the report. If I do not try to narrow the search down, the project partner will spend huge amounts of time dealing with potential conflicts. Deciding which “hit” is not relevant requires judgement and reasoning with limited information and at first, I found it challenging. But over time by doing more cases and asking my colleagues questions it became clearer and I was able to go through each case faster.
I found my placement through ratemyplacement. The application process for BDO was straightforward. First step was CV screening, next came the online assessment. This included numerical, reasoning, and situational judgement tests. Once you pass this, you will be called for the face-to-face interview along with a group activity/assessment, although with the Covid situation, it will be a video interview. Prepare for the interview, by knowing your CV well and how your past experiences are a good fit for the requirements of the role, for instance, showing examples of working well with team and dealing with difference of opinions. Brace yourself for the common questions, and research the company you are applying to, reading news articles is a great place to start. Also, research about the company’s culture, and how it differs to other companies, and which aspect of the culture appealed to you the most. Lastly, read the job description repeatedly, this will allow you to come up with good questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.
Getting a placement is hard, but there are things that you can do to improve your chances of getting one. Firstly, send out as many applications as you can to different companies and tailor your cover letter according to the job description. Secondly, if you do get rejected, quite a few companies give you feedback, use this to see which area(s) you were weak in. Even if they do not give feedback, reflect and think about where you think it went wrong and what you can do to improve. For instance, if you failed the online assessment, then understand which part of it you were weak in, whether it be the numerical or the situational judgment questions and practice doing similar questions online. Hopefully, this has given you a bit of an insight and will help you with the process of applying and securing your placement.
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