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Currently holding a place on two finance-related graduate schemes. Need advice.

Question

Hello, all. Thanks for reading this. My apologies if this isn’t an appropriate place for this post, but I suspect that some of you may be able to help me.

I’m about to complete my final year at university, and I’m currently holding two job offers. As I have very little experience in these areas, and my university’s careers service hasn’t been particularly helpful, I was wondering if some of you could give me some advice re: which option is likely to yield the most fruit and/or whether my concerns are a unfounded.

**Job 1: Three-year ACA training contract with Mazars (tax).**

Pros:

– Tax seems very interesting.

– The ACA is valuable. CTA sponsorship also available.

– Reasonably quick career progression.

Cons:

– Starting salary is £22,000.

– Not a permanent role, and the firm isn’t gunshy about showing trainees the door if they fall short in the exams.

– I’ve been told that training outside the Big 4 may hamper my chances in corporate/international tax.

– Poor benefits package.

**Job 2: Finance graudate at Tesco.**

Pros:

– Starting salary is £32,000.

– Full CIMA sponsorship.

– Permanent role & flexible exam policy.

– Reasonably good benefits package.

Cons:

– Unclear progression.

– May be limited to retail/FMCG.

It’s probably difficult to offer me any substantive advice without knowing what I’m looking to get out of my career, but I’m afraid I’m still trying to answer that question myself. What would you do if you were in my shoes? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Answers

Someone answered:

I don’t have an understanding of which qualifications are more beneficial. But I would be inclined to go with Tesco. You give the impression the first company is hire/ fire and that’s not an environment you want to work in for obvious reasons.

The fact Tesco pays more shows they value you & your skills. It’s also a household name that would be good for the CV. Whilst the progression may be unclear, I can’t imagine it would be limited at a company of their scale.

Someone answered:

Tesco, no question. Stronger salary, permanent role and with a full CIMA sponsorship you absolutely won't be limited to retail once qualified. I don't really see any pros to the Mazar role besides personal ones like finding tax interesting.

Someone answered:

Congratulations on securing a job! Finance grad myself, so here are my two cents.

The starting salary for Mazars for a tax scheme looks a bit low even for a regional office. All accountancy firms will show the door if you fail exams, each will have their own threshold. I'm unsure about how competitve the later salaries are for Mazars, but even so the Tesco salary is still higher than someone in their third year in a training contract for a big 4.

In my eyes, the Tesco will offer you a more varied role which will help you develop your career and let you decide what you would like to specialise in. Would you be able to study ACA/ACCA with Tesco instead? I would prefer one of those qualifications, again to open up more doors in the future.

Your cons for Tesco is quite vague, "unclear progression" and "May be limited to retail/FMCG" are not tangible disadvantages. (The ones for Mazars are).

I would recommend speaking to a someone already in the Tesco graduate scheme and see what the progression is like, that way you could potentially remove one Con from the list.