The road from Aeronautical Engineering to EQ

Category: EQ NewsPeople - Posted On: Dec 17 2018

Aiden McIntyre – CA Trainee

Each year, we recruit a new batch of trainees and the majority of the 2018 intake of seven, who are spread across our offices in Dundee, Forfar, Glenrothes and Cupar, are accountancy / finance graduates. However, when it comes to our trainee ‘wishlist’, we are seeking more than financial prowess.

As part of our commitment to identifying the right calibre of graduate, regardless of their discipline, we welcomed Aiden McIntyre, an Aeronautical Engineering graduate from the University of Glasgow.

Aiden, who was born and brought up in Glasgow, had always enjoyed maths and physics so, as he approached his final years at school, engineering seemed the natural, next step. However, as his Masters degree progressed, his interests changed.

“During my third year at University, I embarked on an internship with an engineering company. Around 90% of my tasks were centred on engineering, with the rest related to the business aspects of the company, such as project management and costings. I soon realised that I was more interested in the business side of the projects than the actual engineering, making me wonder if I should consider a different career path altogether.”

Having won a scholarship from The Robertson Trust’s ‘Journey to Success Programme’, Aiden benefitted from many networking and mentoring opportunities so, after graduating with an MEng Aeronautical Engineering degree in 2017, Aiden decided to reach out to his network of contacts for some advice. Considering a range of different options, he finally decided to consider a Chartered Accountancy training contract, which he felt would provide him with the technically and numerically challenging career he was seeking. However, although aeronautical engineering may on the surface sound drastically different from accountancy, there are strong similarities, particularly in relation to the problem-solving aspects of each profession.

Aiden explained; “The thought process involved in engineering and accountancy is remarkably similar. Both require close attention to detail and an aptitude for working with numbers but, more importantly, both have a significant impact on real life. Each and every figure we are working with in accountancy has a real life implication, in the way that engineering does, so it’s about understanding what these figures relate to and their impact on the business and the scenarios it faces. My degree may not be directly related to accountancy but it’s definitely a useful asset, with many transferable skills. On a more general level, at university, you have exams every semester, so you’re building up a work ethic which is definitely needed for pursuing the CA qualification.”

Aiden then went on to conduct his own research, pro-actively attending ICAS ‘Become a CA’ events, where he was first introduced to Katie Edward, Human Resources Assistant and Chris Price, CA trainee based in our Glenrothes office. Impressed by our focus on people, from both a client and staff perspective, Aiden decided to apply for our graduate training scheme and was delighted to be accepted, taking up the position in August 2018.

He added; “The recruitment process wasn’t all about aptitude tests – it really focussed on graduates’ personal qualities. I’m now three months into my training contract and it’s even better than I expected. When you’re younger, deciding what to do with your life, you always wonder if you’re making the right decision and leaving engineering to pursue a completely different career in a new city was obviously a serious shift. However, I have no doubt that I’ve made the right decision and, although there is a lot of work ahead, juggling a full-time job with some serious study commitments, it will definitely be worthwhile.”

Our 2019 Chartered Accountancy Traineeships are now live and you can apply using our online application form. We are also offering applications for Internships for Summer 2019 – with a six week placement, giving you invaluable experience in working with a progressive accountancy practice before making a decision on your future career. This is an ideal way to see what life is like at EQ, and to see if accountancy is for you. You can read more about the packages we offer and from our previous students on our Graduate page.

So, what is Aiden’s advice to anyone working towards a degree but contemplating a new direction?

“My advice would be not to just sit there but to get out there, make inquiries and use your networks. Your degree does not define you, or limit your opportunities. You can focus on your transferable skills and how they might apply to a range of different industries.”