EY Summer Internship UK
Oct 17, 2017
Syed Mohammad Irtaza Hassan
I recently got accepted to the EY Summer Internship in the Audit Division. In this blog post I want to highlight the process of securing the internship and how to excel in those steps.
The application opened on the 1st of September this year. Normally big 4 applications open earlier than the banks so you should be on the lookout near the end of July-start of August. It is also done on a rolling basis so applying early is essential. The online form is rather simple, requiring you to fill in your personal details and attaching any documents you deem fit in the end. I only attached my resume however, some of my colleagues thought it was a good idea to add a cover letter as well. My general opinion on the matter is to not attach a cover letter unless asked for. For banks, I feel like they don’t even bother looking at the extra documents attached unless they specifically ask for them and I used the same logic for this application. A point to remember is that you may be asked to submit a cover letter if you’re applying for the Consulting Division.
After the application has been submitted you will be invited to the first online tests. The first tests are Situational Judgmental Tests. These include three different parts which are covered below.
The first part is a typical SJT. You will be given a scenario which you might face while working at the firm and in your answer you have to rank the different responses available. This is not a very difficult test once you get the hang of it. Just keep the company values in your mind when doing this test. For e.g., it’s always better to work in a team rather than do things alone. The second part involves more of the same but this time it follows a single scenario and has follow up questions for that. The third part is a little different. In this part you are given a set of points which you have to allocate to different characteristics based on whether it’s much like you or not. Again keep in mind the skills required for your role. For Audit its best you give high points to attention to detail, problem solving etc. I gave the lowest points to my ability to learn new languages.
After you have successfully completed the first stage you will be invited to a second round of tests. This test is slightly trickier, with a numerical and a verbal section. The test has no time limit but remember not to go over the board as they do take your time and final answers into account. The numerical is pretty simple as it involves very basic calculations. You don’t have to be a maths genius to get through this part. The verbal part is however, rather tricky.
It has 4 sections to it. One of the sections gives you a paragraph with blanks in it and requires you to fill them in with the words. This one is probably the easiest of the bunch. The second part has a few emails with questions and gives you a few response options. You have to match the replies with the emails considering the tone, grammar etc. I just matched them based on the tone, if the email is formal than the reply should be formal as well. The next part will require you to correct grammar in a text. I found its best to first read the words and see if there are any mistakes, then read a whole sentence and finally the whole text. The last part is a comprehension style test. It has a text and you have to select the answers which are true from the text.
Ah the telephone interview, perhaps the most awkward stage of the whole process. If like me, you struggle with talking to people on the phone, a helpful practicing tool is to have a few mock interviews with your mates on the phone. Make sure to record the interview and then see where you could improve on your answers. Remember the STAR approach in your answers. This is a “strength based interview” as EY likes to call it. But, it is pretty much just a standard competency interview. I received the following questions,
1. Why EY?
Follow up question - How are EY’s values in line with your own goals?
2. Why the preferred location and division?
3. How would you ensure you’re professional when you’re meeting a client for the first time?
4. Tell me about a time when you had to follow strict rules and guidelines.
Follow up question - Why was it important to do this?
5. In some situations it’s not important to follow strict rules and guidelines, do you agree with this?
6. If you spot error in the data one of your colleagues has submitted, what would you do?
The examples you use to illustrate your strengths don’t have to be based only on internships. You can use society work or any high school activities as well. Try to make the interview feel more like a conversation and less like an interview and also have some questions to ask once the interview ends.
This will be the final step in your application. You will be invited for a day at one of EY’s offices to participate in various exercises and interact with some of their current employees. As preparation for this day, we were asked to research more about the use of technology in audit and how EY is making waves with its work in technology. For this, there are plenty of resources available online. Some things you can research on are: how AI is making auditing easier, the use of cloud computing in audit, some reservations that the clients or regulatory authorities (FRC) have for the use of data analytics in auditing and the use of Blockchain technology in cyber security. For the day try to be as positive as you can, try to interact with everyone and add value to a conversation as often as possible. There were a total of 3 exercises on the day.
1. Group exercise where you will be given a 25 minute task. The first 15 minute of the task will be spent on you discussing some of the questions they will give you and writing some answers. The final 10 minutes will be spent on answering some of your assessors’ questions and some time to ask them some questions. The assessor is usually a Senior Associate level employee that has spent 3 years in the firm. Try to ask them some questions if given the opportunity and stress on how eager you are to learn about their work. Also try to keep time for the task and structure your approach. This nicely reflects your work ethic.
2. The second task will be a group exercise. In this task you are given a bunch of cards which have some skills written on them. These include attention to detail, emotional awareness etc. This time your tasks include narrowing the cards down to 10 skills which you think are the most important at EY for your division. The next stage is more like a SJT and the assessors will give you 8 scenarios which may occur when you are working. You will then have to find an answer to these questions and match one of your cards to these scenarios. Try to keep time for all the tasks and structure you approach. Also contribute to the conversation as much as you can but don’t overshadow anyone and dominate the whole team. Teamwork is an important part of it.
3. The final task which is an individual exercise is perhaps the easiest. It involves responding to 3 emails. 2 of the emails have data attached to them and contain 2 numerical questions. One of them has an email and requires you to write an email in response. You have 20 minutes to do this and it’s not time pressured at all.
Overall, remember to network as much as you can, learn about the firm, their culture, whether you want to work there in the future. Also remember to take everyone’s business cards. If you do all this it will massively boost your chances of earning that internship!
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