Choosing corporate practice for your first job

In this interview, recent graduates Lorna Beeley and Karolina Deptula discuss why they opted for corporate practice when looking for their first job after graduation.


Lorna Beeley, recent graduate Karolina Deptula

(top) Lorna Beeley and (above) Karolina Deptula


Why did you decide to opt for a corporate group for your first job?

Lorna: I didn’t enter my job search with a corporate vs independent mindset – I was open to both and interviewed at all types of practice. My main goal was finding a practice that not only had multiple experienced vets, but also experience employing new graduates, so everyone knew the level of support that would be required initially. 

I knew I could get along with Sam and Helen (the joint venture partners [JVPs] at Vets4Pets Cardiff Bay) as soon as I met them, and they actively encouraged me to contact their previous new grads and were more than happy for me to see a day of practice life before making a decision. After taking time to consider, I realised the salary and hours were better than other corporate and independent practice offers, there were no out-of-hours duties required and the location was perfect. I honestly started the job fearing it just was too good to be true, but it has ended up being much more than I ever hoped!

Karolina: I wasn’t too sure where to apply as a new graduate, as I did hear good and bad things about working with corporate groups. I discovered Vets4Pets during a university conference and the group instantly stood out to me. I liked the idea of a structured programme focusing on bettering new graduates’ skills, while providing extra support and a community to rely on.

Was the role promoted to you at vet school? 

Lorna: I went to Nottingham vet school, which made me aware of lots of different options and opportunities, including Vets4Pets, but I actually came across the group independently. One of my housemates went to the Vets4Pets interview day and it was through her that my eyes were opened to its graduate programme and very competitive salary. 

Karolina: In our final year of vet school (I graduated from SGGW Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland) we organised meetings with different corporates that came all the way to Poland to meet us. It gave me the opportunity to have a peek into what corporates are, what they offer and how they differ from independent practices in terms of packages.

Did you consider independent practice? 

Lorna: I considered independent practice very seriously, but as soon as I met Helen and Sam and they shared their ideas for the new grad role, I knew it was a setup that would suit me better than other practices I had considered.

Karolina: I considered all options, but I was most interested in a set ‘graduate programme’ – the most important aspect for me was the level of support offered to smooth the transition between university and practice.

How did you apply?

Lorna: I applied to the new grad scheme and had an initial phone interview with Sarah at Support Office. She immediately took on board what I was looking for and passed my details onto Helen at Cardiff Bay. I remember double checking with her – ‘This is a practice…in Cardiff…who are specifically looking for a new graduate?’ I couldn’t believe how easily she found the option for me, after my months of searching! 

Karolina: I applied online to the Vets4Pets graduate programme and they reached out to me for a phone call to touch base. They asked me about my experience, my expectations and where I would like to work, then connected me with practices that matched what I was looking for.

What benefits have you seen to working as part of a larger group as opposed to an independent?

Lorna: I think there are pros and cons to all practices. Vets4Pets’ two-year graduate scheme offers opportunities to meet hundreds of new grads in the same boat and in the same area, which appealed hugely. The other thing I noticed was that the salary automatically increased in the second year of the grad scheme. This was a big perk for me, and it was nice knowing that everyone else on the grad scheme was on the same – it felt really fair. 

Karolina: I think being part of such a big group has multiple advantages – the support network is extended beyond the clinic. We are part of a bigger community where we can share and exchange our experience whenever needed. We have regular reviews – beside our JVP, the group regularly checks on us as well. They offer a nice package in terms of CPD and training, which in my opinion is the greatest advantage to being a new grad in a corporate.

Do you see yourself progressing to be JVPs at some point? Would you consider moving to an independent practice?

Lorna: I enjoy the clinical side of veterinary practice, but the management side does not appeal to me personally at the moment. I have so much respect for JVPs and the work they do. In terms of independent practice, if the right setup, team and career opportunities arose, I would consider it. But corporate or independent doesn’t really bother me, it is more the people for me.

Karolina: I will definitely consider all options for the future. I would like to gain further experience and possibly specialise in an area of interest before I would feel ready to take on a JVP role.

  • The Vets4Pets Graduate Programme is recruiting for its 2021 cohort and will remain open until the available places have been filled. For more information, and to apply, click here.

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