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Indeed, it’s a very difficult question to answer, specially when such kind of questions are put up by girls.  Leaving one’s own city at a young age to pursue a career is a bold decision and therefore, requires a lot of thought.  Obviously, in addition to your views and thoughts, this also requires deliberations and discussions within the family members as well.

I have always had a very strong opinion on doing articleship, irrespective of the size of the firm.  Articleship builds a strong foundation of a chartered accountant, and good articleship experience always pay in long term.  And if the articleship is done from good firms, then the whole career progression can take a paradigm shift because good articleship experience is a key in getting your first good job.

At the time of choosing a firm for articleship, it is important that some key points are kept in mind:

1. What is the size of the firm, in terms of the number of partners, staff etc

2. What are the kind of clients – Are there more of domestic clients or international companies

3. Is there any division amongst the partners relating to work, i.e., someone takes care of tax, other takes care of audit.  Or is everyone handling everything

4. What kind of stipend is offered.  Although, at the time of articleship this question is not relevant, but sometimes one can make out the quality/standing of a firm by the amount of stipend that firms pay to its trainees

5. What are the  policies regarding giving time for study leave and attending coaching classes etc

Although, generally at the time of articleship one is needy and ready to take up articelship as soon as possible, answers to some of the above questions would nonetheless be helpful in choosing a good firm.  Even if answer to 3 questions out of the above 5 is in your favour, one should go and join that firm.

Having said the above, I don’t think there is a need for me to justify the fact that if anyone is getting articleship in a good firm, then shifting the city does make sense.  Those three years that you spend in a good firm would make your foundation very strong and there is a very high likelihood that such students get good jobs.  This is because all big organisations look for candidates who have got strong articleship experience.

It is therefore, advisable that if someone is getting an opportunity to complete articleship in a good firm, it should not let go.  However, the family considerations and discussions with parents should be done at length to make them aware of the advantages which would follow if one takes that decision.  And only after such discussions, one should take a conscious decision. 

However, before taking the plunge to shift a city for articleship, you should take into account the following factors:

Cost of living

You need to factor that moving out of your home would mean incurring expenses on your stay and food etc.  It is therefore, advisable to identify the costs associated with your move so that you can take a calculated call. 

One should also do a comparison of cities, for example a student studying in Jaipur or Chandigarh or Lucknow can look for Delhi or Mumbai for articleship and compare which among them would be more expensive to stay.  Since you would be going to travel to your home town, all costs of travel etc should be taken into consideration.

How will your quality of life change

One also needs to understand that every city has its own culture and people and therefore, you should be ready to adjust with that culture and those kind of people.  For example a student from Chandigarh might feel more adjusting in Delhi as compared to Mumbai and similarly, a student from Indore might be more comfortable in Mubai than in Delhi. 

This factor is very important because you would be spending almost 3 years of your student life in that city and apart from studies you would be exploring the city as well.  Therefore, it is important that your non-academic interests are also aligned to the city, which eventually would make you happy.

Always identify places where student community is high

Now that you have taken a decision to stay alone from your parents, it is important that you are surrounded by people with whom you can interact, play, learn and enjoy your articleship period.  I therefore, suggest that identify your accomodation at a place where you can enjoy the most.  Enjoyment here does not mean wasting your time, but it means the place where you are mentally happy to be so that you can focus with utmost devotion on your studies.

Be ready to accept the hard life

The life of a student and that too of a chartered accountancy student is very hectic as it involves managing your time between articleship, studies and family.  When you are out of your home town, you would be expected to do a lot of things including household chores yourself and therefore, an additional stress.  Be ready to take this challenge with ease because people who have accepted this challenge have done well in their lives.

Remember what Spartan Warriors used to say:

“Those who sweat more in training, bleed less in war”

Your articleship and study period is when you would be expected to sweat more and the more you sweat there, the less you would bleed in your career.  Which means that the more seriously you take your training and studies, the more your chances to excel in life, get excellent jobs and earn handsomly.

Having said this, shifting city no doubt would also make you a stronger person as it would not only test your patience but also your time and people management skills.  You would be coming out of your comfort zone, away from parents and friends and therefore, also improve your networking skills.

So think long term…

Authored by Nimish Goel, a qualified chartered accountant who’s passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life.  Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe.  He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com.  He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog. 

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