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Discover EY Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employers EY internship Social Media Takeover TuesdayTakeover

How the Discover EY Insight Programme Helped Land me an Internship

Craig McAuley, Queen’s student

What was your highlight of the Discover EY Programme?

Having the opportunity to learn more about the opportunities available within the company as well as get a first-hand insight into the day-to-day workings of each service line was invaluable. Doing your research online is one thing, but finding out what people actually do on a day to day basis and the skills required for the roles they work in was a big plus for me and a key decider in my decision to select the service line I did for my internship.

How did the knowledge and insight you gained on the programme help you along your career journey?

Having the opportunity to interview for the summer 2021 position so early on certainly took the stress off applying for internships during the academic year, as well as helping me come much closer to deciding what I wanted to do as a career.

What did you learn about the industry and about yourself?

What struck me most at EY was the emphasis on technology and how it is applied to all industries in a bid to streamline processes and make companies more efficient. The multifaceted nature of each service line in terms of the work they did, and the range of individuals from different backgrounds who worked within them was also encouraging as someone who had come to university later than most.

How did the networking sessions differ from what you had imagined?

The opportunity to ask any questions I liked I found very valuable, and that they didn’t have to be directly related to that individual’s occupation. Each person I spoke too also came across just as approachable as the next, regardless of their role within the company. 

What doors did the EY programme open for you?

The ability to secure a summer internship for 2021.

At what stage did you decide you would like a career at EY?

Following the discover EY programme, and when I compared it to similar events with other firms.

In what ways did the people you meet at Discover EY inspire you?

The passion each person had for their role and how they seemingly, genuinely enjoyed what they did, was perhaps the most inspiring of all. This in turn gave me the confidence to apply knowing it was a place where I too would enjoy working and which provided a culture I could relate to.

Can you describe which workshops and networking sessions you found most engaging and why?

Surprisingly, found the assessment day the most engaging of all the sessions. Being left to our own devices, with some pressure, really brought the best out of the group and I felt what we produced in the time given was of a high standard.

What would you say to first years who thinks it’s too early to start researching employers and building up their professional network?

If you don’t, it’s too late! All internships and placements with big firms are so competitive now, and if you don’t start in first year, you are already on the back foot. Given the first years on such programmes have access to the internship and placement positions via fast tracked interviews and assessment centres before anyone else, if you leave it to second or final year, many of the places are already gone before you have even started.

In what ways did the insight programme help build your confidence, professional network and skills?

Given that at the time, a work from home environment was still quite unique for many, having the opportunity to interact, network and work as a team in a virtual environment I found invaluable. I certainly feel it set me up well for my years study this semester, and in other endeavours between then and now. I have also made contacts in the form of both fellow students, as well as employees at EY which I have no doubt will be invaluable at some stage in the future. 

Apply for the Discover EY programme here

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Discover EY Employer Engagement Employer Insight Employers EY internship

“I enjoyed hearing about the focus on people and culture”

What was your highlight of the Discover EY Programme?

I really enjoyed hearing about the networks, including the international network, the family network, the women’s network and the mental health network as well as many more. My highlight was hearing from all these different sections and what EY is doing to focus on the people culture aspect of the firm. It was great to speak with Philip Hull and hear his experiences while learning that EY focuses on wellbeing and diversity. It was also great to get a little package of EY merch in the post!

How did the knowledge and insight you gained on the programme help you along your career journey?

I found the ‘Get to Know us’ section very beneficial as I was able to find out more about the firm and the four service lines. The assurance service line interested me the most hearing where they focus on the audit process and how they test and analyse data. As I gained knowledge on the four service lines, I discovered I would be interested in auditing with the opportunity to work with many clients. After hearing this I chose to apply for an internship.

What did you learn about the industry and about yourself?

More than anything I learnt that EY are very focused on the individuals that work for them. Instead of just academia they are focused on individuals that are strong communicators, team players, adaptable, analytical, number savvy and in the know. This helped me to understand that I need to concentrate not only on my university degree but also how I am as a person. The interactive side of Discover EY helped me to develop skills and the feedback on my online tests and interviews have allowed me to identify and work on my weaknesses.

How did the networking sessions differ from what you had imagined? (For example, were they more relaxed/fun/informative than you had envisaged?)

Originally, I expected Discover EY to be in person, but quickly realised with the restrictions and current state of COVID, it was to be moved online. The online aspect of it worked really well as it was very accessible. The sessions were interactive with many opportunities to ask questions and respond via speaking or answering in the chat section. I especially enjoyed their interactivity as I had a lot of questions for most of the sessions, but I also enjoyed being involved in the quiz that took place on a video call through ‘Kahoot!’ it was great fun. 

What doors did the EY programme open for you? (For example, knowledge/confidence to secure a placement and or graduate role)

Through the Discover EY programme, I have been able to secure a summer internship role which I am looking forward to. I am really hoping I will enjoy this and be able to further my career in EY. I have also been able to keep track with events that EY hold and I have already been able to get involved in some, for example their virtual event for ‘Wellbeing week’ which is taking place this week. So far ‘Wellbeing Week’ has been very insightful and relatable, with great guests including Dr Alex George, Anthony Joshua and Joe Wicks.

At what stage did you decide you would like a career at EY?

From the very start of the Discover EY virtual event I was sold. The friendliness of the facilitators made me feel very welcome. I love that they focus on the person they are employing rather than just qualifications. This shows me that they are very inclusive, flexible and are part of a culture I would like to be part of. 

In what ways did the people you meet at Discover EY inspire you?

The people who were involved were passionate about EY and clearly very knowledgeable, they were able to answer all of our questions. They were very professional but clearly had fun and enjoy their work.

Can you describe which workshops and networking sessions you found most engaging and why?

I really enjoyed a session in which we completed various tasks such as: dealing with incomplete data, leveraging different perspectives and ability to see the big picture (a riddle), these were an interactive set of challenges which were designed to assess us but despite being challenging, they were great fun.

What would you say to first years who thinks it’s too early to start researching employers and building up their professional network?

There is a lot more to employers and firms, than just their logo and what we think we know about them. It’s good to get involved early to be able to make the most of events organised and to allow you to discover more about their culture by interacting with their people. 

In what ways did the insight programme help build your confidence, professional network and skills?

It challenged me by having to think on my feet, interact with people who I had never met before and this has certainly helped my confidence. I have only had a few interviews for part time jobs, and it was the first interview for a professional job and this will help me in my future career. Since Discover EY I have made a conscious effort to create a LinkedIn account and connect with others.

Apply for Discover EY here

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Discover EY Employer Insight Employers EY internship

“I could not recommend Discover EY enough”

Annie Groom, Queen’s Accounting student

Annie Groom, a second year Accountancy student at Queen’s completed the Discover EY Insight Programme and has secured a summer internship with the company.

What was your highlight of the Discover EY programme?

My highlight of the Discover EY programme was the friendliness and energy from each EY employee who we had the chance to interact with. This ranged from graduate employees to partners of the firm! Each possessed a willingness to help and allowed us to feel comfortable asking questions, providing as much information as possible.

What did you learn about the industry and about yourself?

Throughout the Discover EY programme, the company largely emphasised their culture of putting ‘people’ first, which is important now more than ever, given the current situation. The company’s values were also reinforced, which they rely heavily upon. Whilst listening, I learnt that I myself possess many of these values, making me feel confident that I was the right fit for EY!

How did the networking sessions differ from what you had imagined?

Of course, my experience of Discover EY was a little different to previous years, given the current pandemic, causing the programme to be held virtually. At first, I felt nervous and a little apprehensive, as this was like nothing I had ever experienced before, however I quickly learnt that there was nothing to be worried about. Despite being virtual, the networking sessions were more informative than I had expected, and EY still managed to introduce multiple speakers and presenters to share their experience with us, which was definitely not expected! The networking sessions were much more relaxed and comfortable than I had imagined, and it was amazing to see how smooth it went given the virtuality!

What doors did the EY programme open for you?

I could not recommend Discover EY enough for the opportunities that were presented to me. I was fortunate enough to score highly in the final day assessments which then presented me with the option to apply for a summer internship and fast track to the individual interview stage. Thankfully I was successful and secured a place in this year’s Business Risk Services Summer Internship! I am so excited to get the opportunity to work within EY itself and gain lots of experience for my future career!

Apply for the Discover EY programme here

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Advent Calendar advice Interviews TargetJobs

Careers Advent Calendar: Five Tricky Job Interview Questions

Our friends over at TARGETjobs have collated this list of tricky interview questions with tips on how to answer them. Read the full article here.

‘What is your most significant achievement?’

This question is designed to assess your values and attitude as much as your achievements, and employers often want you to talk about your activities outside education. You’re more likely to come across well if you choose to discuss something you’re genuinely proud of, which could be because it involved leading others, overcoming obstacles or persisting in the face of the odds. 

‘What motivates you?’

You are particularly likely to be asked about your motivation in a strengths-based interview, which focuses on what you enjoy doing and what you do well. This is an approach that graduate recruiters are increasingly using alongside or instead of competency-based questions.

Your answer should draw on an example from your extracurricular activities, work experience or studies that suggests you would be strongly motivated by the job you are applying for.

‘Give an example of a time when you showed initiative.’

If an interviewer asks you to describe a situation in which you showed initiative, avoid giving an example of an idea you had but never put into action. It’s much better to talk about a time when you not only came up with a solution to a problem but also acted on it. 

‘What is your biggest weakness?’

The problem with this question is that you’re being asked about your shortcomings, when your instinct, in an interview situation, is to keep your flaws as well hidden as possible. What you need to do is to frame your answer to as to give it a positive spin.

Strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin, so another way to approach this question is to think about how you overcome the potential downside of your greatest strength. For example, if you’re a natural teamworker, is it difficult for you to cope with conflict or assume leadership abilities? How do you cope with this?

‘Are you innovative?’

Graduates are sometime asked to give an example of when they were innovative, ‘thought outside the box’ or used creative thinking to solve a problem. Many graduates are concerned that their examples are just not innovative enough, but the interviewer won’t expect you to have given the prime minister tips on handling Brexit! Instead, talk about times when an idea from you had a positive impact: for example, if you came up with a fundraising idea for charity or found a way to save time on an assignment.

For more resources to help you build your business and organisational skills, visit our website

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Applications CVs Employers Graduate recruitment Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair Graduate success graduate training schemes internship Interviews

Ask the employer: What sets a winning job applicant apart?

Many graduate recruiters see piles of CVs and interview hundreds of applicants to fill jobs and placement roles. So, what sets a good candidate apart? We cornered some of NI’s top recruiters at the Graduate Recruiter and Placement Fair last week to find out. Here is what they had to say…

Include skills developed through extracurricular activities

“It is important to appreciate that on paper, all graduates from the same degree programme look the same. However candidates who succinctly articulate how their skills and experience meet the essential and desirable criteria outlined on the Job Description will stand out, as this shows they have considered the requirements of the role and thought about how they will bring value to the organisation. I would encourage students to really think about what they have achieved outside of their academic qualification.  Reflection upon the skills developed through involvement in extracurricular activities such as clubs, societies, sports, volunteering and work experience, and setting this in the context of the competencies employers seek, will set your application apart from others.”

Kim McAllister, Talent Acquisition Manager, Almac Group

EDITOR’S NOTE: Queen’s Degree Plus programme provides an opportunity to articulate the skills you have built up through extracurricular activities to employers. Find out more at GO.QUB.AC.UK/DEGREEPLUS

Show that you are keen

“If we get the feeling that you are super keen and can’t wait to get started sometime that is worth even more than a high score in the technical test. “

Elisa Herbig. Talent Acquisition Specialist at AquaQ Analytics

Make sure your CV hits the mark

“Your CV doesn’t need to be elaborate or fancy. A lot of the time what really helps people is having something presentable that is easy to read. For the recruiter who is going to be reviewing it. Making sure the formatting is correct. Making sure there are no typos. Making sure the application is as easy to read as possible. Highlight any relevant experience for the role. Voluntary experience is good to include. Even if you have been working part-time show you have been doing something alongside your academic studies.” 

Adrian McCarthy is the manager of For Purpose

Relax in the interview

“Top interview tip – relax! We are just as nervous as you are. We want to sell you the job as much as you want to sell your skills to us. We want to make sure this is somewhere you want to work.” 

Joelene Ridgill , Purchasing Manager at Seacoya Group Ltd

Include work experience in your CV

“It sounds obvious but, in terms of a winning CV, good grades go a long way. It shows that the applicant knows how to put the work in to achieve their goals. It’s also very important to have some work experience or extracurricular activities since a candidate will have gained invaluable skills and experiences that they can bring into their new role. It also shows their adaptability and an appreciation for hard work. 

For an interview, it’s easy to say but just try to relax and be yourself. Your CV already shows many of your skills and this is a chance to show your personality. Remember that interviewers are just people, and someday it will be you in the interviewer’s seat!”

Sarah Fleming, Senior Manager, Muldoon & Co

Read assessment centre instructions

“At Liberty IT, we don’t ask for your CV when you apply. We only ask for your basic details such as what you’re studying and what year you’re in. If you meet the criteria you will then be invited to complete an online coding test through Codility and if you’re successful in that you get to attend our recruitment centres. 

The recruitment centre is broken up into four sections to make sure we get the best idea of your skills, experience and potential. To do well, make sure you read the advice we’ll send you, be yourself and try to enjoy the experience.”

Birgitta Swanberg, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Liberty IT

Tailor your CV for the role

Information within a CV needs to be clear and concise. No long paragraphs.  Ensure your skills and experience are easily identifiable throughout. Remember the recruiter looking at your CV doesn’t know you so highlight your relevant experience using the job description. To help you refine your CV to the role and make it stand out from the pile. Finally don’t forget to include personal achievements. Competing in team sports is a good indicator that you work well within a team and have competitive nature. 

Clodagh Mckeefry, Corporate Recruiter, MRP 

Show who you are as a person

I want to see what you do in your free time. An academic record is fantastic but I want to know about your volunteer experience, part time jobs, clubs you’re a part of, etc. It’s all about showing people that you are capable of doing more and pushing yourself.

Jared Kearney, Senior Campus Recruiter, Citi UK and Citi Irelan

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Global Opportunities internship placement Research STEM Switzerland Technology Work abroad

“My life changing experience on an international internship”

Queen’s Chemistry student Anwin Robin has described a paid internship with the British Council’s IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) programme as “the best year of my life.”

Like many Queen’s students, Anwin took the opportunity to gain international experience and boost his employability skills on a paid placement abroad. 

Anwin, from Dromore in County Down, moved to Switzerland in June 2019 to work with Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology.

Anwin said: “During my internship I drew on my background as a chemistry student to carry out research into making stronger materials. Knowing that they may be used in the future in structures ranging from airplanes to wind turbines made my work feel tangible and relevant.”

Anwin at work in Switzerland

The best year of my life

During his time in Switzerland, Anwin also had the opportunity to meet up other interns working across the country through weekend excursions organised by IAESTE, the largest global mobility programme for STEM students in the world. 

Anwin added: “My time in Switzerland has been the best year of my life so far. My IAESTE placement showed me how international many companies are today and confirmed that I want to grow my work experience outside of the UK. I will forever be grateful to IAESTE for providing me with this opportunity.”

Adapting for Covid-19

Anwin enjoyed the experience so much that when Switzerland went into lockdown because of Covid-19, he chose to stay in the country and continue his internship from home. He also used this as an opportunity to develop his coding skills.

Anwin has remained in Switzerland since finishing his IAESTE placement in May. He is currently applying to further internships in the country and hopes to eventually study for a Masters in computer science.

Whilst Covid-19 has restricted much travel this summer, many IAESTE placements have shifted online in response.

Among the 15 students from Northern Ireland who are currently undertaking remote internships with organisations in the USA, India, Bangladesh and Poland, are several Queen’s students who are joining online seminars and discussions. Their subject areas include biomedical science, business and marketing, computer science, aerospace engineering and chemical engineering.

Life changing impact

Jonathan Stewart, Director of the British Council Northern Ireland, said: “It’s wonderful to hear about the lifechanging impact of Anwin’s IAESTE placement, and we wish him all the best as he starts out in his career. Despite Covid-19, the IAESTE programme has quickly adapted and continues to offer quality opportunities for our university students to gain international experience. The remote internships help to provide Northern Ireland students with new technical skills while also experiencing different cultures and ways of working.”

In Northern Ireland IAESTE is funded by the Department for the Economy and delivered by the British Council.

Queen’s STEM students interested in applying for the IAESTE programme can find more information here:

https://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-abroad/outside-uk/iaeste

For more information on work or study abroad programmes, visit our Global Opportunities site

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internship placement work experience

Where to find a graduate internship

Graduate internships are short-term paid opportunities for graduates to gain work experience within a company or organisation. The below directory can help you find the right opportunity for you.Graduate internships are short-term paid opportunities for graduates to gain work experience within a company or organisation. The below directory can help you find the right opportunity for you.

Career Boost 

The Career Boost Programme connects Science, Engineering and Technology graduates with real jobs in innovative SMEs. 

Assured Skills

The Assured Skills Training Programme is run by the Department for the Economy. They offer a useful stepping stone into a particular area of work. 

Graduate Talent Pool

Internship opportunities for graduates across the UK

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

UK-wide programme with projects involving a partnership between a graduate, organisation and university or research organisation

Discover KTP at Queen’s

Step

Internship opportunities for students and graduates in the UK. 

Rate my Placement

Access paid placements and internships in the UK.

Targetjobs Internships

Find your perfect internship or placement.

Prospects

Filter your search by ‘work experience’ to access internships, placements and more.

Gradcracker

Placement, internships and graduate jobs in science and engineering.

Inside Careers

Graduate jobs and work experience opportunities in the finance sector.

Student Circus

Accessible via MyFuture, this site has information tailored to international students in the UK.

Inside Sherpa

Access free virtual short-term internships in a variety of sectors

Work abroad

Access placement, internships and work experience overseas via Global Opportunities.

For up to date information on placement and internships, visit MyFuture