I found the experience enjoyable, and I was impressed with how well put together things were, even on such short notice. Having a clear structure to the programme meant that no time felt wasted and each day brought something different. I particularly enjoyed the virtual quiz we took part in on the final day, as it both culminated everything we had learned over the course of the week and also added a fun competitive element.
There was a lot of focus on individual wellbeing, and there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions to the guest speakers. We were encouraged to participate during our group case study tasks, and each group had an individual mentor who provided us with feedback and advice. Because of the nature of the virtual internship, we didn't get chances to carry out work on the firm's behalf, however I still felt that we were treated equally and as responsible adults.
A number of sessions were tailored to supporting interns in various aspects of the business. Employees currently on the graduate scheme spoke to us and gave us advice on how to progress in our career. I found the session on the qualifications gained particularly insightful. For our group case study, we were supported both by our group mentor and by other members of the firm, who allowed us to ask questions, provided feedback and suggested improvements.
The video calls with our case study groups allowed me to improve my teamwork skills and build confidence, especially given the non-traditional format of communication. The insight we received into a career in audit & assurance from the guest speakers has also helped to develop and set clear future goals for myself. The skills sessions, in particular the sessions on presentation and health, have been especially useful to me and I hope to apply them in my daily life going forward.
Each day had a structured timetable, and I felt that for the most part these days were well planned and organised. Our morning sessions allowed plenty of leeway for technological issues, however they also were fairly fast-paced and kept things moving. Our afternoon sessions almost always involved discussion and planning with our case study groups, and this would be broken up with a 15 minute comfort break. I found this effective because it allowed everyone to refresh themselves and gave us time to process information and come up with new ideas.
Although I was slightly nervous before the beginning of the experience as I did not know what to expect, I soon relaxed and felt comfortable with what I was participating in. The use of Menti and the Teams chatbox allowed us to gauge what other people were thinking, and it was encouraging to see others who were feeling the same way as you. The speakers all seemed to have a genuine passion for what they were discussing, and they were honest and receptive to all questions asked.
Our internship was originally supposed to take place within the company offices, however due to covid-19 this wasn't possible. As a result, there wasn't particularly a focus on one-to-one training and development. However, it is understandable as to why, and splitting us up into smaller groups allowed us to personally speak to our mentors and ask any questions we may have had. Many networking opportunities were also provided for those who wanted to converse with employees personally.
Guest speakers and employees gave us insight into what it was like to work for EY, and many described to us how they ended up in the role they currently worked. The virtual experience gave us insight into what it was like for employees currently working at home, and they also would describe to us what their typical day looked like before lockdown. There didn't appear to be a lot of disparity between our specific chosen service line and other lines of the business.
The virtual experience dedicated time to distinguish the company even if we couldn't visit the offices in person. The networking session in particular followed up on this, as speakers from a variety of networks spoke about what their networks accomplished. The internship also showed that the company is dedicated towards diversity and inclusiveness, and in my opinion the various speakers we heard from reflected this. Hearing from current graduates also gave us insight into what it was like to work for the company and sit exams at the same time.
As a student entering into their final year of university, I was very pleased with the level of detail given about how to take the next steps of my career. Following the virtual experience, I have much clearer and more structured career goals in mind, and I have a greater level of confidence that I will be able to achieve these goals. Hearing from those who both currently worked in my chosen service line and who had worked in other areas of the business was also helpful.
There were sessions on aspects of the business such as the EY foundation and the student representatives programme. We also learned that there is a dedicated area of the business which allows employees to take 2 days a year to take part in charity work and volunteer opportunities. The goal of these days was to allow employees to take time out of work to focus on issues that they found were important to them individually.
20th August 2020