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Inside View: Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton, one of the world's leading tax and advisory firms, is planning to hire hundreds this year. Marian Olvyitan, a Senior Graduate Recruitment Officer at the firm, talks potential MBA jobs.

Grant Thornton, one of the world's leading assurance, tax and advisory firms, is planning to hire hundreds of postgraduate and undergraduate students this year.

They have ties with Hult International Business School and London-based Cass Business School. Marian Olvyitan, a Senior Graduate Recruitment Officer at the firm, says a business school education is beneficial during the interview process.

What are your most popular hiring areas?

The most popular areas that we recruit into are audit and tax. And when we come to [campus] events, advisory is a very popular area.

At the moment within our financial advisory team we have two positions for analysts – getting involved in looking at financial transactions and looking at data coming in for all the different clients.

Is it beneficial to have a business school degree?

Yes. It demonstrates your interest in business, because essentially one of the things that we ask about during the interview process is motivation. They have to be able to demonstrate or be able to pull out from their experience something that demonstrates that they have an interest in business.

They need some thread within their background that demonstrates: I’m interested in business; I have a passion for and an enthusiasm for business.

[But] the great thing about Grant Thornton is, I’ve met people that have been successful who have degrees in geography, fine art, to economics, accounting – it’s across the board.

Would a Master’s or MBA student come into the business at a higher level?

Everybody who goes into the graduate trainee scheme would do so on the same level. They might sometimes get a few exemptions, but they come in on a level playing field.

But somebody that’s done a Master’s degree will have a bit more knowledge and a bit more focus. That, certainly I’m sure, would stand them out. And within Grant Thornton it’s very much about you seeking out opportunities. If you’re ambitious, if you’re quite driven, if you’re someone that’s able to take initiative, then that will shine and that will come through and you’ll be given those opportunities to do a little bit more than someone who is a bit reserved.

How many new hires are you hoping to take on this year?

Nationally we’re recruiting about 400 people this year – quite a big number. We’ve had a big increase since last year, and its one thing we’re hoping to build upon.

As an organization we’re growing, we’re in a good position in the market at the moment… and we recognise that our people are crucial to ensuring that we reach those ambitions and goals. 

How can candidates stand out?

For us it’s all about being a well-rounded individual. Technical ability, your academics and qualifications: those are important. Those are a given. Being the type of organization we are we want to make sure that we’re market-leading and we’re winning business, and obviously you’re not going to win business if you’ve got people who are not technically astute.

But then you want people who are interesting, who have been travelling, who have maybe been leaders of their societies, people that have done some exciting volunteer work – not just I’ve studied and I’ve come out, here’s my degree. What else makes you tick? What other outside interests do you have? What else can you offer in terms of unique conversation?

What sort of career progression can new hires expect?

We want people to be coming in through the ranks and to be going into different [areas] of the business. Our business ethos is very much about growing and developing our talent – and keeping them.

There are constantly different bespoke workshops, and one of the things we’re doing now as an organization is offering those workshops out to clients as a suite of training workshops that can help their talent grow. Because again we recognise that people are essential.

How important is it to develop a relationship with business schools?

We certainly see the value of coming out to campus events, because it’s building our brand and you get to meet some really strong candidates. But we recognize, as well, that the market is really saturated.

It’s very important, but it’s about making sure that we’re going to the right events, rather than just every single event that happens. It’s talent spotting.

To find out more about career opportunities at Grant Thornton, visit: http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/en/Careers/

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