I have had several university students in their final year of studies commission me to work on applications for internships or holiday work placements with the ‘Big4′ Accounting firms (KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PwC), that can then lead to the prospect of securing a full-time position when the internship/placement is completed. The application process is similar for all four firms each requiring submission of cover letter, resume, and answers to specific questions. There is not a lot of variation between the types of questions asked between the four firms. One of my clients submitted applications with the four firms and was offered a placement with all of them; she had quite a decision to make. Outlined below are two of the more commonly asked questions and responses (200-word limit).

Please detail your personal achievements and involvement in the community over the last 4 years, which may include accomplishments in sports, drama, clubs, societies or charities.

I recently spent time raising money for the Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day, which I believe is a very worthwhile cause. The funds contribute towards important support services and research, which many people will benefit from at some point in their lives. I found the experience very rewarding, as well as motivating and moving. I had the opportunity to speak to many people who had been affected by cancer, and I found their stories very moving. Some had survived this dreadful disease, while others had recently lost a loved one. I was amazed by their resilience and positive attitude, and inspired by their stories of courage. I was also encouraged by the amount of support and enthusiasm we received from the public. I am determined to contribute more of my time to this very worthwhile and important cause. Importantly, I am enthusiastic about supporting any efforts that ABC shows towards worthwhile and worthy causes that help people in the community.


Please detail what personal and professional goals you have set yourself in the next 3-5 years and how you plan to achieve your goals.

I have set myself several professional and personal goals. These include graduating from university and maintaining a high GPA; contributing to the community through volunteer work; gaining a position with a top accounting firm with a view to working overseas; and securing challenging and fulfilling work in my chosen profession. On the personal front, I would like to take lessons and learn to play the violin. At the beginning of each year, I strategise and plan my goals, and toward the end of the year, I reassess any goals that were not achieved and attempt to analyse why such goals were not reached. I place a substantial amount of emphasis on my growth as an individual and try to critically assess my achievements every year. As a result, this enables me to attain the goals that I set out for myself and be the best that I can be in everything that I set out to do. Importantly, hard work, staying focused and enjoying what I do, lay the foundations in achieving both my personal and career goals.


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Annie Cerone