Development & Alumni Relations Office 



SCHOLARSHIPS AND NEW JOBS – MEET GRADUATE JOHNNY HANNA, PARTNER IN CHARGE, KPMG IN NORTHERN IRELANDJohnny Hanna, suited with arms folded, in office in front of KPMG branded sign

29 April 2021 (updated 18.05.21)

Newry man Johnny Hanna – Queen’s Law and Accounting graduate (LLB 1995), Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, Chartered Tax Advisor, Associate of the Irish Tax Institute (and former Council member) – leads the Belfast Office of KPMG.

It’s an exciting time to be at the Northern Ireland helm of one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, which boasts operations in 146 countries worldwide, employing close to 227,000 people.

A partner and Head of Tax (2016-19) at the firm, Johnny has over than 21 years’ experience advising leading indigenous and multinational companies on Irish and international tax issues – as well as mergers and acquisitions – across a range of industry sectors.

Previously based in Dublin he became a partner with KPMG in 2006.

Scholarship programme

Last year, Johnny helped launch two KPMG Scholarships offering financial support and work experience for students in Queen’s Management School.

Speaking about the KPMG Queen’s Scholarships Johnny said:

“At KPMG we want to reward excellence and help our people reach their full potential. We are delighted to provide career opportunities and support to two talented students, for the duration of their degree, through a mix of financial support, internships and mentoring.

“The 2021/22 scholarship process is open to students who have a conditional offer from Queen’s Management School and have achieved a high standard of A levels (or equivalent), or alternatively those who have completed the Pathway Opportunity programme at the University.

“This is the second year of the KPMG Scholarship programme and despite the challenges young people have faced since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic we are very pleased to hear about the positive impact the scholarship has had so far for Oliwia and Philip.”

One of the two successful scholarship recipients was Oliwia Osmanowska from Lurgan, soon to complete the first year of her BSc Accounting with French course.

Commenting on what the KPMG Scholarship means to her Oliwia said:  

“My experience with KPMG has been exciting and very welcoming; I was very nervous applying for the scholarship at first but when I heard the news that I got it, I became so much more confident in myself.

“I am looking forward to the new experiences that the scholarship will bring me, such as gaining new skills, meeting new people and learning more about my degree and the paths it can take me on once I graduate.

“The support KPMG have given me is immense, and I am excited to meet the team this summer for my internship where I will focus on tax accounting along with my mentor and other peers.”

Philip Hamill was also awarded a KPMG Scholarship. After securing his place at Queen’s he received an email detailing the scholarship on offer and though at first he too was hesitant about applying he decided the interview experience in itself would be worth it.

Talking about his experience Philip said:

“Ultimately, applying for the scholarship was one of the best decisions I have ever made. While the experience gained from the selection process was invaluable, being awarded the scholarship has not only opened up doors for me in the future but reminds me that people have invested in seeing me succeed, giving me the drive to perform at my highest ability, not only at University but in all facets of life.”

The KPMG Scholarship offers financial support (£3,000 per year), a guaranteed place on KPMG paid summer internship programme in Belfast in year 1 (optional in year 2), a laptop and a KPMG Business Mentor to provide support throughout the duration of the recipient’s degree course.

“The mentorship was one of the aspects that attracted me to the scholarship,” added Philip. “It’s nice to be able to connect with somebody who’s been in a similar position as I am and hear his point of view. On top of this, discussing different career opportunities with him helps me set goals and motivates me to work towards them.

“Getting the opportunity to intern with the firm this summer will also allow me to get a taste for working life as well as giving me a chance to connect with other students considering similar career paths to me.”

KPMG expansion

Future prospects for Oliwia and Philip look good, given the announcement of 200 new jobs by KPMG earlier this year through the establishment of a new Digital Centre of Excellence at its Lanyon Place Soloist Building.

The £14m expansion – the biggest KPMG investment in staff since it opened its first office in Northern Ireland in 1974 – almost doubles its workforce. As a result, the company will be looking to recruit data scientists, data engineers and cyber-security analysts.

Speaking at the time of the announcement, Johnny said: “The creation of the new Centre of Excellence is the next step in the evolution of KPMG in Northern Ireland. We have continually grown the firm to meet the ever-changing demands of our clients and the addition of this digital centre adds an exciting offering, which will have global reach.

“The case for building the team here was made easy by the depth of talent on offer in the digital technology space and the assistance of Invest NI. This investment cements our commitment to Northern Ireland, and we look forward to establishing a world-class team.”

Click here - KPMG Queen’s Scholarships application - to apply for a 2021/22 scholarship. 

To support scholarships and awards at the University go to the Queen’s Foundation Scholarships web page or contact Teresa Sloan, Head of Health Fundraising. 

For general enquiries about this story, or to submit graduate news items, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast.

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