What did our interns get up to at the IILC?

EMEIA Financial Services Interns

In July of 2017, our EMEIA Financial Services interns attended EY's International Intern Leadership Conference (IILC) in Orlando, Florida. We checked in with them to see what they got up to. 

Aoife Gunning, Ireland

I was one of two Irish interns selected to attend the EY International Intern Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida, in late July 2017.

The conference was a fantastic opportunity to meet interns and senior staff from EY offices around the world and to understand the future ahead of us here at EY. It was so interesting to get to know interns from offices in places like the US, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Australia among others. Each of us were at a similar place in our careers and it was fun to understand the similarities and differences between our intern experiences. It definitely gave me more of an insight into how global the organization was to meet interns from all around the world.

The conference had so many exciting parts to it. We had the opportunity to hear leaders within the organization talk about their career stories and how they had gotten to where they are today. For me, this was one of the most exciting parts, as it made me realize that even the most senior member of the organization had started off at the bottom — in our place. We also got to spend an afternoon and evening in Florida as part of the conference, which was definitely an added bonus.

My internship at EY this month has been really exciting. I was worried before my internship that the work that I would be doing would not really be of use to anyone, because I was just an intern and this has not been the case at all. I’m given real responsibilities and work within my team, and I feel like I’m contributing to the engagement and clients that I’m working on. Overall, the IILC was a fantastic way of understanding more about the organization in a global context and to understand how we, as interns, fit into that.


Rebecca Sinclair, UK

My name is Rebecca Sinclair and I'm part of the Advisory in Financial Services. The IILC held in Orlando, Florida, was a one‑week event, which involved over 3,300 interns from all around the world with activities and workshops on the basis of what EY does and its culture. 

I loved being a part of IILC and my favorite part was the opportunity to meet interns and facilitators from so many different countries in one venue, including Japan, China and Brazil. I shared a room with an audit intern from the Toronto, Canada office, so it was interesting to learn about the similarities and differences in the work culture between London and Toronto. 

We also had an amazing opportunity to hear from the Global Chairman and CEO, Mark Weinberger. He shared his career path to EY and what he's learnt along the way, and the importance to working toward setting a legacy. Afterward, I was able to meet individually with Mark and it was so inspirational to get to talk to him about what he's achieved. 

It was my first time in America, so I learnt a lot about the American culture — as the vast majority of interns attending were American, I got to meet a lot of them at the team challenge day.

I also learnt a lot on our workshop day and got to hear from some really inspirational EY leaders, including one of a leader who came to America illegally with his family at the age of seven and had to completely rebuild their lives again — showing us what is possible with any level of resources.  

One of the things that excites me most about being an intern at EY is being part of such a global organization, working on projects with people from around the world, and this was well‑represented at the conference. It was an amazing event to be involved in, so I would highly recommend anyone enthusiastic about meeting new people and discovering more of EY to get involved." 


Ines Tamim El Jarkass, France

I learnt a lot of things during this conference. The speakers showed us how it is possible to achieve great things by many different ways, and how people at EY are so different and have so many different enriching experiences. I also noticed that point by meeting the interns from other countries: they all had amazing and very different stories to tell. The speakers also taught us how you can achieve beautiful things even if you face a lot of difficulties in your life, by never giving up, and how people in EY teams are here to support each other.

For me, the best part was the team challenge day: we had to take up challenges of different kinds, within the team, and every challenge was the reflection of a situation we could face at the office. It was a really good way to see how things can be achieved in a better way by working with a team, and it was great to accomplish some things with people we had never met before.

I think the most exciting thing about being an intern for EY is noticing the number of different opportunities we have for the future — to travel, and to do many different things and different kinds of jobs within the company.

My favorite speaker was a woman who was, before starting to work for EY, a professional pianist. I think I saw a little bit myself in her story because I have been playing the piano for a long time, and when I was in high school, I was confused between a scientific or an artistic career. I find it great that she totally changed her career path to work for EY: she has always just followed her instinct and did what she wanted to do, even if her previous professional life and the current one are totally different, but it is brave and I admire it.


Trishal Shah, UK

I learnt how global the EY network is. I also learnt how supportive EY is in investing in you and building your skills so that you become more valuable, not only within EY but in the rest of the market. 

Personally, the best part was being able to participate in the team challenge. It was an amazing experience, and I was able to bond and become friends with people from all over the world in such a short space of time.

What excites me the most about being an intern for EY is the fact that people here really want to help you, and they want to ensure that you get the relevant exposure so you can build your skillset.        

My favorite speaker was Ken Bouyer and my favorite quote from the IILC was: "People don't care what you know until they know that you care." - Kailesh Karavadra


Sarah Murray, Ireland

The International Internship Leadership Conference was one of the best experiences to date. 

