Monday, 27 November 2017

Zack Yanev - Finance placement with GE Renewable Energy

This is a guest post from Zack Yanev, BSc Mangement with Accounting (Year in Business) who is currently doing a finance placement year with GE Renewables in Bracknell. GE (General Electric) attended our recent Employer placement event and are advertising placement positions here:

What is your job role and what projects are you working on?

My job role is within finance. To be more precise, I am a Financial Area Performance Co-ordinator at GE Renewable Energy. The division I work for is Renewable Onshore Wind, hence I deal with onshore windfarms and of course wind turbines. At the moment I am responsible for a number of windfarms within North Europe, mainly UK & Ireland. I support the finance team which deals with a large variety of activities. I deal with suppliers on a daily basis, which gives me the opportunity to raise purchase orders, deal with contractual & transactional invoices as well as assisting with aged debt, stock reconciliations and quarterly PO accruals. I help keep track of how much our contracted technicians work, at which sites and how much that costs us. Currently I am involved in a number of projects one of which gives me chance to work with our Finance Manager and Services Director. I help provide financial information with regards to budgeting and actual spends as well as be in charge of producing daily reports for tracking used labour hours and parts. On the other hand, I also provide weekly updates on our open and closed requisitions in the form of a dashboard.

Another project that I’ve worked on from scratch is our North European Cash Collection Dashboard, which is fully automated and helps our finance team see information in a much more user friendly format by breaking down data by key characteristics which allows us to track disputed invoices for UK, Ireland, Germany, Estonia, Sweden and Poland. I am very pleased to say that my job role has no defined characteristics. Every day is a new challenge and I get involved in various activities and things I have never done before. I’ve been given the chance to work with senior members and great leaders. I’ve had a chance to learn about the world of sales and customer negotiations as well as work with a senior Tax Planning manager. This has helped me learn a lot about the fascinating world of Tax including Corporation Tax and VAT and how those work in a number of different cases. I’ve also had the pleasure to be exposed to a variety of business streams such as HR, Project Management, EHS (Safety), Legal, Sales and much more. In addition to this, my role has enabled me to use Business Intelligence software such as Tableau, which allows us to create interactive project dashboards which are fully automated, drawing their data from Oracle sub-systems and ERP software platforms.

How are you finding the placement?

During my transition to this job I admit I did struggle a little, but persistence is key. Having my manager working from another office in Glasgow meant that I had to pretty much figure most things out on my own. Showing initiative and willingness to run the extra mile and put in the extra effort has however paid off quite well. On the other hand, all people in my office are extremely friendly and very helpful and I have never felt left out on my own even once. My manager is also a call away, who is extremely friendly and has always been there to answer my questions. This placement so far has helped me build my confidence and I now feel free to speak over the phone with other firms, be on conference calls, speak in front of large audiences, communicate effectively and learn a lot about the financial world we live in. Working for a large corporation is nothing like working at a retail store. It has given me the ability to show people that I can be relied upon by providing regular financial information to those who need it, and without which our teams would struggle. It has also helped me see how much being trusted can make a difference in a company’s performance.

Working in Finance / Accounting and within the Energy sector has given me ability to learn things I have never thought of before. For example, the way wind turbines operate, what sources of electricity go into the grid and much more. My team and I attended the annual PowerHouse 2030 conference hosted by KPMG in Canary Wharf, London, which allowed us to look at what the future of transport, heat and electricity could look like. From contracted public electric vehicles and charging your car by using kinetic energy road harvesting, to storing your unused idle electricity into a neighbourhood battery and selling it off to your neighbours or selling it back to the grid. Another very important aspect of my job role is how much Excel there’s into it. I’m glad I did an online training course! No matter your job role, if you don’t excel at Excel, you better roll up your sleeves and get on with it.

The most important take out at the moment that I could share is that Renewable Energy is an ever growing industry and is well worth the investment. It is predicted that by 2050+, most of the energy we use will come from renewable green and clean sources. We don’t hear much about this, but governments are increasingly recognising the value of renewable energy sources and major market players are investing tremendous amounts of money into the future of green energy.

Can you summarise your internship in a sentence?

No. The number of things I’ve learnt so far is way more than what I had learnt at university for the past 2 years. And the funny thing is, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s going to bring forward.

Tips and advice for future students?

I won’t make you read another huge and boring paragraph, but here’s some valuable tips I thought could be useful if you are about to apply for a placement:

1.      Start early & apply early
2.      Talk to people and research the exact areas you’d like to work in
3.      Never refuse on offer only because it doesn’t sound appealing to you! All experience is valuable. It does not mean you’ll work the same thing for the rest of your life. Life could take you anywhere.
4.      Do not give up even if all you’ve got is application rejections.
5.      Research the firm, know what’s expected for the interview and prepare well. However, do not over prepare or learn things by heart.
6.      Be friendly but not too informal.
7.      Apply for as many jobs as you can. Worst thing that can happen is you receiving 10 job offers and having the privilege to choose which one you want the most.
8.      Take an excel course, polish your language abilities (spelling, writing, speaking).
9.      Assessment centres? Tests? Register for an online course and start practicing those over the summer. Make sure you spend a big enough proportion of time preparing until you feel comfortable. 

GE at recent YIB Employer evening (25/9/17)

Previous YIB Alastair Mensah Brown did a marketing placement with GE Capital 2014/15

Previous YIB Bradley Tate did a Business Operations placement with GE healthcare in 2015/16

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