As a professional preparing to enter the workforce, it can feel overwhelming as you consider the seemingly limitless possibilities of what to pursue after graduation. When this time arrives, it’s important to consider what kind of employer is the best fit and where you can grow your skills the most.
It goes without saying that new experiences and stepping out of your comfort zone will contribute to professional growth and development. However, is it even possible to find a life-changing experience like that at the start of your career?
KPMG, one of the Big 4 accounting firms, has grasped this experience-led development method and integrated it for their employees through their global presence and opportunities abroad.
In addition to their global offices and international clientele, KPMG offers the opportunity for select students from across the world to participate in the Global Advantage Program and the Global Internship Program. KPMG knows that some of the best opportunities to grow and learn can happen outside of one’s home country and these programs are their way of leveraging that potential.
Recently, WayUp spoke with a few current and future employees who participated in these unique global opportunities to hear about their experiences and what they gained from traveling and working abroad. In our conversations, we learned that the firm’s global opportunities help early career professionals step out of their comfort zone and gain invaluable skills that help them succeed in a new industry and workforce.
Global Advantage Program
The KPMG Global Advantage Program (GAP) is an opportunity for about 150 future interns from over 10 different countries to develop skills the summer before their internship. The four-day training course hosted in Europe seeks to grow students’ skills in the avenues of leadership, self-awareness, interpersonal impact, and cultural versatility.
Here is a little bit of what the 2023 program in Brussels, Belgium looked like!
This past summer, Jessica Commisso, a KPMG University Recruiter and former intern, attended GAP in Brussels with a group of students acting as an ambassador and manager. Her experience this past summer helped her see just how beneficial the program can be for new hires and their ability to work with different types of people.
Global Internship Program
Another incredible opportunity for KPMG interns is the Global Internship Program (GIP), which provides real-world experience through a four-week rotational program. Whether it’s working in Dubai, London, Sydney, or many other global office locations, interns gain exposure to global professional services practices and increase relationship-building skills.
Participants spend half of their internships working in a location outside of the US with international colleagues and develop a global network of professionals which enhances their skills in collaboration, networking, and communication. Additionally, interns gain meaningful work experience by learning about international accounting standards and working on tangible deliverables with global clients.
This past summer, Victoria Vanriele participated in GIP as a Tax Intern working on the island of Mauritius off the coast of Africa. During her time in Mauritius, Victoria was thrown into a new and unfamiliar environment – an experience that helped her understand different cultural norms and ways to interact with people.
As Victoria anticipates working with colleagues and clients from different backgrounds in her future full-time role, she will undoubtedly use her experience in Mauritius to help guide her.
Hensen Lam, another participant in GIP, shared that the client work he did in Dubai had the greatest impact on his development.
From leading client meetings to holding down presentations, Hensen gained confidence as a professional through hands-on experience and participation in real business deliverables.
Whether it was getting comfortable with new and unfamiliar environments or gaining inspiration to succeed, both Victoria and Hensen had critical experiences that contributed to their growth at KPMG.
Beyond the Global Advantage and Global Internship Programs, full-time professionals at KPMG also have the opportunity to gain international experience working with the firm’s global clients or by participating in the KPMG Global Opportunities (GO) program. Last year, nearly 70 KPMG member firms hosted over 770 professionals on rotations around the world.
Jamie Bernstein, a Senior Associate in Tax who currently works with an international client, participated in both global programs before she joined the firm full-time. She acknowledges how helpful it was to understand the international tax perspective through global client work. While at the London office, she interacted with several international colleagues and enjoyed learning more about their backgrounds.
As she lived away from home in another country, Jamie had the relational capacity to focus more on networking through client dinners, team-building events, and other cultural activities. She emphasized how working in an unfamiliar territory was a main driver for self-improvement.
Even today, as a Senior Associate, Jamie seeks out new and unfamiliar opportunities because she knows they will help her grow professionally. From global programs to meaningful networking experiences, it is evident how these initiatives help to build a sense of connection to the firm.
Jamie’s experience goes to show how involvement with the global initiatives at KPMG, especially early in your development, will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on your career and professional journey.
Harnessing Adaptive Minds
After chatting with both entry-level and experienced employees who have participated in global initiatives with KPMG, it is clear the programs impact career development and the path that individuals take.
Whether they help you learn how to communicate with people from different backgrounds, solve unique problems, or foster ambition and a desire to succeed, the global experiences at KPMG help early-career candidates launch and grow their careers.
Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates or related entities.
The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.
© 2023 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.
The KPMG name and logo are trademarks used under license by the independent member firms of the KPMG global organization.