My Tax Experience
- Alex A
Alex is currently studying for a Politics and Philosophy degree at The University of Newcastle. Alex completed EY's summer internship in July 2017 and also attended the EY Young Tax Professional of the year competition after winning the local UK competition. Here he tells us about his experiences.
What were the key factors that made you choose an internship with EY?
I had a great feeling about EY from the minute I stepped in the door at the Assessment Centre I attended and I could imagine myself working here. I had heard a lot about EY at University and EY was by far the most streamlined and friendly recruitment process I’d been through. EY definitely stood out for me.
How do you feel EY has supported you in your career so far?
EY has definitely given me the opportunities to succeed with the experience I have had on my internship and also through the Young Tax Professional of the Year competition which was absolutely incredible and a great opportunity to network with senior EY people. EY seems like the kind of firm where there are many opportunities to help you throughout your career. At my time at EY, I completed the 4-week summer internship and took part in the 5-day international competition, which was held Amsterdam.
Why did you decide to enter the EY Young Tax Professional of the year competition?
I originally found out about the competition through an office wide email during the internship and was informed by a more senior colleague that this competition a good option and I should go for it. I thought, why not apply for it?
What did you have to do to enter the first stage of the local UK competition?
Initially I submitted an essay on the UK’s corporation tax changes in 2020 and whether this made it a tax haven or a great place to do business. It was an intriguing topic with plenty to research.
After submitting the essay I was lucky enough to get through the UK final which was held in the EY Canary Wharf office in London. On the day, it was brilliant to meet the partners and encompass a boardroom type scenario where I had the opportunity to present in front of such a high calibre of individuals. I presented a new version of my essay as a PowerPoint in the boardroom in front of both clients and partners. Although it was intimidating at first, I thoroughly enjoyed the unique experience and was ecstatic when I found out I’d won.
After you won the UK competition, you were given a coach to prepare you for the international final in Amsterdam. How did you find the coaching experience?
My coach was a Tax Director based in the Newcastle office. He was great and contacted me very soon after I found out I won the competition. We had a couple of meetings in the Newcastle office to discuss my presentation skills, tax technical skills and the expectations for Amsterdam. My coach was very supportive throughout the entire process. Lesley, the UK Young Tax Professional of the year in 2016 and current EY graduate, also send me a few emails asking how I was doing too.
How did you find the International Young Tax final in Amsterdam?
The International final was brilliant, it was such a great opportunity just being able to be there and meet EY people and other people competing - it was such a supportive and nurturing environment. I remember flying out on the first day for the competition and it seemed surreal I was getting to experience EY’s international culture. I still didn’t believe it until I landed, walked through the arrival doors and saw someone holding the EY logo at the airport ready to pick me up.
All the information I was given was really good and helped me broaden my own tax knowledge. I feel perhaps if I had I studied Tax at University it could have been more to my advantage nevertheless, I studied politics at university and felt this has given me some great presentation skills and it brought a different skill and mind-set to the table.
What was your favourite part?
The entire competition to be honest, I couldn’t really pick one thing out. The Gala dinner on the Wednesday night during the competition in Amsterdam was outstanding. The new senior programme was being facilitated at the same conference centre as us so we were not only having dinner people in the Young Tax Professional competition, we were having dinner with new EY Senior consultants from all around Europe.
How do you feel your time at EY has helped you prepare to make an impact in your career?
It has given me a huge step forward in comparison to my peers. First of all in my internship and then the Young Tax Professional competition. These are the fundamental building blocks to how I will go on to start my career after University. I’ve been able to work in teams with people from different cultures, backgrounds and experience EY within a global context. The competition has really given me a unique opportunity.
What would you tell people about the EY culture?
Compared to many other accountancy firms and city companies, EY makes a huge effort to be diverse and inclusive, which leads to the firm being outgoing in the market. You can really feel this from the moment you step in. I wouldn’t have continued with EY from the Assessment Centre if I wasn’t made to feel like this from day one. The entire ethos of EY is centred on Building a Better Working World and I really felt EY was the company I could see myself working in the most.
Finally, what advice would you give to students, looking to join EY?
Do it. Don’t hesitate. EY is a great company and it will give you opportunities wherever you want to go.