Zain Ansari has discovered that making a great impression during an internship can help to get your foot in the door at the world’s largest companies.
The 24-year-old was offered a summer internship at KPMG in New Zealand after completing a Business and Information Management degree at the University of Auckland.
It was an opportunity that would change the course of his career.
Learning from a KPMG internship
“Internships are a great way for a company to get to know who you are as a person and to find out about your career goals. It’s also a chance for the intern to get to know the company and decide if they want to be part of the organisation,” Zain Ansari says.
During the three month summer internship, Zain was able to see how a big company operates and says it was a big learning curve.
“As a university student you have no idea what to expect at an accounting firm such as KPMG. There is information on the internet and you can speak to people about their experience but the internship gave me all the information I needed.”
Turning an internship into a graduate job
On the last day of his internship, Zain was called into his Manager’s office and was offered a position in the company’s Graduate Program.
“One of the things KPMG did in the internship program is to give you a performance manager who treats you like a graduate. Then on the day before my 21st birthday, he offered me a graduate role. It was a great present.”
The 24-year-old is now working as an IT advisor at KPMG and says even though he isn’t working in an accounting position, the skills he learnt at university have come in handy.
“I think the way technology and business is going these days, accounting and IT go hand in hand. It’s always good to have another subject under your belt and I am glad I took accounting subjects at university.”
Zain, who is an Associate Member studying the CPA Program, says working at a big firm has its advantages including the opportunity to learn from experienced managers.
“The knowledge that these type of people are willing to share with you is so valuable. Just having a chat with them about what they are doing has been so beneficial to my career.”
Before working at KPMG, Zain also spent time at Telecom and at Yahoo New Zealand, where he was a Junior Accounts Officer. He says any experience that you can get before you graduate from university will help to kick start your career.
“At Yahoo, I had a part-time job, working in the finance team during my final year of university. Every week I would go and help with their accounts payable and receivable processes. It was good experience.”
Tips on preparing for an internship
1. Relax and be yourself
2. Speak to as many people as possible in the business
3. Ask as many questions as possible
4. Enjoy the opportunity and make the most of it, it could turn into a job
Now that Zain has completed the first few years of his career, he has ambitions to one day get a leadership position.
“I would like to be in a CIO type of position, where you are heavily involved in the strategic direction of a business and using technology to achieve results.”