This is part 2 of a 4 part post. If you already saw the part prior, go ahead and skip over the remainder of this introductory paragraph since it is the same as that in the others. During the summer of 2020, in the heat of the pandemic, I had a rare opportunity: I was part of Ernst & Young’s first fully virtual internship experience. Depending on how you look at it, this is either a scar in my past or a badge of accomplishment. I certainly view it as the latter, but I did not initially. This post is geared towards students looking at interning at the “Big 4” in the coming years, so this post is particularly suitable for current or prospective accounting majors. But, if you are not considering accounting, there is still something here for you.
Big 4 internships are highly competitive because they are very valuable. You probably have heard jokes about fetching coffee and making copies; Big 4 internships leave students at times craving a simpler job description. Big 4 internships are significant because they are well respected both inside of and outside of the Big 4. They are well respected because they are consistently challenging. Much of the internship is spent in training – a training very similar to what you would receive if you were a new hire fresh out of college. This training is invaluable because it provides interns with the skills they will need in the next phase of the internship which is typically one or more different client engagements. While on client engagements, intern roles vary by team and by client and by intern, but it is safe to assume that you will be doing substantive work, safe to assume that you will get a taste of what the Big 4’s environment is like, and even safer to assume that you will learn a lot.
Disclaimer: I do not represent nor am I speaking on behalf of any of the Big 4; all information in this article is subject to change; the intent of this article and all following posts on the same subject is to help inform students, not to advise their career decisions.