In this “Internship Experience” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of our students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as they return from summer internships.
Name: Matthew Kikel
Graduation Year: 2021
Majors: Finance / Information Management & Technology
Hometown: Northport, NY
Intern Company/Title: EY – Technology Consulting Intern
Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
This summer, I was a consulting intern in the Technology Solutions Delivery (TSD) domain. TSD’s primary focus is on implementing new technology and systems for companies. The client I worked with hired EY to help move their business processes into the cloud. This project was unique, not only me but also EY, in that it was the first implementation of the specific system and software.
In addition to typical intern duties, such as attending and taking notes during team and client meetings, I was tasked with ‘de-sensitizing’ or removing confidential information from documents. Joining the project several months after its start, analyzing these documents was beneficial to my understanding of the project. I learned the exact supply chain, human resource and finance processes crucial to a large company in my assigned industry.
EY did a fantastic job of providing around 3,000 students across the world a 5-week internship and providing us with ample resources and the tools we needed to maximize our experience. While working on a client project for three weeks, interns were still encouraged to complete self-learning in various fields, such as data protection and visualization.
How did you land your internship?
I had first learned about EY during an iSchool immersion trip to New York City in my sophomore year. This trip’s focus was to visit financial firms and learn how technology affects them and allows them to improve their efficiency and capabilities. On this trip, we visited several firms, with EY being one of them. EY stood out to me due to its emphasis on company culture and dedication to its clients.
During the fall semester of my junior year, I began to research and apply to companies for an internship in the upcoming summer. Knowing I was interested in interning at EY, I spoke with the campus recruiters and attended the career fair. Following my application, I received an invitation for a first-round virtual interview, followed by a second and final round interview at their Times Square office. About a month later, I received an internship offer for the summer of 2020.
What did you learn from your internship experience?
The biggest takeaway from my internship is the importance of curiosity and soft skills. Every person I had the opportunity to meet within the firm stressed the importance of clearly articulating your thoughts and questions in an organized, coherent matter. EY’s culture emphasizes the importance of teamwork and collaboration and it was evident from the first day of training. Leaders in the firm repeatedly stated that no one, especially interns, is expected to know everything. This results in an atmosphere conducive to questions and the outcome are improved efficiency and solutions, specifically within the consulting division.
Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
My internship did not change my plans, but instead reaffirmed them. I was interested in consulting as a possible career path, but was unsure of what the day-to-day activities entailed. My internship was valuable because I got to experience and see first-hand the average day for a consultant is and what their expectations and duties. My peer advisor, counselor and engagement team were the most important factors to me as they ensured my success during this internship.
How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
I was lucky enough to receive a full-time offer from EY after completing my internship. Because of this, the experience will help me greatly, as it allowed me to network and gain experience within the firm before starting full-time. After speaking with many employees during my internship, they stated its advantages and how it will initially give me a ‘leg up’ and familiarity within the firm.
How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
The most important resource Whitman offers is the Excel certification course every student is required to complete. Another important prerequisite course that is beneficial and carries over past college is BUA 345. Every financial business uses Excel daily, and coming into an internship with a strong background of functions is necessary. PowerPoint and presentation skills are equally important. to communicate information verbally and visually.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
The two things I enjoyed the most about my internship experience were the people I worked with and my opportunities. Despite only completing client work for three weeks, my team welcomed me and took time out of their busy schedules to teach me about the client, the industry and the consulting profession, while also introducing me to the client team members.
In addition to working with a great team, I was able to form strong relationships with many people outside of my immediate network through virtual coffee dates, networking and intern events. The opportunities offered by a large, multinational firm, such as EY, helped me develop and strengthen many important skills for my future career. The firm consistently provided us resources to improve our knowledge of the firm itself, the industry and sector we were working in, and the subject areas we were interested in.
Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
The biggest advice I can offer to underclassmen looking for an internship is to take advantage of the many opportunities that Syracuse University has to offer. When I initially went on the iSchool immersion trip, I was not even in the school or pursuing an IMT major yet. Additionally, it is important to attend the many speakers and events the University offers and network and form connections with as many people as you can.