We caught up with Mia Lewin, Social science student from the University of Bath who is currently 11 months into her year long Industrial Placement in Audit at EY. She gave us some key insights into what life is like as a student at this leading, global professional services firm.
What inspired you to apply for a role with EY?
When I was thinking about what I wanted to do in my career I started with several summer internships at other companies, until I discovered that I really enjoyed working in finance. EY has always appealed to me – it’s a big company and it has a prestigious reputation as one of the big four. I have now been working here for 11 of the 12 months and they have really flown by.
What have you learnt while working at EY and how has this helped your professional development?
During my time here I have learnt so much, gained experience and developed essential skills. EY are really focused on their employees’ professional development and so I recently undertook an accounting module that was really intense, but I was so satisfied to learn that I had passed. Not only have I built the skills needed for an accounting role, but also participated in a great deal of technology training around FinTech which is crucial at the moment. On top of this I’ve also improved my time management skills as the role involves a lot of travel.
In what ways have you been supported throughout your programme? Have you found that EY has created an inclusive culture?
I found that EY really care about their employees. I’ve been really well supported in my role, not only by my colleagues and my manager, who is always trusting and approachable, but also by the wider team. When you first start you’re given a buddy who helps out with all the little things in the role and also a counsellor who makes sure that you’re getting on ok and settling in well. EY strongly believes in being flexible with working hours that support team members to do their best and to be happy and motivated.
EY also have fantastic networks that are like university societies. These networks allow us to organise activities and support each other, they also make us feel that we have a group of people who represent us. There’s an LGBT network called Unity, for example, which also connects with networks at other firms to help with their inclusion initiatives. Having networks within EY is really important as it allows you to meet so many different people outside of the workplace. As I am often working outside of the office in my Assurance role, the networks are a fantastic way for me to meet with everyone from the Bristol team and other likeminded people.
Do you feel university prepared you for what is expected of you in your role?
University has helped me in terms of learning how to make friends and being more independent as a person. Having developed my social skills and gained a lot of confidence, I was prepared to work at EY, where teamwork is valued so highly.
Tell us the top three skills you have learnt during your time at EY and why you need them in your role?
- Accounting – While at college I studied towards the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland qualification and prepared for exams in financial accounting and the Principles of Auditing and Reporting. These exams massively helped me at EY, giving me the foundations of accounting which I apply in my day-to-day role.
- Technology skills – EY provide an amazing platform to learn new skills from coding to the implementation of robotics, all of which are integral to a role at EY as the company places a huge emphasis on efficiency with the use of technology.
- Time management – University did help me start to develop this skill, but honestly, with the commuting and the busy work days, time management is essential to ensuring I balance my professional and personal life. This will also be an invaluable skill to take back to university for my final year.
Has anything surprised you about this industrial programme at EY?
What I found really surprising about EY is the amount of responsibility I’ve been given whilst on my industrial placement. While working with their clients, I have been able to build skills across different teams and I’ve been given the freedom to do so much on my own without supervision. As part of UK&I Assurance, stock counts need to be performed and during the industrial placement programme I was able to attend many of these. This involved performing the count alongside the client at their warehouse without supervision. EY provide full training at the start, which gave me the opportunity to shadow a senior team member before I was assigned a stock count to perform alone.
I have also found myself doing a lot of traveling as I’m currently moving between bases in Wales, Cornwall and Bristol. I’m rarely in the same office for more than two weeks but it’s great as no day is the same and I’m being exposed to all aspects of the role. Also getting to choose what I’m trained on gives me a real sense of independence.
Have you got any top tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a similar role at EY?
- Apply early - For anyone who’s thinking of applying to EY I would recommend applying as early as possible to avoid disappointment as they fill their roles quickly.
- Research – Make sure you really research the role and also what’s happening in the finance world.
- In your application, be honest – EY want someone who they will really enjoy working with. If you’re honest you’re showing them who you really are and they will be able to get the best impression of you.
Finally, what excites you most about the work you’re doing?
I’ve met hundreds of people during my time here and I’ve managed to gain a lot of experience which is invaluable for my future career and its progression. I’ve also made a lot of friends and contacts who will be able to support me in the future.
Interested in following Mia's footsteps? Read more about EY and find all their opportunities right here.