Niamh Kiely stands in a greenhouse of flowers.
Niamh Kiely. Image: KPMG

This graduate is learning more than just tech skills on the job

13 Sep 2022

Niamh Kiely is a graduate at KPMG. Here, she discusses the wide range of projects she gets to work on and the skills she has learned along the way.

Click here for more advice for the sci-tech class of 2022.

Having studied business information systems at University College Cork, Niamh Kiely is now working as a technology analyst in the management consulting department of KPMG.

She was drawn to the company’s graduate programme after completing a six-month work placement there.

She told that she enjoys solving problems and working with people, both of which she can do in consulting.

“I was definitely drawn to the social aspect of KPMG; I wanted the transition from college to work to be seamless and that was the outcome. I have made great friends from the graduate programme and from also playing tag rugby with KPMG. There are a wide range of clubs and societies that are offered.”

As the programme has progressed, Kiely has moved from short-term projects to longer-term ones and become familiar with the different specialist areas she is most interested in.

‘I feel more confident heading into my career after being part of this programme’

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

On the current project I am working on, I am the PMO support for the project. So I get exposed to all workstreams in the project, therefore learning a lot each day. Every day does not look the same and it will depend on what project/workstream I am working on at the time.

I start my day by checking my schedule to ensure that I am aware of any client and internal meetings that are scheduled for the day. I join my daily stand-up with my team where we discuss and align our goals and tasks for the day, and look at it from an overall planning perspective.

I create a to-do list to ensure I am organised and keep myself focused. Throughout the day, I attend client meetings, engage with the team and take minutes. I answer any emails and queries and work on any milestones/deliverables that are part of the plan.

Deliverables usually involve researching or analysing data and presenting findings in PowerPoint/Excel to the client. I make any updates to the overall programme plan and follow up on any open actions with the client. I also schedule and organise events and workshops with the client.

Throughout the year, I have allocated periods for training and development so my training days look different to my project days. This training covers topics such as core consulting presentation skills, technology trends, project management, process excellence etc.

We work with our performance manager to achieve certifications throughout the year and time and support is given to ensure we can be successful.

If we have some downtime between projects or some free time within my day, I get to work on exciting internal projects, which involve working with Microsoft Power Platform. Microsoft Power Platform is a set of low code for building apps, workflows, AI bots, and data and analytics.

Have your responsibilities and workload changed as the programme progressed?

I had a perception that within KPMG you would only be working in a linear structure and reporting to a manager. However, this is not the case. Within KPMG you get to work with colleagues of different titles (managers, associate directors, directors, etc).

A lot of our projects are not purely focused on technology and involve different departments such as people and change, risk and applied intelligence, etc.

From this aspect, as the programme has progressed, I have got to work with colleagues of all levels and from different departments and build strong relationships with these people. This is definitely a positive for me, as I love meeting new people and getting exposure to new areas that may not be my main focus.

How do you think this programme has made you more prepared for working life?

I feel more confident heading into my career after being part of this programme. I’ve gained a lot of technical and management skills. KPMG gave me the time to complete a PRINCE2 foundation course where I have learned a lot about project management.

After a couple of months of the graduate programme, I developed people management skills by managing new placements/interns on the project.

I’ve participated in client workshops/sessions led by senior members and presented to the wider technology group in KPMG, which has helped me gain strong presentation skills.

The lessons I have learned is to always ask questions and never be afraid to reach out to people on your team if you don’t understand a task or something discussed in a meeting.

On the opposite side of this, always be there for the people on your team and help them if they need a hand as you may never know when you might need a favour returned. Teamwork is such an important part of consulting and by working together we create a happier and more successful environment.

Would you recommend the graduate programme at this KPMG to others?

If you are a person interested in technology and like to problem-solve while working with clients, this is the graduate programme for you. If you are curious and interested in learning new skills, KPMG offers a wide range of opportunities and opens paths for you engage with clients in a diverse range of sectors.

The graduate programme allows you to figure out what sectors you are particularly interested in, and you can request to be on these engagements in the future. This helps you to define and follow the career path you want and are interested in.

Teamwork and innovation are the centre of the KPMG’s consulting practice. If you are someone who enjoys the socialising, there is a large social aspect to KPMG and they hold many social events such as bingo loco, festivals, games nights and hikes throughout the year.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading