"I just saw God open doors and present me with opportunities that I never even thought were possible."
After considering whether it was time to go to University, Edward decided to apply for the Internship and seek what God's plan was for his future. Two years later he is now preparing to join the world-leading professional services firm Deloitte as part of their audit team. Read Edward's inspiring account of how The Internship gave him a new vision for his life and catapulted him further than he ever expected.
You can check out more amazing stories from The KCI Internship Alumni here.
What were you planning to do after you finished school?
My plan was to go to university, simply because that's what everyone does! I started to apply for medicine at a number of different universities but didn't get the places that I'd hoped for. I kept applying and still planned to pursue that idea.
What happened then?
People kept telling me about the church Internship!
And what did you think about that?
Initially I didn't think it was relevant to me at all. I didn't see how working in the church office would help me with medicine or what I was planning to go into next. I was looking at it with a view point of 'leave school, go to university, get a job'. So I didn't give it any real thought.
Something clearly changed your mind...
I was actually thinking one night about what I wanted for my life and what I wanted to accomplish. The results from my A-Level exams had made a lot of options available to me but I just felt I shouldn't follow what everyone else was doing and see what God had planned for me.
During one of the sessions at the G12 UK Conference 2015 I had a real encounter with God and knew that He was speaking to me specifically about this decision. I didn't know what yet but I started to look further into the option of studying medicine and felt that it wasn't actually what I wanted to do.
My first thought was to just change the subject and study what I really enjoyed at school which was maths. But God started to challenge me to think of the bigger picture and longer term. What will this decision actually lead to? Where would a degree in maths actually take me? Finance, banking, teaching?
That's when I felt I should just have a look at what this Internship was really about. And as I looked further I realised that they offered roles in the finance department and the school. And it started to make more sense. Even if I went on to study maths this is what I needed to do to get the experience in those areas and see if this is what I was called to do.
So I went for it.
So in 2015 you were accepted into The Internship. What was your role during that year?
I spent three days a week at the church. Two and a half days in the finance department and one morning a week helping out as a teaching assistant in the school.
What did you find when you started working?
Although I had been quite bright at school and did really well in my exams, it was completely different for me to do practical jobs in finance! It really helped me go back to basics. I was also working part-time for another company in a similar role and when I compared the two I really noticed how much more I was learning and taking from my days in the church office.
Why do you think it was like that?
The people in the church really believed in me as an individual. They got to know me on a personal level and that allowed me to be stretched and challenged based on my ability and potential rather than just my experience. I was given greater responsibility and position and simply could learn and help more. I didn't feel like a trainee but like a real part of the team.
Also, the church has so many different moving parts to it. My role didn't begin and end with finance. I was able to attend weekly leadership training from church pastors and industry professionals.
I had the opportunity to travel as part of The Internship and went to Bogota, Colombia where I experienced what the G12 Vision is all about. I grew up in the church and think I understood what we did as a church but found that I didn't really know what it meant for me. Seeing it all for myself had a massive impact on me.
On a personal level, I developed so much. I learnt how to have a great devotional, how to be a faithful disciple and I was honestly just transformed by the different culture that the church represents.
How did that experience change your decisions for after The Internship?
I actually applied to university again after my first year and got a place to do maths and economics but I still didn't feel entirely settled by it. My time on The Internship had opened my eyes to what the world of finance was really about. So I started to spend time looking for jobs that were actually in industry. I applied for positions in what's called The Big Four in the finance industry to work on their undergraduate programmes and find something that would give me a professional qualification.
What decision did you make in the end?
While I was applying for those roles an opportunity opened up to work on a short-term contract at the church in the finance team, which I went for straight away! I deferred my place at university and ended up spending another year after The Internship working in the KCI office while going through the lengthy applications processes for the Big Four.
How did those applications go?
When I was having interviews with the different companies I found that they were really interested in what I had been up to during my gap year. They were impressed at how much experience I already had, and how much I already knew about the industry, not just from reading up online or from studying but because of the responsibilities I had been given and the positions that I had already been in straight from school.
They really noticed the culture of the office shining through me. A culture of excellence, of building each other up, of team work, of humility. A lot of high flyers would be very self centred and self driven. But it's people that leave those characteristics aside that they want to employ.
Did you end up getting a position at one of the firms?
In January of this year, I had a response from the company Deloitte offering me a position within their audit scheme. I start there after the summer in 2017!
You started unsure about university and the direction you were going. Now you're heading to one of the leading firms in the world without needing a degree! How would you say you got to this position?
I think it all started to happen when I put God's plan for my life ahead of my own. Instead of looking at what I wanted, I was looking at whether this was what God had called me to do, is this a door that He's opening. And just staying prayerful in everything! When I put my things to the side and poured myself into The Internship and into serving I just saw God open doors and present me with opportunities that I never even thought were possible.
What would you say to people that are in the same situation as you were two years ago and are unsure of whether The Internship is the right place for them?
In the grand scheme of things, one year out of eighty is not that many! I think that the earlier you do it, the earlier you surrender and submit yourself to God then the more room he has to bless you afterwards. These two years working at the church have marked my life. Marked in such a way that it won't end when I leave the office but where I can continue to reap the rewards down the line because of what was sowed during my time on The Internship.
Applications are now open for The Internship 2017-18. You can find out more about the roles and requirements by clicking here. We look forward to hearing from you! If you'd like to read more stories from The Alumni click the button below.