Three Ulster University Accounting students have been announced as this year’s winners of the BDO NI Interview Awards – an initiative aimed at putting students through their paces in a series of simulated interview scenarios.
L-R Standing: Helen Foster, Ulster University Course Director, Nigel Harra, Senior Partner at BDO NI, Lisa McAleer, HR Manager at BDO NI and Laura Morgan, Lecturer at Ulster University.
L-R Seated: Danielle Foster, Sarah Murray and Caoimhe Tohill.
The awards, now in their 7th year is organised by the Business School at Ulster University as part of the BSc (Hons) Accounting Pathways Programme with support from BDO Northern Ireland. 89 students took part in the Interview skills session delivered by BDO NI as part of the award scheme with 23 taking part in this year’s interview competition, competing in a range of practical and skills led challenges, including taking part in mock interviews.
The 2022 winners were commended by judges for demonstrating strong communication and creativity during their mock interviews. Danielle Foster from Ballymena came out on top, followed by Caoimhe Tohill from Maghera and Sarah Murray from Enniskillen. All three winners received a cash prize alongside the opportunity to continue their development with an initial internship with the firm and ongoing mentoring support from BDO NI during the remainder of their university studies.
Nigel Harra, Senior Partner at BDO Northern Ireland said,
“This programme continues to be very popular with university students, not only in providing the opportunity to compete with their fellow peers but it opens the door to opportunities with potential future employers at a very early stage in their careers.
“They will gain a mentor who will provide advice and guidance throughout their studies and gain access to practical experience through interning at BDO NI. Working with some of the best experts and business advisors in NI and some of the most ambitious and successful companies across the UK and Ireland.
“Interviews have evolved significantly and there is an expectation to go beyond the usual question and answer approach. You need to stand out from your peers and show what you can bring to an organisation beyond your qualifications. These types of programmes are developed to give students this insight, so they are prepared in advance of job applications and interviews.”
Laura Morgan, Course Director & Lecturer, Ulster University Business School added,
“Lisa McAleer, HR Manager from BDO NI delivered a mock interview workshop to the second year accounting students, which the students found very beneficial. The interactive workshop provided the students with useful guidance on how to prepare for an interview with an employer. After a review of the student CV’s, BDO NI interviewed 23 students. This element of the module facilitates the growth and development of our young people in preparation for the workplace by giving them real life experience, and excellent exposure to one of the top graduate employers in Northern Ireland. I would also like to congratulate Danielle Foster, Caoimhe Tohill and Sarah Murray for the effort they put into delivering an exceptional interview which resulted in them being awarded this year’s prize.”
The overall winner, Danielle, talked about how valuable gaining practical insights from seasoned professionals has been for their development,
“This was my first experience of a professional interview and I found it extremely useful to see how I could apply my own experiences to the competency criteria for this organisation. On a personal front, I found the feedback from the interview process extremely useful as it has built my confidence levels and I feel more assured as I move away from an academic environment.”