with..... Akshita Dhingra
I am a 19 year old, third year student studying BSc Accounting and Finance. Having moved around quite a lot in my life, there are so many places I can call home. Originally from India, I’ve spent the past few years living in the UK. I completed my high school International Baccalaureate (IB) in Surrey and then moved to London for LSE. My family moved to Poland from UK two years ago, and that has been home since then.
You have recently completed an internship at Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as part of the Global Student Experience Programme. Can you tell us more about this?
This summer I was chosen as one of the seven students that represented EY’s UK offices in USA. As a part of this 11 week global internship, I flew to USA in July for a week long induction and training programme at EY’s US headquarters in New York. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet other international interns and learn about the importance of global networking within a diverse cultural business context.
After the induction, I interned in the New York office for three weeks within Transaction Advisory Services. Further to the internship, I also flew to Orlando for a week to attend the EY International Intern Leadership Conference. After completing five weeks in the USA offices, I returned to the UK for another six weeks to complete my internship in the London office within the Assurance service line.
This global internship has not only equipped me with skills necessary to cope better in the real world but has also prepared me well for my third year at LSE. I would like to thank LSE for providing such an excellent education and training along with a very supportive environment that enabled me to receive this opportunity. There couldn’t have been a better way to catapult my career in today’s global and fast-paced world.
Which has been the most interesting LSE public lecture you have attended?
The most interesting lecture I’ve attended has to be the one on Empowerment of Individuals and Institutions by Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen and the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde. It was a great opportunity to learn about the intersection of justice and economics from such great personalities.
What book are you currently reading and which have you enjoyed most in the past?
I am currently reading Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner. It has been on my bucket list for a long while and I finally have the chance to read it. One of the books that I have really enjoyed reading in the past is Arthur Hailey’s Money Changers. It was quite fascinating to read about politics within a major bank and also get an insight into the effects of technological revolution in the financial services sector.
What are your top tips for enjoying life in London?
There’s so much to do in London, the list is almost never ending. However, I feel the best way to enjoy university life in London is by striking the perfect balance between your study and leisure time. Taking some time out of my schedule every week to go see something new in London is my mantra of enjoying life in London.
If you could bring one famous person back to life, who would it be and why?
That’s a very tough question. There have been so many influential people in the past; it would be quite difficult to pick one! However, if I can only bring back one person back at this point in time, it would be Mahatma Gandhi. The reason for this would be that I want to bring back someone who can stimulate global peace with a non-violent attitude in today’s scenario.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Early on in my childhood I always wanted to be a teacher however, that idea changed quite soon. My love for science grew and I then wanted to be a neurologist for a really long time. It was only during my IB in Surrey, that things took a turn and I developed a strong liking towards economics and business and here I am.
For my Step Signature Project, I completed a Winter Assurance Internship with Ernst & Young in Columbus. I was able to get receive world experience in the career I’m hoping to pursue after graduation. Many of the activities that I experienced were helpful in the learning process of understanding what an audit does and what I would be doing upon graduation as an entry level staff for a public accounting firm.
Before my internship I was working very hard to do well in school and prove to employers that I am worthy of being employed by them. Much of my focus was on school and setting myself up to be attractive for an internship. Throughout this process I learned skills on networking, planning for the future, creating and following through with goals, and thinking of the big picture.
Throughout my internship, my view of the world changed and I was also able to develop new skills. I would say that my view changed due to getting a better understanding of the real world, meeting other coworkers and hearing their perspective, and from interacting with people who’ve had successful careers (partners). My views have changed from focusing to ace a class or exam to focusing so I can apply the knowledge to real world applications and also learning how the concepts may effect me in the future. My vision has been expanded to see the big picture instead of just focusing on the short term goal of doing well in a class.
Interning at EY was a great experience for me, where I was able to learn and grow my professional career. I was introduced to many new ideas and concepts with how business is done and how goals are accomplished. EY invested time and energy into us with trainings so we could develop the proper skills for the job. After completing the training programs, we were introduced to our audit teams. On the audit teams, we could apply the knowledge we learned in training and also continue to learn and expand our knowledge throughout the audit process. When I think back on my experience with EY, I am very thankful and blessed to have had the chance to intern with them.
Throughout my internship I had a close relationship with a particular employee. This employee was matched up with me as my peer advisor and he acted as a mentor. This relationship was important to me because he was a staff member who had just gone through the onboarding with EY and could answer many of the questions that I had. This relationship went beyond helping me feel more comfortable and answering easy questions, but it was also imperative to my development as an EY employee and as a professional. My peer advisor taught me lessons on how to conduct myself and what I should be doing to be successful as a staff member and as a full-time employee. Without this relationship, I don’t think I would’ve had as successful of an internship experience.
An event that occurred during my STEP Project that led to change/transformation was a final presentation at my internship. On the final day of our internship, groups of interns had to present an idea to the partners, some staff members, and members of the recruiting committee. This presentation included a culmination of our experience and it gave one idea of how we could improve EY moving forward. The reason this event was so transformational was because I have always been nervous about presentations and I always try to avoid them. The fact that I gave this presentation in front of partners and that it went smoothly has given me much more confidence in myself. Ever since this event, I have had tremendous confidence in myself and now I know I have the capabilities and skills to perform certain tasks, even if I may be a bit nervous. The internship overall and also the final presentation has transformed me into a much more confident employee/person.
My experience with EY has allowed me to validate my major choice of accounting and to also validate my choice of pursuing public accounting as my career choice out of college. Throughout school, I have always been interested in business but I have had the usual questioning of whether I’ve made the right decisions on what career to pursue. After completing my EY internship, I am now 100% sure on my career choice and STEP has been a contributor to this success.
I have had success throughout college by finding an internship and securing a job for after college and I attribute part of that success to STEP. The STEP process helped me have a supportive group when I was going through the recruiting process. My STEP advisor was also very helpful in giving me support and advice. With the support from STEP, I was able to focus on my internship and give myself the best experience that I could have. My STEP experience gave me new skills that will help me be better suited for the classroom and for when I enter my professional career after college.