• Business students prepare for transition from education to workplace

Business students prepare for transition from education to workplace

14 December 2021

Pictured L-R: Nicola Robinson, BDO NI Manager, Josh Cowan and BDO NI Partner, Laura Jackson (all standing). Seated is Dylan Carlisle (left) and Gerard McCallan (right).

Three Ulster University Accounting students took top prizes in this year’s BDO Interview Awards aimed at giving students a kick-start in their career planning.

Organised by the Business School as part of the BSc (Hons) Accounting and the BSc Finance and Investment Management programmes with support from BDO Northern Ireland, the Award process comprised interview skills training provided by BDO senior staff as well as a series of mock interviews undertaken by both organisations.

Of the three students, Gerard McCallan from Newtownabbey came out on top closely followed by both Dylan Carlisle from Cloughey and Josh Cowan, Ballyclare and will all now gain vital practical experience as part of an internship programme with BDO NI including an opportunity to work full time with the firm upon graduation.

The programme which is now in its 6th year, has provided students with much needed practical support and experience during their studies which gives them a feel for what will be expected of them when they enter the workplace.

Laura Jackson, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland said, 

“This programme has continually proved to be a platform for students to gain much needed real-world experience in areas that they will face when they leave their education. Interviews can be daunting for even the most confident and diligent individual and the earlier you prepare for these types of scenarios the better.

“Partnering with Ulster University allows us to provide students with both the theoretical and practical – something which can make a significant difference in transitioning from education to the workplace.”

Laura Morgan, Lecturer, Ulster University Business School added,

“BDO NI delivers an excellent workshop to the accounting students providing useful advice and tips on how to improve their interview techniques. All students were given the opportunity to be interviewed by BDO NI and this element of the module facilitates the growth and development of our young people in preparation for the workplace by given them real life experience that money simply cannot buy. By adding a leading employer’s input such as BDO NI to this module, it adds to our students’ experiences and exposure to local industry”.

Whilst the pandemic provided added challenges for the programme, students were able to participate face to face or virtually with the majority opting for face-to-face interviews.

Gerard McCallan, the 2021 winner said,

"After experiencing the interview skills workshop by BDO NI at Ulster University, I got an instant feel for the company and its values. Clearly a company that values employees while investing heavily in the training and development of its current and future employees. When the opportunity presented itself to attend a mock interview as part of my course, I was in no doubt that I wanted to take part in the process.

“I have no doubt that the calming approach to the BDO NI interview process played a large part in my successful interview. I am excited to be joining the team and work towards gaining my professional qualifications under the guidance of BDO NI”.

Find out more about the student and graduate roles available at BDO NI on our careers page.