|Posted by Benjamin Lammens
I am Benjamin. I have studied Applied Economic Sciences (TEW) at Ghent University. After graduating, I was determined to have an international Master experience, so I applied for the European Master program in Law and Economics. During the first months of this additional Master program — a very interesting experience that I can recommend to everyone — I entered an application for the IT Advisory department of KPMG.
Shortly after completing the application, attending the assessment center and doing some interviews, the HR representative called me, saying that a contract was ready for me to sign in Brussels! At that moment, I was attending a workshop in Hamburg with the other students of the program. We had an incredible party later that night to celebrate my first contract!
Going to the induction training was another unforgettable moment. This was truly the start of a new life, especially after the last year. I didn’t worry a lot because I had already an idea of what to expect. We had received the training program a couple of days beforehand. But I suppose there was still a slight element of nerves. After arriving in Brussels by train, I took the bus to the hotel where the induction training took place. My nerves were very quickly dispelled when the train arrived on time and I ran into Steve, also a new starter in Advisory. In the hotel the HR team welcomed us with a pleasant breakfast. We met up with the other juniors from the different KPMG departments (Tax, Legal, Fiduciaire, Advisory and Audit). It was really great to finally meet all of them, in particular my two fellow starters within IT Advisory. I quickly felt that it was a really great group; a mix of diverse sets of characters and backgrounds.
Our first days were specific ‘induction days’, with presentations, learning, games, and ample time for socializing. The goal of this induction was to gently introduce us starters to KPMG, rather than being thrown in at the deep end from the first day. For the first few hours everyone was somewhat reserved. It didn’t take long before everyone felt more at ease, though. The induction days came to a climax when we received ‘our beloved’ Opel Corsa!
A few days (and traffic jams…) later, the Advisory training started, which all new starters were supposed to attend. After a few days, the training became specific to every Advisory department. We were divided into several groups. Since we were only three to start in IT advisory, the training was person-oriented and pretty intensive, making it all the more interesting! Nearly two weeks later, the training came to an end. We were invited by the IT Advisory department to have a drink together, which was a good opportunity to get to know my new colleagues. The average age in the department is below 30, and I noticed everyone was getting along very well. I believe a good team significantly contributes to your personal development. It not only keeps you motivated, but also enables you to learn faster and makes you eager to make a contribution to the team. These things are difficult to know in advance when you apply for the job. It’s also different from person to person.
After two weeks of induction and training, it was time for my first ‘client’ work day! My schedule for the first weeks was quite busy. BeforeI read some important background information and verified the controls we were about to test there. After all, it is important to be well prepared for the interviews with the client. We need to make sure that we have all necessary information by the end of the day. The next morning I woke up early.
For a planned meeting with a client it is important to be on time! When I was driving on the E40, I enjoyed the early morning dawn and an impressive sunrise. I drove extra careful, as these circumstances can be treacherous. When joining the Brussels Ring I focused even more because this is the most dangerous part in the entire trip. Luckily the Corsa is equipped with an onboard GPS system that selects the best route (though unfortunately not always the most logical one). When I drove away from Brussels (the client is located south of Brussels) I enjoyed some beautiful roads in the stunning landscape around Waterloo, without any traffic jams. All in all, the trip in the Corsa was really pleasant!
After a smooth ride I arrived at my destination thirty minutes early. The client in question is a multinational petrochemical firm. The entrance to the firm is quite impressive: a wooden bridge with ground lights. Due the morning fog, however, visibility was reduced to 10 meters or so. It took almost a minute until I saw the big building rising in front of me. A ‘visitors’ arrow led me to the underground parking lot. At the reception desk I received a security badge and joined Cédric, my colleague Adviser. Before proceeding with the scheduled meetings, we went through our objectives of the day. My task was to assist Cédric by taking adequate notes of all interviews. This was a challenge to me as the meetings were in French. At the end of the day, my colleague and I had gathered sufficient information and decided to do the reporting the next morning in the Brussels office.
After this interesting day, I drove home and met with some friends, some of whom had also started working recently. I was happy to relax and to discuss our interesting ‘first work’ experiences.