EY Summer Internship within Transaction Advisory Services (Corporate Finance - Infrastructure).
The past 6 weeks that I have spent with EY have been memorable. To be able to experience the bustle of London, work in an office full of kind and ambitious people and gain a practical insight into my desired career path has been thoroughly enjoyable and eye-opening. I couldn't recommend this opportunity enough for those considering applying, as it has provided me with a valuable first flavour of the working adult lifestyle and allowed me to better understand my career aspirations after University.
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Throughout the 6 weeks, my colleagues were extremely welcoming and helped me to settle in quickly by inviting me to lunches and team socials. The team also took an interest in my own background and motivations for interning with EY, and were more than happy to discuss their own experiences and ongoing projects; all of which made me feel valued and part of the team dynamic. After consulting my team, I was also invited to two client meetings and an engagement committee where new proposals were discussed by senior partners, which showed that my colleagues respected my desire to understand how EY liaise with their clients and how projects are established. My team were always willing to arrange and facilitate opportunities that would enhance the value of my experience at the firm, and were more than happy to provide honest and constructive feedback on any work that I had supported.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by my designated councillor; a manager within the team, and my buddy; a first-year analyst. I quickly felt at ease, as we chatted casually about our backgrounds, studies and personal interests over cups of coffee, which added a human side to the daunting prospect of working for such a huge firm. I was also introduced to the Intern Champion; an executive who had volunteered to help guide the CF interns and ensure that we enjoyed our time at the firm. He scheduled us into weekly progress meetings every Friday, where he updated us on upcoming intern-related tasks such as feedback deadlines and an EY Foundation charity event which we had to organise. These group meetings also allowed us to share the work that we had been involved in and continually reflect upon our progress, as well as raise any queries that we had. In general, my team were always more than happy to venture out of the office for casual coffee catch-ups if I asked to learn more about their project or simply wanted to seek further advice. I also quickly felt at ease when asking for support with work, navigating the EY Portal and filling in my time sheets for example, as I was always given a sense of direction and constantly reassured that there is no such thing as a silly question.
My working schedule throughout the 6 weeks was predominantly shaped by my own initiative to voluntarily hop on projects and support my colleagues. After all, I was encouraged by my team to seek opportunities rather than wait for people to approach me. I began my internship completing small one-off tasks across a wide range of projects for different colleagues, yet as I began to build trust with the team and demonstrate my competency where possible, I was able to focus my working hours on two particular projects. This allowed me to develop my knowledge of specific industries and create close working relationships with tight-knit teams. I did occasionally have quiet periods where my colleagues didn't require my input or where the work required experienced involvement instead. However, I spent these days completing business development research for a potential future proposal and studying online EY learning modules to aid my understanding of the service line.
I was entrusted with many technical tasks such as investigating company financials, researching potential buyers for sell-side M&A transactions and assessing industry data to establish trends, which did contribute to the team's final deliverables for clients. However, the extent of my contribution was understandably limited by my lack of experience, industry knowledge and technical understanding of financial modelling without undergoing any formal training. On occasion, I also completed more general tasks such as formatting presentations and proof-reading client materials, which although less challenging, did allow my colleagues to prioritise more productive tasks; much to their gratitude.
In terms of technical skills, the work that I conducted particularly helped me to develop my competence with Microsoft Office; particularly with shortcuts and advanced tools in Excel and PowerPoint, which the team use on a daily basis. However, whilst my team were more than happy to explain the purpose and functionality of their financial models, I was not able to gain any hands-on experience in constructing these, which I might have found worthwhile. Despite this, I was able to make use of EY's external resources portal, which allowed me to assess the latest transactions, calls for bids and financial information belonging to businesses; all of which provided valuable exposure to the corporate finance environment. Ultimately, the practical knowledge that I have gained will be invaluable for my final year of degree, as engaging in real-life M&A processes, witnessing adviser-client relationships first-hand and working closely with the financial statements has provided me with a tangible insight into my University studies.
I absolutely loved the atmosphere within the office, as the range of personalities within the team definitely complement one another, which allowed for some enjoyable and hilarious conversations. I highly valued the flexible working culture within the firm, as I was able to progress with my tasks each day without the fear of receiving criticism for taking necessary breaks or inciting short informal conversations with the team. The hot desk system also meant that I was able to sit next different members of the team every day and forge new connections from start to finish. Overall, it amazed me that whilst the team is given tremendous freedom in terms of where and how they choose to work, such as by wearing earphones or grazing on snacks throughout the day, the office remains incredibly productive, motivated and positive in its nature.
Until I arrived at the office on my first day, I was not informed of the specific team that I would be joining within the CF division. Furthermore, I was not aware that I would be one of 6 CF interns, which although was not essential prior knowledge, would have reassured me that there were other people in my shoes. Despite this, the general logistics of the internship were clearly laid out, as my councillor, buddy and Intern Champion ensured that I was informed of any upcoming deadlines, team socials and other intern tasks. This meant that I always felt in the loop and was never surprised by any sudden activities that appeared in my calendar. Plus, although I experienced some quiet working days, I would attribute this to the initiative-driven nature of the internship rather than a lack of organisation. After all, the wide array of projects within the CF division progress at different paces, and therefore require flexibility in responding to sudden changes. As such, I appreciate that it would have been unauthentic to establish 6 weeks of pre-set tasks in such a dynamic service line.
We were informed that if we collected positive feedback, pro-actively engaged in as many opportunities as possible and showed our desire to re-join the team during our appraisal meeting with the team's partner (held in the final week), we may be fortunate enough to receive a graduate offer. We were also told that any requests to swap service line or defer our place would be assessed on a case-by-case basis, although there can be flexibility.
On the first day of the internship, the entire intake of summer interns attended a day of formal presentations to introduce us to the firm and clarify formal procedures. We were also provided with a catered lunch and invited to an evening social event at a bowling alley and bar in Shoreditch, which allowed us to socialise with one another and establish connections early on. During the 6 weeks, my fellow CF interns and I particularly formed a strong bond as a small group, as we attended many team social events together, collectively organised a charity bake sale in the office on behalf of the EY Foundation, and helped to arrange a final social event with our buddies, councillors and Intern Champion.
London Bridge is a truly amazing office location for social activities. The views from the office are phenomenal, as you are surrounded by iconic attractions such as the Shard, HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge and City Hall, as well as graced with skyscraper views of the Gherkin and Walkie-Talkie building across the River Thames. All of these places are in close walkable proximity, and even by the sixth week, the awe of the location hadn't sunk in. On Friday evenings, my fellow interns and I attended live karaoke gigs at the Scoop; a venue next to the office which also showcased sporting events on a large screen throughout the week. After work, team socials were held at nearby bars and pubs, which were always fun and informal, and allowed me to get to know my team on a personal level.
The team regularly held social evenings at nearby bars and pubs after work on Thursdays, which I was invited to attend along with my fellow CF interns. My colleagues were always welcoming and more than happy to introduce me to members of different teams and service lines, which allowed me to gauge a wider perspective of the firm and experience EY's sociable culture.