A qualification much in demand (Sponsored)

Apr 01, 2019
Trinity Business School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting and its dedicated careers service offers a fast track to a rewarding career with 90% of their graduates securing jobs within their first term. Barry McCall reports.

Demand for graduates of the Trinity Business School Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting has never been higher, with the majority of students finding employment before the end of their first semester.

“Demand is very high,” says Programme Director Neil Dunne. “Accountancy continues to be a very popular and rewarding career choice with a wide range of opportunities. Qualified accountants can end up in any industry in any part of the world. Our graduates have been very successful in gaining employment with a wide variety of firms, but the strongest demand is coming from the Big Four.”

That demand translates directly into employment. “The majority of our students secure training contracts within a couple of months of starting the programme,” he adds. “That’s symptomatic of the demand for qualified accountants, the quality of the course and the strong Trinity Business School brand.”

Accountancy is in such demand that it is recognised as a critical skill by the government, according to Patrick Phillips, Postgraduate Career Development & Alumni Officer. “The government has a particular work visa to cover accountancy,” he notes.
Indeed, Ireland is one of the few European countries to provide a two-year graduate work visa. The Irish Third Level Graduate scheme exists to allow legally resident non-EEA third-level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purpose of seeking employment and applying for a green card or work permit. Students in training to become Chartered Accountants have the opportunity to apply for this Stamp 1A visa. This visa lasts up to four-and-a-half years.

It is, therefore, not surprising that competition among the Big Four to fill their graduate programmes is so high that they look for students to apply as early in their courses as possible.

“It’s a bit of a shock for students when we tell them that the deadline for applications for Big Four positions is October and the interviews are in November,” says Phillips. “This year they all held the interviews on the same day as a result of an agreement they have with Chartered Accountants Ireland. That ensures fairness for the candidates, but it can mean quite a bit of running around for a lot of the students.”

Of course, it is not just the demand generated by strong economic growth that makes Trinity students so popular. “A number of factors are at play,” says Dunne. “Our expert faculty and guest lecturers are Chartered Accountants, who through their expertise and professionalism demonstrate exactly what’s required to succeed in a career as a professional accountant.

“We have strong connections with all the leading accountancy firms. They sponsor student awards, attend our careers fairs and so on,” he adds. “Grant Thornton delivers the Accounting in Practice module which imparts many of the skills students will require as professional accountants. That is very valuable and makes them more ready to start their training contracts. Our students bring that to the interviews. Employers can see that they have been guided by qualified accountants in their studies, rather than just textbooks. Finally, there are the exemptions from professional exams. That makes our graduates more valuable to employers. They will spend less time on exams and more time gaining experience.”

Gillian Carberry is one of those students who has already secured employment with a Big Four firm. She decided to do the Trinity Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting following an internship with Deloitte during her DCU International Business and French degree. “I did the internship in third year and decided to go into accountancy after that,” she explains. “I had no exemptions from the Chartered Accountants Ireland exams and I didn’t want to go into CAP 1 with no accountancy background. A friend in Deloitte told me about Trinity’s Postgraduate Diploma. The course sets you up really well. The Accounting in Practice module goes through everything you will do when you start work at an accounting practice and the standard of the lecturers on all the other modules is really good. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get into accounting and doesn’t come from an accounting or business background.”

She will take up a place on Deloitte’s graduate programme later this year. “Graduates from the programme are highly sought after by the Big Four and other accounting firms,” she points out. “Trinity is so helpful in relation to careers. I had already been offered a place in Deloitte but the careers guidance service here is great. They meet with students every week to discuss their options and the majority of the class have jobs already.”

That careers service is a key feature of the programme, according to Dunne. “Trinity Business School has its own dedicated careers service and we try to get the students to a career-ready state very early on”, he says.

“We work very intensively with the students from the very beginning, helping them with CVs, preparing for interviews and so on,” says Phillips. “We run a careers fair where the Big Four and other firms come and give students’ information to help them with their career decisions. For the third year in a row, 90% of this year’s students had jobs before Christmas. Some students don’t want to go into a Big Four firm and there are lots of other opportunities. We always advise students to keep an open mind; you can get fantastic experience outside of the Big Four as well.”

Engagement with the careers team is quite intensive. “The students are only here for a year and the two semesters go by very quickly,” Phillips explains. “We have an online booking system for one-to-one career guidance sessions. We also have careers classes, online support and an alumni service for graduates, as well.”

“We try to give the students every bit of help we can to make them as employable as possible,” Dunne adds. “By November of each year, 90% of them are employed. We are open for applications at present and I would advise potential students to apply soon possible. We cap the number at around 40 students so the course fills up fast.”

For more information, please visit https://www.tcd.ie/business/msc/accounting/

(This article is sponsored by Trinity College Dublin.)