This week we had a chance to catch up with Harish Kerai, one of our returning placement students. Read below, as we take a closer look at his placement searching experience and what a placement has done for his graduate prospects.
Name – Harish Kerai
Company – Howden’s Joinery
Role – Trainee Accountant
Hi Harish it’s good to see you, why don’t we start with you telling us a little bit about your placement company?
Howden Joinery Group plc is the parent company for the Howdens Joinery business, a leading supplier of kitchens and joinery products to small builders. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
So what exactly did your role entail?
It was a real role with real responsibility, my duties included
- Controlling the company’s fixed assets
- Monthly bill management for over 580 stores
- Opportunity to change the companies fixed asset system meaning a shorter time delay on results
- Opportunity to sit with the financial director of the company on a regular basis
- Creating financial reports and projecting figures
- Working across various departments in the company including marketing and logistics
We know hear you have a fantastic graduate opportunity with Howden’s, what will your role be?
My role will be a Finance analyst. This is a great chance for me to work in a new department with a new manager. One of the great bonuses of working for Howden’s is that my CIMA course will be paid for, so this is a great opportunity to earn and learn. And of course there will be a competitive starting salary.
Everybody’s placement searching experience is a little different. How was yours?
I was definitely a long road as I was placed quite late in May. I must have applied to around 50 or 60 companies and had around 10 interviews before I was finally placed.
What are your 6 top tips for our current placement searchers?
- Remain professional even when you are under pressure
- Make use of the placement unit
- Be determined, stay positive and keep applying
- Look ahead even if you don’t get what you want
- ALWAYS look smart and slick for any job interviews
- Use LinkedIn a lot! Getting recognition & look for jobs you will get recognised from LinkedIn keep your profile up to date
Those are some great tips. Do you have anything else you would like to say to our placement searchers?
- A placement is a must need for any student looking to enhance their employability and learn valuable life skills. My placement year has helped me to understand my university work a lot more. It was a great opportunity to take what you have learnt in your modules and put them in a real life situation.
- Don’t just apply to blue chip companies; look at smaller companies as there is more scope for change.
- Don’t focus on the money its more about the experience.
- Before applying make sure you try and gain some relevant experience make use of the university services such as DSU volunteering and Unitemps.
- Look at whether or not you fit into the company, ask yourself do you match the job specification?
- Always be punctual for any interview or job role you have!
- Carry yourself with confidence
- A quote that I find helps to inspire me is one by Gandhi – “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.”