Graduate story - Tatyana Kiryakova

Graduate story - Tatyana Kiryakova

Hi, I’m Tatyana Kiryakova. I am 25 and I come from north Bulgaria.

I came to the Netherlands six years ago for my bachelor degree in International Business and Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences. After that I did a premaster at RSM, followed by a master degree in Accounting & Financial Management (MSc AFM). In September 2014 I started my professional career as a trainee at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a global professional services firm.


How did you decide what you would like to do after your studies?

My bachelor degree gave me the opportunity to encounter different aspects from those in the business environment. During those four years I developed a strong interest in accounting and that’s why I decided to start the MScAFM. At that point I did not yet know exactly what I wanted to do or where. I attended a workshop with the ‘big four’ international accounting companies, organised by the RSM students’ study association (STAR). We were introduced to the world of auditing through doing real life cases. I really enjoyed it and found it quite interesting; I decided I would like to work for one of these companies as an auditor.


How did you start your job search and application?

I regularly checked the RSM job portal and I would try to join workshops and presentations organised by student associations. My first big application started during the Erasmus Recruitment Days. I signed up for some presentations, workshops and interviews with companies. One of the interviews was with PwC, which was quite informal.  A week after the interview they called me say I would fit the company and they would like me to start the official application process. After two rounds of interviews in April, I was accepted as a trainee.


When was the first time you had contact with the company you will start working for?

At the end of October 2014, STAR organised workshops with the ‘big four’ international accounting firms. That’s when I encountered PwC for the first time and got a very positive impression of the working environment they offer.


What was the most difficult step or stage in the application process?

For me it was the two rounds of interviews, especially the second one because it was with people at a high level within the company. I am usually a bit insecure when it comes to ‘selling’ myself and finding a way to differentiate myself from hundreds of other applicants. I was very nervous before these interviews because I knew that this was my chance to make a good impression and get my dream job.


What was your strong point or key selling point when comparing yourself to other applicants?

This job really does require social skills. You often change teams and clients and you need to get along with everyone. I think that my extracurricular activities at RSM – such as being the master ambassador for my programme and being on the city trip committee of the international interdisciplinary student association ESN gave me a solid advantage. Moreover, the fact that I am an international student also had a positive effect. PwC believes that it is people with varied backgrounds that make a company successful.


How did your studies help you during this process?

After I decided that I would like to start my professional career in auditing, I chose electives which were required for the auditing track. The subjects we covered during my programme gave me a good knowledge of what auditing is, of auditors’ role is in society and of course the theory behind what they do. I see a lot of the things that we studied coming into my everyday tasks, and into the communications with my job coaches and managers.