The Big Four are considered to be the crème de la crème of the audit world. Landing an internship at one of these internationally renowned firms, then, is a brilliant way to kickstart your career and get real-world experience in the industry.
With over 700 offices across the world, Ernst & Young has numerous internship programmes available for aspiring young professionals. And while securing a spot might be challenging, there are certain steps you can take to increase your chances and start your professional journey within the iconic accounting firm.
So, if you’ve got your heart set on getting an internship Ernst & Young, here’s everything you need to know.
1. Know the basics
Before you get started with the application process, it’s important that you look closely at the fine print of Ernst & Young internships. This, of course, includes entry requirements, benefits and programme outlines.
The more informed you are, the better your chances of landing a position with the firm!
Generally speaking, Ernst & Young accepts applicants who are still in university as well as recent graduates. Also, if you’re an undergraduate student, you can apply if you’re in your first, penultimate or final year. As for the subject requirements, the company is open to applicants from all disciplines, including business, law, engineering, arts and humanities, and the sciences.
With offices spread around the world, Ernst & Young has numerous internships running throughout the year. These can vary from year-long industrial placements and 1-day training programmes to or 6- or 12-week programmes, depending on the location. For undergraduates, the company also runs annual summer internships between June and August while graduate programmes tend to commence in September.
As for the perks that come with being an Ernst & Young intern, there are many, including:
- the opportunity to attend the International Intern Leadership Conference
- professional skills training
- a competitive salary
- flexible working arrangements
- feedback and coaching from industry experts
- individual and team performance rewards
- the opportunity to lead and manage projects
- paid volunteer days
- interactive seminars
- various networking opportunities
- the possibility for a graduate position
- social outings
2. Find the right role
If you do meet Ernst & Young’s requirements, then the next step is to find a role that’s right for you!
Start by visiting the company’s job board and browse through the available opportunities on offer, which you can filter based on location.
In the US, Ernst & Young runs the Launch Internship programme for students who are two years or more away from graduation. In this particular role, you have the chance to work with different teams on multiple projects across various service lines. This is designed in a way that allows you to gain the necessary experience across different sectors and make an informed career decision onwards.
Generally speaking, there’s a diverse range of internship programmes, all of which give you the opportunity to focus within an area of specialty while developing other professional skills and expanding your business knowledge in other sectors, too.
Overall, programmes are divided across five service lines:
- Assurance Internship Programmes (IT risk assurance and business risk services)
- Actuarial Internship Programmes (non-life insurance and life insurance services)
- Consulting Internship Programmes (business consulting, technology consulting and people advisory services)
- Tax Internship Programmes (EMEIA tax centre, people advisory services, and technology and transformation)
- Transaction Internship Programmes (corporate finance, transactions support, valuations, economic advisory, restructuring and operational transaction services)
If you’re uncertain about what programme you’re best suited for, then you can also take the EY Pathfinder quiz which will help you determine a suitable area for you based on your preferences. Of course, your eligibility for each programme will depend on your faculty, skills and knowledge, so it’s important that you check the requirements for each role to find the best fit for you. All in all, however, you’re expected to be an excellent problem-solver, a great team player and a strong communicator.
As for students, the company tends to recruit most of its undergraduate interns through university campuses. As such, it’s a good idea to visit your school’s career services and find out when the next campus recruiting events or career fair will be. A word to the wise: before you connect with the Ernst & Young team on your campus, be prepared to talk about yourself, any relevant work experience, and current market trends and sector developments.
3. Submit your application
Once you’re ready to begin the application process, you’ll need to register on the company’s website to apply to the available internship opportunities. But before you send out your application, it’s crucial that you prepare an impressive CV that demonstrates your skills and experience. On top of that, make sure to give your social media accounts a little spruce, too, and remove any unprofessional content that could hinder your job prospects.
After submitting your application, you should receive an email confirmation. From there on, recruiters will review your CV, qualifications, academic background, extracurriculars and work experience, and decide whether you’re suitable for the role.
Bear in mind that due to the high number of applications received by Ernst & Young, the company will most likely not be able to get in touch if your application is unsuccessful. However, if you do succeed, then a recruiter will get in touch with you and inform you about the next steps.
This typically includes completing an application for employment and a video assessment. This is a great opportunity for you to stand out from the competition and demonstrate your abilities and professional aspirations. Depending on the role you’ve applied for, you may also be required to complete some tests or provide samples of your work. If you’re successful, you’ll then be invited to participate in a second assessment which will take place either virtually, on campus or at an Ernst & Young location.
4. Ace the interview
Now that you’ve come this far, it’s time to prepare for the next stage: the interviews!
Ernst & Young’s interview process usually consists of one or more phone, video and in-person interviews. Nonetheless, bear in mind that the interview procedure can vary slightly depending on the country, service line and role you’ve applied for.
Before any of your interviews, it’s essential to prepare. Start by researching your potential employer, their core values, their mission and current projects. Make sure you successfully convey your interest in the company and the industry during the interview, as this will help differentiate you from the pool of candidates.
Your interviewers will also expect to hear about your ambitions and your long-term career goals. Think about the reasons you applied for an internship at Ernst & Young and show how your motivations align with the company’s objectives! A word to the wise: make it known to them that you consider Ernst & Young as a long-term career prospect, as they value interns who want to be part of the company for the long-run.
Practise answering common interview questions and, more specifically, behavioural questions, as these are customary at Ernst & Young interviews. You should also be prepared to answer technical questions about past projects you’ve completed and the service line you have chosen to intern for.
Generally, you can expect to answer questions like:
- Why did you choose the service line you did?
- What makes Ernst & Young different from the rest of the Big Four firms?
- Why do you want to work with Ernst & Young?
- What value will you bring to Ernst & Young?
It’s also vital that you ask the interviewers some questions of your own. Focus on your prospective role, the company culture and the overall working environment.
Remember: the more prepared you are, the more likely you will make a lasting impression on the interviewers, as this will emphasise your curiosity and investment in the company.
5. Get an offer
Once the lengthy interview process is over, all you can do is wait. It usually can take up to three weeks to hear back from recruiters, so be patient and don’t lose hope. If you want to be proactive, though, send your recruiters a follow-up note reiterating your interest in the internship and the company.
It might also be a good idea to make use of your network or university and ask them to reach out to the decision-makers if they have ties with the company. A good referral could have a big impact on the interviewer’s final decision.
If you get good news, congratulations are in order! Make sure to thank your recruiters and start preparing for the unique opportunity you’ve been given!
Meanwhile, if your application is rejected, it’s vital that you remain professional, ask for constructive feedback and stay in touch with your recruiters through networking events and career fairs. These could be useful connections to have in the future. As for the time being, you could still apply for other internship opportunities at other industry giants like KPMG, Deloitte or PwC!
Have you ever applied for an internship at Ernst & Young? Were you successful? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 1 August 2014.