Today was the first of Ernst & Young’s Business Experience Programme, and “suitably impressed” would have been an understatement. Having now experienced the cultures and ethos of two of the Big Four auditing firms, I must admit E&Y has made a far better impression than the other.
While the offices looked roughly the same, it was the time and effort expended by the E&Y team that made all the difference. (Oh – and the fact that they gave us free breakfast and had a better lunch option was also pretty neat.)
Starting the day at 06h15 was tough, especially since my sleeping pattern had been from 00h00 to 08h00 the entire year. (And being the first day, I didn’t know there was going to be free breakfast so I force fed spoonfuls of All Bran to my grumbling stomach instead.)
My lift arrived promptly and we ventured into the E&Y building only to be met with half a dozen other students already waiting. Turned out, being half an hour early wasn’t that big of a deal – not in the accounting world.
The ice breakers were fun (and generic – but that couldn’t really be helped). I was a little bummed that I was put in a group of two (inter alia) not-so-bright sparks who didn’t really contribute much (read: at all). They were also 90 minutes late. Perhaps they were just trying to stay true to their characters.
The talks by the trainees and partners were informative, interesting and honest. They were definitely more frank (than the other firm) and focused more on the things we didn’t know rather than elaborating on common knowledge. E&Y have always been on the forefront of having a good reputation and of treating their employees really well; and this, I gauged from the first hour of meeting the people.
The most fun activity of the day was when we had to design a box in such a way that would prevent an egg from breaking after a 5 stories fall. Watching the trainees drop a dozen eggs off the top of the E&Y building was quite entertaining as they missed the box more often than not and the poor eggs splattered all over the sidewalk.
All in all, it was a fun-filled day, and I wasn’t even tired!