Opening Professional Doors

By Veljko Dimitrijevic (UGRAD 2012-13)

While I was studying at the Illinois State University (ISU) in Normal, IL last year, I was looking for an internship, which was an important part of the Global UGRAD Program. I can honestly say that the process of applying for an internship in the US made me think about making a bigger step forward in my profession. After all, the focus of the Global UGRAD Program that I participated in with other scholars from Serbia was to prepare us to do bigger and better things back home. Last spring, I decided to try my luck and apply for a newly opened position at Ernst & Young Serbia (EY), one of the Big 4 auditing companies.

When I came back to Belgrade, I was invited to do a test, which was the first step in a highly competitive selection process at EY. It included four tests: English proficiency test, numerical and logical reasoning exams, and personality test. While I am certain that my English level before the UGRAD program would have been enough to successfully pass the English test, I feel that the year that I spent at the College of Business at ISU helped me gain the advanced knowledge of business English required to achieve an above average score on both numerical and logical reasoning tests.  Veljko at E&Y

After the successful completion of the round of tests, I was called for a series of interviews. I met with several staff members, each time of a higher rank, until I finally reached the fourth and last round with a Managing Partner of EY Serbia. I must admit that at every step of the interview process the interviewer highlighted something from my US experience on the UGRAD program. I feel that having an academic year in the US on my resume helped me distinguish myself from other candidates. It was healthy competition and my US experience proved to be invaluable in overcoming such stiff competition and differentiating myself from the rest.

The knowledge and experience that I gained while working with the advanced auditing and accounting software at ISU was something my future managers wanted to hear more about. During one of the interviews, I had an interesting discussion on the topic of unequal distribution of wealth, which I singled out in my Global UGRAD application to be one of the greatest challenges of my generation.

This experience of studying in the US was crucial for me to pass every single one of the four rounds of interviews successfully. The practical skills and knowledge gained during my year at ISU are going to be of tremendous help in my new job as a member of the Assurance Department at the global firm that has been proclaimed to be one of the best companies to work for year after year.

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