I and the other Irish intern flew from Dublin to New York and then onto Orlando. Altogether, we were traveling for over 20 hours, so by the time we arrived in the resort on the Monday night, we were well ready for our beds. The resort was lovely and absolutely huge. We all had apartments spread out throughout the complex on looking the lake. I was sharing with a Canadian intern called Audrey. Every night Audrey and I told each other about our offices, mine the Limerick office in Ireland and hers the Montreal office. 

The first day, we got a bus to another hotel and had a global breakfast. So, it was all interns except for the American interns. We had assigned seats, which was a great idea, as it meant we met interns from all around the world. I met a Norwegian girl and two more Canadian girls. 

We then went onto our better questions session given by Dan Black (Director, Americas Recruiting Leader) and David Williams (Partner, Capital Markets Technology Leader UK FSO and EMEIA FSO Advisory Graduate Sponsor). I found this extremely interesting — as back in our home offices and home countries, we have been hearing about the better questions campaign, but haven't really understood it. Dan and David explained the concept really well with some really interesting examples. If EY people were to simply ask our clients and ask each other more questions and better questions, we'd be more successful in our service lines. 

We then went back to the resort and it was registration time. This was everything and more than what I'd seen in the previous videos about the IILC. There were EY people everywhere — all dressed in crazy yellow clothes making loads of noise. It was like a massive pep rally. We ran through the hotel and into a massive room, where we got our swag bags; we checked in and there was so much free food for us. 

We then had time to ourselves, so we spent a few hours by the pool. That was a massive pool party. That night, we had the first general session. The general sessions consisted of all 3,300 interns in a huge conference room listening to amazing speakers from all areas of EY. 

Joe Maturando was our MC and he was brilliant. He was very natural on stage and hilarious. Natasha Stough also spoke about the organization behind the IILC and all the planning that went into the event. It was then that I realized that I had never attended an event of such magnitude, and it was unbelievable how everything ran like clockwork and they managed to pull it off so smoothly. It was a real “pinch myself” moment as I had been looking forward to the event for such a long time. I interned last year at the Limerick office and I remembered seeing a video of the 2016 IILC; and I knew there and then that I would love to be a part of such an event. 

Mark Weinberger, Global CEO, also spoke to us and he stayed around for pictures afterward. He was so lovely as there was a really long queue and he didn't mind at all. 

The next day, we all had breakfast, a general session and then I was assigned to team challenge. 

We were broken up into groups of 20 and we got to know each other. We had a number of challenges to do and we had to reflect on them afterward. One of them included holding channels (plastic hollow rods) and getting a marble from one end of the line to the other. The catch was we couldn't touch the channels off each other and two members had to be blindfolded. Spirits were extremely high and looking around the room, it showed me exactly how connected a organization like EY really is. 

That evening, we had an open park in the resort. We decided to go to the Magic Kingdom. We queued for two hours to go on the Space Mountain and it was worth it. We then went into the Thunder Mountain and saw the fireworks. I grew up watching Disney movies, so it was nothing short of magical for me to be in Disneyland. I was walking into my childhood

Thursday was the last day of the conference, I spent the day in workshops and they were all really interesting. Some of them were Q&A sessions, others were more interactive like us answering poll questions on our phone. 

One workshop was called building a better working world. It consisted of three speakers who were all EY people, and their journey and the struggles they endured to get to where they are today. It was very inspiring and some parts were emotional. It made me realise that behind every hard working EY employee, each person has their own individual story. The closing session was full of energy, Dan Black addressed us again and spoke all things EY. One thing I noted throughout the conference — all the speakers were very personal with us. They all introduced us to their families by showing us photos. 

After the general session, they had another room done for us. Nothing can describe my emotion when I walked through that door. The room was dark with disco lights and odd‑shaped lights hanging from the ceiling. There was a DJ and a dance floor. There were soft drink and food stations. There were glow sticks and sweets on the tables all around. There were carnival and arcade games everywhere. 

We ate, danced and had a great time, saying goodbye to all the other interns. 

I left the resort at 4:00 a.m. on Friday morning and got a shuttle bus to the airport. I was tired, but extremely satisfied. I had been looking at attending this event for the last year and had to do an interview to get selected to go. It felt like an amazing achievement, and it was so much more when I got there. I spoke to EY interns from all around the world — Italy, Spain, Australia, Serbia, India, Canada, America, Norway, France and many more. I have made contacts that I'll hopefully cross paths with during my EY journey. Overall, it exceeded my expectations and I was so honoured to be a part of the #IILC2017. 


Dominik Seng, Germany

IILC was a one‑of‑its‑kind experience. I met very diverse and international people from all over the world, all sharing their internship experience and the values EY brought. Next to the really well‑organized sessions during the conference, my highlight were the casual talks with all the participants.