Madhu Borra had never considered external auditing before undertaking the Achiever programme. Now, he does it full-time and is planning a long-term career path in the industry.
“Sometimes as students, we're not actually aware of what exists out there. My personal story is a good example because I didn't know about external audit. Once I did my placement, it gave me an opportunity to understand what is out there, what is it I want to do.”
The Achiever programme provides accounting students in their penultimate and final year paid practical work experience. During 2021, 116 students were successfully offered placement opportunities with participating employers across Australia and New Zealand.
Madhu found out about the Achiever programme while undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Queensland and said the application process was a transformational experience for him.
“When I first went to apply, I was asked to provide a resume and expression of interest. And as the process went on, I had to present a recorded interview and complete a psychometric test,” Madhu says. “This experience gave me a chance to reflect on myself, to present my strengths, and amplify the value I can provide for potential future employers.”
According to the 2017 Deloitte Access Economics' "Soft skills for business success" report, communication and interpersonal skills are among the top skills that employers look for when hiring job candidates. For Madhu, the application process helped him understand the value of self-awareness and presentation skills. His advice to future applicants was to go in with confidence and use the video and face-to-face interviews to stand out.
“Presentations are a really good opportunity because they show your communication skills and who you are as a person, the closest thing that these people can get to knowing you,” Madhu says.
Madhu also recommended engaging in extracurricular activities and listing hobbies on your resume to show future employers you can multitask.
After Madhu secured his spot, he prepared for his first day at the office where he realised how dynamic accounting could be and found a greater respect for the industry overall.
“In external audits, a lot of the time accountants are actually out on client sites. So, on my first day when I saw that everyone was away from the office, I asked my manager whether I could also go visit clients and he said yes. I was so excited to go out and get involved in the real world,” Madhu says.
Madhu saw the benefits of hands-on work experience and how it accentuated his own skillset and specific areas of interest in the profession.
“I would recommend the Achiever programme because of how multifaceted the way you can apply what you learn is. For example, every business needs a finance or accounting department. And what I found through these studies is that there is so much opportunity out in the world.”
His biggest tip to students is to seize opportunities whenever possible because there is always something valuable to learn “even when it feels unsettling or uncomfortable.”
Madhu's passion led him to a career as a full-time graduate external auditor for Findex, a leading accounting and advisory firm. The Achiever programme placement allowed him to refine his goals and start him on a path to become a difference maker.
“I see myself as a CFO of a tech company. For example, I am very interested in artificial intelligence and how it will change all the processes we know of traditionally,” Madhu says.
The Achiever programme was a turning point for Madhu, giving him the opportunity to realise the type of work and workplace he wanted to carry into his future profession. He is now studying to earn his CA designation whilst working full-time, allowing him to put theory into practice once again.
“After this internship, I had another year left in university. So, for me, it was a game-changer to have that practical experience and then go back to university. It allowed me to see the theory I was taught implemented in real life, rather than thinking primarily one-dimensionally.”
Want to learn more about how the Achiever programme is sparking passion? Check out:Golden ticket: How the Achiever Programme kick-started Ryan Loo’s career
The Achiever programme provides penultimate and final year students undertaking tertiary studies in accounting at university or polytechnic across Australia and New Zealand an opportunity to apply for valuable paid* work experience with one of our participating employers during the summer break.
*The salary for student placements is at the discretion of employers and does vary firm to firm.