AAW Accounting Students Gain Insights into “Big 4” Practices with Ernst & Young Visit

2 months

Although Ernst & Young is a member of the internationally renowned group of Big 4 accounting firms, AAW Accounting students were not completely familiar with the company so AAW Career Advisor, Kellye Blackburn organized a field trip to the firm.

Seven Semester-8 Accounting students and three Semester 7 Accounting students from the HCT-Al Ain Women’s campus (AAW), accompanied by David Nabi, CGA Accounting faculty member, visited the Ernst & Young offices in Abu Dhabi to learn more about internships and full time employment opportunities, as well as to familiarize themselves with the firm’s practices.

Najat Hamad, Campus Recruitment Consultant, planned an informative Ernst & Young InSight Day during which the students were able to:

  • Get an insight into Ernst & Young and, more specifically, the Audit program
  • Get an insight into the Graduate Development Program and the support offered in obtaining a professional qualification
  • Build relationships with a diverse group of firm professionals, from graduates who recently joined Ernst & Young to partners.

The students heard from several Ernst & Young employees who praised the firm as an exceptional place to train, learn and work. Bulund Iqbal, Ernst & Young Managing Partner, gave a very informative presentation to the group, mentioning many Emirati men and women in prestigious government positions who began their work experience as employees at the firm.

In response to Semester 8 Accounting student Alanood Al Qubaisi’s question about the secret to success, Mr. Iqbal told the group: “The secret to success is having passion for what you do. I have worked for Ernst & Young for almost 22 years and every day I wake up with the same passion for my work.”

“Gain as much experience as you can working for a good company and the money will come,” he added.

He also mentioned that Ernst & Young’s top priority is to hire more women because women add strength to the company workforce. “Women can do a lot. Women can work, and manage their households, family, children and husbands and they can do it all very well,” he explained.  Mr. Iqbal gave an example of an Emirati female employee with Ernst & Young who works flexible hours, is married with young children, excels in her work and received a promotion recently.

Nada El-Dieb shared with the group her experiences working as a Senior Auditor for Ernst & Young. Nada said that she really wanted to work for the company because of its great reputation as one of the top accounting firms in the world and that she had turned down a job opportunity in Al Ain in order to accept a position with Ernst & Young.

Ms. Najat highlighted several reasons why Accounting majors should consider joining the Graduate Audit Program with Ernst & Young. Principal among these is the diversity of the workforce. Ernst & Young employees come from so many different countries and speak many different languages but they all work together with the common goal to be the best accounting firm possible.

Ms. Najat reviewed the employment application selection process which includes three tests in English, Accounting and Aptitude. Once candidates pass the tests they are invited to visit the company for an interview where applicants’ level of motivation, confidence, communication, teamwork and leadership skills are assessed.

AAW Career Advisor Kellye Blackburn said: “Visiting the Ernst & Young offices allowed our students to see, hear and experience many of the benefits of working in the private sector.”

This field trip was so successful that one of the students who participated in the trip has already applied for the Graduate Development Program, a full-time, salaried training programme. Hopefully a few more students will apply for full-time and summer internships or work experience opportunities with Ernst & Young.

Accounting Faculty member David Nabi said: “The students now understand exactly what a career in public accounting would be like. Thirty-six years ago I started my own career in public accounting at a Big 4 company in Canada. I have told the students that the Graduate Development Program is the best way to spend the first two or three years of their business career due to the diversity of work and support they will receive. Congratulations Kellye for organizing such a useful trip. The remaining Accounting majors are already anticipating next year’s trip.”

Special thanks to Ms. Najat for planning such an informative Ernst & Young InSight Day and to the Ernst & Young staff members who took time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences with AAWC students.