Kateřina Kortová was born in Nové Město na Moravě, and currently lives in Jersey, a small British island that is part of the Channel Islands. She has been working there for PricewaterhouseCoopers CI LLP as an Associate for almost a year and a half and so far she has successfully passed her ACCA exams.
She finished her studies at the IES in 2013 with a master's degree. A year later, she gained another master's degree at the Tilburg University in the Netherlands. After she studied she started working as an Accounting Analyst in the Slovak branch of IBM. In August 2015, she moved to Jersey to work in the Advisory practice at PwC.
During her studies at the IES, Kateřina worked for more than a year at PwC Czech Republic in the Business Recovery Services and later as a secretary of the Turnaround Management Association Czech Republic. She also completed an internship at the office of the Chief Economist at Komercni banka.
When you finished your studies at the IES, you started to study another Master degree in the Netherlands. Why did you decide to study further master abroad?
During my studies at the IES, I did not apply to an Erasmus program or other student exchange programs. While I was finishing my studies, I realized that I was missing this experience and therefore, I looked for other opportunities of how to broaden my experiences. Together with my partner, we explored several alternatives and we decided that studying another master degree was the best option for us. The Netherlands were a logical and only option for us, since their requirements and conditions suited us (one-year Master degree, language requirements and study prerequisites, specialization). Moreover, I fell in love with Tilburg when I first visited it during my summer vacation.
While you were studying at the IES you also worked in PwC as an intern. How much do you think this experience has helped you with the application process for PwC Channel Islands? How did you find out this opportunity?
I recognized the internship in PwC Prague as a great opportunity as well as a great challenge due to the fact that I had to balance my work related responsibilities with keeping up with my studies and passing the exams. This experience has helped me not only to obtain my current job, but to manage my time now when I am both working and preparing myself for my ACCA exams. I believe that the internship has opened many doors for me and together with the recommendation from my colleagues, it was definitely a benefit and valuable experience in my CV.
While I was finishing my master studies in Tilburg, I was looking for employment opportunities. After the year living in the Netherlands, I wanted to gain some work related experience from abroad as well. To be honest, I found the vacancies for PwC Jersey a bit by coincidence through the UK branch web pages. The graduate program caught my attention due to fact that person gets work experience while getting the ACCA qualification as well.
You have experience from several international companies – PwC, IBM and Société Générale. Are there noticeable differences among them in terms of the corporate culture and working conditions, or would you say that the working environment is comparable?
I had an opportunity to experience the work conditions in three international firms/companies and from my point of view the corporate culture together with the working conditions are not comparable and each experience was completely different. On the other hand, each one has broadened my skills, experiences and view, and finally they helped me to form my own view on what I would like to do in the future. From my point of view, one of the reasons for the huge differences between the firms is that they operate in completely different industries. There is a different corporate culture adapted in a bank compared to an audit/advisory firm or a company from the information technologies industry. Secondly, the back-office position is hardly comparable to a client facing position. From this perspective, as an IES Alumni, one has a wide range of career opportunities.
How do you find living on a small island? Do you have any friends from the Czech Republic? Have you managed to fit into the local community?
Living on an island, especially one as small as Jersey, is another interesting experience. So far I am really glad to be here. At the beginning, it was a bit strange that everything is so close and that one can drive around the island in a short while. On the other hand, it has several benefits, including that everything is so close and there is no long commute to work needed since it is within St Helier and one can walk to work. Furthermore, it is really interesting and surprising how many social events are happening all over the year and how busy the island gets (especially during the summer).
Another benefit of a small island is that people seem to be closer here and that anytime you are walking on the main street you can meet someone you know. It is then quite logical that most of the people that I have met so far are my colleagues as well. Within our office there is a great variety of nationalities. Therefore, one can get to know not only local people but many interesting people from different parts of the world. Not surprisingly, I have some colleagues from both the Czech Republic and Slovakia who we regularly meet outside of work too.
One of your hobbies that you enjoy is cooking. What meals do you like to cook and for whom? What cuisine is your favorite?
Cooking is one of my passions also due to fact that my mom is an amazing cook. I am still trying to bring some of my recipes to perfection. Due to fact that I am missing Czech cuisine here, I am trying to cook traditional meals as often as possible. I love to host dinner parties, but due to time constraints I am not doing them as often as I would like to. However, the reactions were positive so far. Especially, the roasted beef in cream vegetable sauce with dumplings or the roasted duck with red cabbage and potato dumplings were highly appreciated by my local friends. However, I must admit that it is sometimes a challenge to cook our traditional meals here due to availability of certain ingredients.
From the cuisine point of view, I was really surprised by the variety of Jersey restaurants since it is a combination of traditional English and French cuisine. Moreover, the selection is really great here, starting from aromatic Indian food, through the delicious Portuguese cuisine, up to the excellent Japanese Sushi. After all, I always enjoy traditional Fish & Chips with mushy peas and local tartar sauce.