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What is it Really Like to Have an Internship at Ernst & Young (And Where do I sign up?)

With competition for graduate level roles in financial services still very hot, having an internship (or several) under your belt is crucial. Not only do you get a taste of the segment, you can build your resume, grow a strong professional network, and put yourself head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to a permanent grad position.

Ernst & Young (EY) offer several different Internship Programs. If you are an undergraduate student, then you could apply for an internship if you’re in your first, penultimate or final year.

However, Ernst & Young also run programs for school leavers and Grad students, so there is something on offer for every stage. There’s really no excuse to miss out.

Here’s how (and why) to get started.


Why apply?

If you’re considering an internship with one the the ‘Big 4’ financial services companies, then you might be wondering which is best. The answer is really, ‘all of them’!

Although the companies have reputations for being slightly different in company culture, when it comes to an internship, you’re looking to build your professional experience. This is a two way street, and if - after the program - you decide the culture is not your ideal fit, then you can simply apply elsewhere.

The internship at EY will still absolutely boost your chances of landing a position at one of the other prestigious firms in this area.

Previous interns at EY rate the various programs available highly, and emphasise the strong structure and opportunities for learning. Many people also highlight the fact that the social side of the internships is also a bonus - company sponsored evenings out, social events and a subsidised canteen. Not bad!

One of the particular strengths of the Ernst & Young programs is that they give good opportunities for networking. This is a key part of your intern experience as it helps you to gather informal insights into the company culture. Go in ready to become a networking superstar, to make the most of the experience!

The application process

Applying for an internship with Ernst & Young involves several stages, but is not hugely complicated. According to Glassdoor reviews, over half of interns come through campus recruiting events, so keep an eye out for them at your university and say hello!

After completing a standard application form, you are asked to work through several online tests, which look at your reasoning and business behaviours. There are practise tests you can take in advance, to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible before getting started.

You should find out within a couple of weeks how you did in the online tests. If you were successful then the next stage is a telephone interview. In this brief (20 - 25 minute) conversation, the recruiters aim to find out more about your preferred work and your motivation for joining EY.

Make sure you have thought about your reasons for applying to this intern program in particular - you will be asked! You can expect questions such as these:

  • Why did you choose the service line (such as assurance or audit) you did?
  • What makes EY different from the rest of the Big 4?
  • Why do you want to work with EY?
  • What value will you being to EY?

Assuming that this goes well, you will be invited to a day long assessment centre. According to some previous interns, there can be quite a gap - a few weeks - between the telephone interview and assessment stage, so don’t be disheartened!

At the assessment centre, you will take part in group exercises and a final interview. Although the day will be tough, the team do commit to giving you feedback, whatever the outcome. This means that you will get something from the experience even if you do not ultimately land the internship this time. One anonymous reviewer wrote about the EY process:

“Overall enjoyable experience. Assessment centre was challenging but not daunting, staff kept environment relaxed. Offer of feedback is almost immediate which is certainly an advantage. Would recommend applying.”

What's an internship with EY actually like?

The Rate My Placement website features thousands of reviews of EY intern experiences. Overall the average rating is 7.9/10 - with a huge number of reviewers giving the program seven stars or more. In contrast, only four of the 1300 reviews listed presently give fewer than four stars to the experience.

EY, as a global firm, run intern programs all over the world. The core experience will be similar, but to get the best insight into the experience you can expect, look for some details about the internships offered in your home country.

This blogger, for example, writes extensively about her experience as an intern on EY’s program in Portland. She had an overwhelmingly positive experience:

“They are a great firm, and they love to see someone who is excited to work for them and can have a positive attitude.”

Alternatively, this detailed review walks through the process for application, as well as the full intern experience at EY. It's well worth a read!

As an intern or a full time employee, you can expect life at EY to be challenging but enjoyable. The company culture values diversity and so the social life and opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life is huge. With a philosophy of giving back and being involved in the local community you will also have paid days during which you can volunteer for a cause that matters to you. Even as an intern you will get to experience this, meaning you can support a local charity and help others, while you're getting a fascinating and valuable intern experience yourself!

So there you have it - straight from those who have been in your shoes. Ernst & Young offer a strong intern program, whatever your current life stage. The recruitment experience can be enjoyable, and once you’re on board, it’s a great chance to build your network and boost your employment options upon graduation. What’s stopping you?

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