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

This is part 4 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. 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.

4. The reality

In spring of 2020, I found out that my internship would be 100% remote. While I was disappointed, I was impressed with how well EY was able to adjust their plans in such a dramatic way on such short notice. The program was shortened by about three weeks and the start date shifted back by about a month. I was mailed a laptop (and everything that came with). Within the first day of the internship, thousands of new interns were up and running on EY’s remarkably advanced technological platforms. We were provided with training, broken down into groups, assigned mentors and peer-buddies (one of the greatest things about EY), and put on client-engagement teams. We were given a few weeks to work with our assigned client engagement teams, and then we were given a week to work through EY Badges to earn the Intern level badge. The final week of the internship had 8-10 interns from all service lines were paired with a coach to work through a real business problem for a client, and compete to see who could offer the best plan, slide deck, and presentation.

While the internship did not look the way I expected it to, being remote showed me an even clearer picture of how EY works. They were off knocked off kilter and navigating foreign territory, and while they could have canceled the internship or cut it down to merely the training portion, they proved that people matter and displayed the power of the organization to rally in hard times and unwaveringly meet objectives.

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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