Find your potential - Rory McAlpine

  • Published: 5 Jul 2018

Multi-award winning BAcc Accountancy student, Rory McAlpine achieved great success during his time at the University.

 My chosen degree was the BAcc Accountancy (Hons) course. 

As my main aim was to have a job waiting for me after graduation, I put a lot of effort into securing work experience. At the end of my second year, I was lucky enough to work at Chiene and Tait in Edinburgh over the summer, which gave me a much better idea of what it would be like to work in the accountancy profession, rather than what it looks like from the outside. It also provided the opportunity for me to speak to people of all levels to try to understand better the various paths that can be taken in a career in accountancy.

I was also fortunate enough to secure an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the summer between third and fourth year, which gave me a wider range of experience as I had now worked in a large and mid-sized firm. It was also extremely beneficial as I was offered a graduate position starting the September after I finish Uni, which I happily accepted.

Experience doesn’t just come from work placements. In my fourth year I entered the Undergraduate of the Year competition in the “Future Chief Financial Officer” category. This involved an essay question, online tests, video submission, assessment centre and a round-table discussion with fellow finalists. It was a lot of work (more than some job applications) but was worth it in the end as I made it to the final 10. Although I didn’t win, I intend to remain in contact with the people that I met during the competition, as who knows where we will all be in a few years time.

The internship at PwC was definitely the most beneficial experience for me as it ended with a job offer! I would say that although some applications for internships are time consuming, they are worth it in the end.

I would say that making it to the final 10 of the Undergraduate of the Year competition is my biggest achievement at Uni, although fulfilling my original goal of graduating with a job waiting for me is a close second.

You’re at Uni for four years, and in that time, there are so many opportunities for you to make sure that this is the right path for you to take. I tried to get as much experience as I could, not only to enhance my CV, but to ensure that becoming an accountant was actually something I would be happy doing as a career. This is the best time to try to figure that out as although Uni can be hard, you have so much free time, so try to make the most of it.

This summer I will be making the most of my time off as it will be the last extended period of time when I’m not working until I retire. I’ll be going up north for a few weeks to do some hill walking, trying to stay away from phone/computer screens for as long as possible. In September I start work at PwC as an Assurance Associate, and I will begin studying for the ICAS exams to become a qualified CA.

You should never put boundaries on your own abilities based on your own comparisons with other people. Everyone is going through the same process, so why not apply for that internship, or job, or competition. You have just as much chance as other people of getting it, but if you don’t go for it, then you definitely won’t get it.

The internship at PwC was definitely the most beneficial experience for me as it ended with a job offer!

Rory McAlpine