“The best thing about my placement is all of the new people I have met. My network has expanded greatly and will set me up for the future regardless of which career I choose to follow.”

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Ben Ruffles, EY

BA Accounting and Finance with Industrial Experience

Ben wanted to complete an industrial placement to gain practical experience before embarking on a career path.

“I’ve always wanted to work in the city since I was young. I’d been considering pursuing accountancy in order to become a chartered accountant and the Accounting and Finance course here was the perfect choice. It enables me to benefit from exemptions from my professional exams and is best suited to my career path.

I chose to do a placement year as I felt that it would give me the greatest balance of academic knowledge and tangible on-the-job experience. Experiencing the lifestyle, the commute and the workload also gives me an opportunity to “try before I buy” in terms of my career path.

My placement is with EY (Ernst & Young LLP) in Financial Services, Audit, Wealth and Asset Management. My role requires me to work with a variety of different clients from FTSE 100 clients to smaller hedge funds. The work I complete at a junior level involves understanding client procedures, testing any controls they have in place, looking at the numbers and how they get to the financial statements. The work I do ultimately feeds through to the entire team’s work in signing an audit opinion.

The biggest challenge has been adapting to working norms and working hard over a long period of time. It is a stark difference from University in terms of workload and timings. However overcoming this has given me an insight into the working business world. Work is tough but is more than worth the rewards in satisfaction when you are successful. It has also given me an understanding of how to conduct yourself within a corporate environment.

I am learning a lot from my placement, particularly that while knowledge is important, soft skills, such as being able to communicate with a wide range of different people, are fundamental for success. The nature of my role within audit requires working in ‘high performing teams’, which is only possible through collaboration and discussion. I gained many of these skills at Exeter, which has been invaluable and together with the academic knowledge from my course, has enabled me to excel in my role.

The best thing about my placement is all of the new people I have met. My network has expanded greatly and will set me up for the future regardless of which career I choose to follow.

The experience has given me an insight into whether I want to work in Audit in the future. It has also given me a huge employer on my CV which will be a great advantage when applying for different roles and jobs. At the moment I hope I will be able to return to EY in a graduate role after I finish my degree.”