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Monday, October 28, 2013

Amy was a finalist in last year's National Schools' Challenge - Read about her experience!



Full name: Amy Herbertson
Age: 17
School attended: Watford Grammar School for Girls






About Amy
Since project managing my school’s Young Enterprise team I have been really interested in the financial sector, and recently decided that I would like to pursue a finance-related career in accountancy. I entered the competition because my economics teacher told us about it and suggested that we all give it a go. When I took the assessments I never expected to do well, or to reach the grand final, but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. The tests, especially the in-tray exercise, were time pressured which made the whole experience quite exciting. I am glad that I decided to enter the competition and would encourage everyone, whether in lower or upper sixth, to enter.

The grand-final!
Thinking back to the grand final, it all feels very surreal. The final was held at Deloitte in London, and the place was beautiful! The other competitors I met were all lovely, and the professionals I had the opportunity to network with were easy to get along with. There were six different activities, each with the aim of testing a different part of my business acumen, ranging from straw tower building to how best to recycle everyday products such as a keyboard, a mouse and a USB key into new viable products. In the latter exercise I remember my team being very creative and suggesting a wheelchair race in central London as an advertising stunt. The final was very tense, as it felt as though I was constantly being judged, but fun nonetheless.

A word of warning to challengers:
Don’t think that because you’re at a competition you can’t have fun and make friends with the other competitors - if you do make friends it will make you much more relaxed and so perform better.

Future plans……
In the future I hope to become a Chartered Accountant working for one of the Big Four. It was the exercises at the grand final and the networking session with current trainees at Deloitte that showed a career in accountancy does not have to be boring: if you work for the right place and with the right people it can be a fun and rewarding career. As a result, I have taken on many work experience placements, most notably the ‘Summer School Programme’ at BDO which means that I have been offered a place on their School Leaver Programme. I am also looking into fly-start degrees (those where you work towards a degree and an ACA with one of the big four simultaneously) which are offered by PwC, KPMG and EY. Although very intense, these seem like an excellent way to start off a financial career, and I look forward to applying soon. Had I not attended the grand final I doubt I would have been aware of how interesting a career in accountancy can be.

Fancy giving it a go and being the best to win £500! ENTER HERE!