Archive | employability

Secured a placement!

This post was written by second year BSc Accounting and Finance student, Della.


Hi everyone, I hope your placement search is going well! I was recently lucky enough to be given an offer for a global investment bank – and it was my first placement application! I would like to share my experience with you, along with some tips I hope you will find useful.

Take time on your applications

As this was my first application, I had little experience of doing placement applications, and so spent a lot of time on it to make sure I showcased all the relevant skills for the job I was applying for. This helped me a lot. It is much better to spend a significant amount of time on each application, rather than sending off quick fire applications which tends to be a waste of time. I would say the most important thing is sending your application to your placement advisor as they can easily see any areas for improvement. The placement team have a huge amount of experience and are extremely friendly so please use their help!

Prepare well for the interview

As soon as I found out I got through to the assessment centre stage, I only had a week to prepare and of course was a little nervous. I contacted Rob, my placement advisor, and he devised a set of possible questions that would typically come up in the competency based interview. I then thought of a situation I could use to showcase each skill such as team working, leadership and problem solving, typed some answers out and practised saying them out loud to friends. Please note that the skills they ask about in your interview are highly based on the skills they are looking for in the job description, so read this carefully beforehand. Lastly, I definitely recommend having a mock interview with your placement advisor as it improves your confidence massively before the “real thing”.

Group task at assessment centre

As part of my assessment centre, I had a group task in which we had to read some documents individually, before having a group discussion/debate about the topics at hand, all whilst being observed. My advice for this session would be to make sure you write down the main points that you gathered from reading the articles, so you can remain engaged in the discussion and also build upon your teammate’s points. The key thing is to work with your teammates, not against them! Remember that a lot of interviews are done on a rolling basis, so if you all impress, you could all be successful. Although you want to stand out from the crowd, working with teammates shows that you can listen to other people’s contributions to create a well balanced argument, and that you are a ‘people person’.

Attitude at assessment centre

Your attitude at an assessment centre makes a huge difference, as you are not only trying to impress the interviewer with your skills but also trying to make them like you and want to work with you. It is a two sided thing. It goes without saying, but smiling will show interviewers your enthusiasm and willingness to learn/take initiative if you do get the job. You will inevitability be nervous in this kind of situation, but being yourself will show the interviewer your real personality and many companies really value honesty and integrity in their employees.

Thank you for reading my blog post and good luck with the rest of your placement search!


Shout out to Rob, my placement advisor, for helping me with my application, and the whole of the placement team as they are amazing and most of these tips were given by them. I really appreciate your help!



Mazars: an introduction

This post was written by BSc Accounting and Finance w/placement student, Toby Sayers

For the academic year 2016/17, I will be the Brand Ambassador for Mazars UK at the University of Southampton. In this role, I will be the point of contact for many students in the University, should they have any questions about Mazars as a company, what they can offer or even who they are. Representing Mazars on campus, jobs include promoting activities, internships and assisting with making students more employable.

It's my job to represent Mazars on campus

It’s my job to represent Mazars on campus

 So, who are Mazars?

Mazars are one of Europe’s largest accounting firms, reaching globally and ever increasing in size and stature. Employing over 17,000 people and stretching across 77 countries, Mazars can offer a career a wide range of service lines.

  • Specialises in Audit, Tax and Advisory
  • Also offers Legal and Accountancy services
  • 19 offices in the UK
  • The 8th largest accountancy firm in the UK (by audit fee income)
  • Widely international company
  • Acts for 17% of the FTSEurofirst 100
  • Audits more FT Global 500 than any non ‘Big four’ firm

Why would I be interested in Mazars?

Mazars are an ever-growing company that continuously looks to take on new, fresh minded individuals.

To do this, Mazars offers a large range of industrial and summer placements, and has plenty of vacancies left across the UK in Audit, Tax, Advisory and many more. In these, Mazars can improve upon your technical and analytical skills, while letting you thrive in the working environment.

How can I apply?

If Mazars interests you, visit for more information about the firm, and how to apply. Should you have any further questions or would like help with your application, Mazars will be at the careers fair on the 20th October – I will be there along with an employee from Mazars. Should you have any questions, contact:

Toby Sayers



How can social media help you find a placement?


social media blog 1social media blog 2



BEWARE your online reputation.

It’s important to remember that social networks are public and there are consequences for what you post – even if your intensions aren’t malicious.

How to manage your online reputation

Keep language and tone professional

Never post something you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with an employer

Photos, content and comments can give an employer an insight into your values, as well as confirm claims you make in your CV or at interviews

Use a professional photograph in your profile

Join relevant groups, follow employers, and write about your work experience


When used responsibly social media can be used to create and promote your own brand and sign post you to job opportunities


Check out the FBLA Placement Office Social Media



Tests, E-trays, case studies, and lunch!

Our topic for the blog this month is assessment centres. We’ve already discussed how your mindset can affect your performance, and heard from a Southampton Business School student about their experience of an assessment centre with J.P. Morgan.

In this post, taken from our online placement preparation course, we give you tips on how to succeed in common assessment centre activities: Tests, E-trays, case studies, and lunch!


Perceptions of work experience

This blog post is written by Freya, a final year student studying BSc Accounting and Finance at the University of Southampton.

Are you interested in a future career in accountancy? Are you considering completing a placement or internship in an accounting firm?

I’m studying Accounting and Finance at the University of Southampton and for my dissertation I am researching student’s perceptions of the benefits of undergraduate work experience in relation to company size.

There are plenty of undergraduate work experience opportunities available but do you think a company’s size and scope (i.e. global or regional) influences your decision about whether to apply for their placement or internship programs?

If this is a topic that interests you, I would be extremely grateful for your time and opinions. I will be sharing my final results with the business school placements office and you would really help improve our understanding of student perceptions.

The survey is simple and will take around 5 minutes.

Thank you.

Please participate here