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Big 4 Internships and the Pandemic Impact (Part 3 of 4)

This is part 3 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.┬áDuring 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.

I discussed previously what companies the “Big 4” are and what they do, and I covered why internships there are so significant. This post is aimed at relating my experience from the summer of 2020, and discussing how it was shaped by the pandemic.

3. My expectations

My relationship with Ernst & Young started long before my first day as an intern; I met a recruiter on campus for a mock interview, and knew from that meeting that EY was a place I wanted to work and grow. As I progressed through the application and interview process, everyone that I spoke to or exchanged emails with further affirmed my decision. When I applied, interviewed, and accepted my offer (all before Easter in 2019), no one knew how the world would change over the coming year. I went into this expecting to be sitting in a recently remodeled office in one of Denver’s tallest buildings with a view of the city and the mountains. I expected intern activities after days in the office, and opportunities to visit client sites and really see a “day in the life of an auditor.” More importantly I expected to be challenged, pushed, taught, mentored, and exhausted.

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.

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