1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Scholarship Intern within the Advisory Financial Services department. This means I could be involved in anything from auditing to calculating risk to writing reports. I have had placements in Risk and Regulatory - Financial Crime. On a daily basis I tend to do a lot of proof reading, checking calculations, building Excel spreadsheets, arranging meetings and team social events, writing emails to clients and preparing presentations. Naturally, not all the jobs you are given can be interesting, but they are all important and give you responsibility for your own work.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Whilst there are no official qualifications with the Scholarship Programme, you do pick up a lot of valuable skills. My work with Excel has improved hugely and I have become much better at writing emails appropriately and in the "EY style". You also develop a lot of personal skills such as networking, team work, self-evaluation and communication. My communication skills have improved in particular as I have taken feedback on board and communicating with a wide variety of people from across the world forces to you be a sensitive communicator.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the level of responsibility you get as you feel (and are!) making a real contribution to the project(s) you are working on. I particularly enjoy the friendly atmosphere at EY which is helped by the hot desking system. As nobody has an office, you can find yourself sitting next to all types of interesting colleagues every day. Although there is pressure to meet deadlines, which is understandable, there is little need to work outside of your contracted hours if you are a productive and efficient individual. The only thing you need to consider is that the Scholarship Programme is a large time commitment as it spreads over 3 to 4 years and the placements take up a large portion of your university summer holidays. This makes it difficult to fit in other things you may want to do.
4. How valued do you feel by EY?
During your placements at EY you gather feedback from all the people you have worked with which demonstrates how much your efforts and help is appreciated. Additionally, I have been asked to help with external events such as promoting the EY Schools programmes at schools around the country. I have also helped out with Experience Days when I can make them. They have also been very accommodating when I needed to change the dates of my internships for my year abroad to Holland. This makes me feel that they are genuinely interested in trying to keep me attached to EY.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction days are very well organised and vary each year depending how far along in the Scholarship Programme you are. They give you a chance to catch up with everyone else on the programme again after a years apart. EY are also concerned with your welfare and allocate you a graduate or associate to act as your buddy. They are a useful information point to ask questions that you are too afraid to ask of your team. They are also a friendly face and help you to get to know those in your department. On the performance side of things, a counsellor helps guide you to the departments you want to work in and to get the most out of your summer placements. Other than that the organisation of my programme is down to you and the teams you work in. If you want more work you need to seek it out. I have found that some project teams are more organised in giving you tasks to complete, whereas some need reminding on occasion!
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
During my time at EY I have felt well supported throughout, without anyone being overbearing and you being able to take the initiative. The training provided during the summer placements was thorough and wasn't patronising which could have been the case due to your age when you enrol in the programme.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As mentioned above, your buddy and counsellor are your key points of support during your time at EY. However, you will find that everyone is more than happy to help if you have questions or just want advice about how to go about a particular task.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
When I first started on the programme accommodation was provided for you. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case and you must either commute or pay for your own accommodation in London. I am lucky in that I can commute, but this still takes up half my salary and living in London would probably mean breaking even with my salary. Therefore, although the salary is very generous for an intern it is still difficult to meet the expensive cost of being in London. However, all work socials and nights out are paid for which means that you only have to cover living and travel costs on your salary.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Social opportunities outside of work depend on how sociable your project team is. However, within the Scholarship Programme there are many events for you to keep up with everyone and enjoy yourself. Past Scholarship socials have included playing table tennis, virtual golf, bowling as well as dinners and balls. I organised a social myself last year to the Open Air Cinema in Stratford, securing the funding as well as everything else.
9a. Would you recommend EY to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
It is a great well rounded experience if you are interested in working for one of the Big Four companies. People are under the impressions that you must become an accountant to work for EY, but that is simply not everything they do. You get to build a network of friends your own age which are useful contacts for the future, as well as existing employees of EY who are more than happy to help you.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to EY? *
Ensure that you have plenty of examples to give at interview of why you are a good candidate for EY and do your research on the firm as it shows you have a keen interest in them. More than anything, academia is not everything so make sure you are personable and make friends with people at the application process - it is valued highly by EY.
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