We recently caught up with Harsha about how he secured a Risk Consultant Graduate Trainee role with Mazars, how he built his commercial awareness before the interview and his top tips for Bright Network members looking to follow in his footsteps.
What stood out to you about Mazars?
It’s an exciting time to join a challenger firm like Mazars. Their portfolio has grown significantly over the past few years so there’s a fair bit of client work to get involved in. I’ve always wanted my career to have a client relationship element and that’s something I now get to experience daily. During the application process the graduates I reached out to were forthcoming which made me excited to join a firm with such a friendly culture. Before the assessment centre, I was given the opportunity to speak with a mentor to help answer any queries I had. They were so helpful which completely reaffirmed the firm’s values and culture.
How did you build your commercial awareness before the interview?
There’s a lot of news on the accounting industry online. It’s important to map out your understanding of disputes, breakthroughs, firms performing well and the ones not performing that great. Understanding these areas will give you greater clarity of the industry you’re planning to get into. Also, the company’s website is a great way of learning about their key achievements, new client wins and the direction they’re heading in. You can use this framework irrespective of what company you’re applying for.
What would be your top tip to members going through the application process?
I don’t think I can stress how important overall preparation is. Whether it be psychometric tests, interviews or assessment centres, there’s a lot of practice and further reading you can do beforehand to give you confidence throughout the process. This is especially important if you’re someone that struggles with nerves and imposter syndrome. Confidence isn’t just a personality trait, it’s something you can build through improving your own competence. At every stage you need to ask yourself ‘why this company?’ and ‘why this role?’. So long as you’re clear on this it’ll make the whole process a lot smoother.
How did Bright Network help you secure this role?
Bright Network had an amazing three-day virtual internship experience last summer called Internship Experience UK. I attended the consulting internship but would encourage others to attend the other streams too. This experience gave me great insight in what I could expect in a consulting career as well as the opportunity to speak with people with industry experience that gave great tips for the application process. Being able to engage with graduates in these roles gave me the confidence to apply and what to expect in my career going forward.
What’s been the toughest interview question you've faced and how did you tackle it?
I remember being asked to talk about a time when I dealt with a colleague when there was a conflict in decision making. It’s important you use an example in which you both reached an amicable solution and not about how you got your way. Remember to focus on how you took the time to listen and understand the other person’s perspective through good communication. Remember the interviewer is looking at how you would fit into their firm culture throughout each question.
What top three tips would you give Bright Network members looking to follow in your footsteps?
- Give it your all in each application but don't be attached to the outcome. It’s about achieving consistency but also creating a high-quality application each time.
- Be friendly and polite throughout the process, whilst they’re assessing you on your competence, they also want to know you’d be a great person to work with.
- Don’t give up, each rejection is a step closer to the job you’re going to get.