The virtual experience surpassed all of my initial expectations. Originally, I was due to undertake a 6 week paid internship within the Strategy & Transactions team within EY, however, due to COVID-19, this was unfortunately cancelled. Unlike most other large firms, EY decided not to completely forget about us, and instead ran a week-long virtual internship, which provided learning opportunities within the department as a whole, as well as my sub service line, and allowed ample opportunities for networking.
In the afternoons, the interns were split up into their individual sub-service lines. In my instance, this was Transaction Strategy & Execution. The TS&E team couldn't have made me feel more welcome and valued. They arranged various individuals from each service offering to deliver presentations and case-studies for us, to get us involved and begin to get a taster of what to expect within the role. All the presenters were friendly, open to any and all questions and made the time fly by.
Within my TS&E team, I was assigned both a counsellor and a buddy, two current employees at various points of their career progression, who were always easily accessible for any guidance or questions I had. They were visible during most calls, but outside these two helpful people, every individual was completely open to questions and I was reassured that there are no stupid questions. Not once did I felt left alone, or stuck, with no one to go to.
Throughout the week, we had a number of learning seminars, covering the topics of presentation skills, time management, how to work well as a team, etc. These skills are easily transferable to both university life as well as any future careers. I specifically enjoyed the presentation skills talk, the presenter was clear and entertaining, and delivered some unique tips on a skill which is so vital in the consulting career path, as well as helping me develop a skill which I'm not 100% confident with.
The virtual experience was primarily split into two. In the mornings, all the Transactions & Strategy interns were placed together in a call, where we had talks on EY and its runnings, as well as live streams with all EY summer interns concerning learning vital skills. In the afternoons, we were split off into our smaller, sub-service lines, which provided a much more interactive and relevant afternoon, showcasing what the job we had applied for involved.
The general atmosphere was hugely positive, with lots of people from all around the service taking part to share their knowledge and experiences with us. I received a lot of fantastic advice and undertook several useful case studies led by enthusiastic speakers which has definitely helped me develop and only bolstered my excitement for joining the graduate scheme in the following year. The support was always there and I was never afraid to get involved.
As mentioned before, the company ran several learning seminars which were very useful for developing some of the key skills for success within EY. We were then able to utilise what we had just learnt in the case study sessions, bolstering the skills and making it clear that EY were truly invested in their interns' success and wanted to develop them ready to join the firm as part of the graduate scheme the following year.
The experience was sadly only one week, as opposed to the originally planned 6, so it was hard to get an accurate portrayal of day to day life within EY. To try and make up for this, there were several panels and Q&As with people from various regions and parts of TAS, so there were plenty of opportunities to find out about full time roles within EY. We also had the opportunity to talk to a partner, who could provide an overarching view of life at EY.
Thanks to the vast number of speakers, presentations and panels, the companies culture was presented to us clearly and quickly. We had the options to ask questions on the culture, and the case study sessions allowed us to experience putting the culture into practice and seeing how it influences the actions and decisions of EY workers. Speaking to partners was again eye-opening, as it allowed us to see that everyone at EY works together, it doesn't follow an archaic hierarchal structure.
This virtual experience has confirmed my desire to undertake the EY graduate scheme in 2021, I was able to find out exactly the kind of work I'd be doing, who I'd be doing it with and the details around it. I learnt about the variety in the job, something very important to me, and every single case study gripped me in a way I wasn't expecting, so I can't wait to take this forward as a career.
Unlike several other firms who cancelled their summer experiences, EY not only offered a weeks virtual experience, they also paid for the week. The salary matched what we would've been paid had the full 6 weeks have gone ahead, except obviously we are paid for just the one week. This was a small, but greatly appreciated, way to encourage people to take part and helped ease the fact we had lost a 6 week long paid job.
As mentioned before, there was a lot of Q&As, panels and 1-2-1s throughout the week, allowing us to meet people all through the company, from people currently on the grad scheme, all the way up to partners. Everyone was very welcoming and through LinkedIn, it is easy to begin to build up a network of useful employees within EY, ready for me when I start the grad scheme. These familiar faces will make the transition from university life to working life much easier.
The networking opportunities were well run and had a good breadth of employee, from several different regions in the UK as well as from all positions within our chosen sub-service lines. My only gripe was there was minimal chances to actually interact with the other interns. In the mornings, when all the TAS interns were together, we were simply an audience for a speaker, rather than meeting and working with one another. This was rectified in the afternoons within our smaller, sub service lines, however, I didn't meet any interns from outside TS&E.
Yes, we did. We had talks on the EY Foundation, a charity based on improving social mobility. It was also made clear that all EY employees have a minimum of 2 days paid leave to undertake volunteer work on an action of their choice, a unique and highly welcome initiative that allows us to help with problems close to our hearts, and it is refreshing to see this supported so strongly by a successful, large firm like EY.
Absolutely, if you are at all interested in accounting, specifically the transactions side, this is a great experience to learn the ins and outs of the business. No prior business/economics knowledge is needed, its almost encouraged to not know anything as that in itself provides new opportunities and views. All the employees I interacted with were enthusiastic and supportive, and made the week a joy to be a part of, selling EY as the place I want to work.
14th August 2020