I am currently a third year Economics and Accounting student, and I was a Summer Leadership Program participant for three of the Big 4 public accounting firms. I attended the programs in San Francisco for Ernst and Young, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. All three of the programs were in July within a two week period and lasted about a day and a half. Through the summer programs, I received internship offers from each of the firms and ultimately decided to intern with Deloitte next summer.
The firms had similar programming ideas that were executed differently, which gave recruits insight into the culture at the firm. Different segments of the program included: an overview of the service lines, networking activities, team bonding activities, and an overview of the company culture. Some of the activities included: a cruise through the Bay, packaging meals with all of the participants and professionals to donate, a scavenger hunt through San Francisco, going to a Giants game, and playing ping pong while networking. There were numerous exciting activities that allowed me to network with both professionals and fellow students. I also got the chance to explore San Francisco – the city that I will be working in next summer.
An integral aspect of the programs was learning about the different service lines and figuring out which one I would like to work in. I learned more about audit, tax, and advisory through the presentation on the first day of each program. The services offered by the firms are similar but each firm organizes their groups differently. The presentations on each service line helped students choose their path with the firm and meet professionals who are currently working in those groups. I was able to have in depth conversations with professionals in each of the service lines and hear about their day to day activities. I ultimately decided to join the audit practice based on what I learned through the presentations and my conversations with various audit professionals.
I really enjoyed meeting and bonding with students from different schools. I was able to have many conversations that really broadened my horizons and allowed me to learn about college experiences that I still need to have. For example, I made a friend from UCLA who is going to visit the same country that I would like to visit through UCEAP. I will definitely be contacting her before I go to hear about all the amazing adventures she had while abroad. I also met professionals of all backgrounds from all over the world. The highlight was always when I met former Gauchos! I was able to clearly see the path they took and visual myself in their position.
Overall, it was an incredible experience with each firm because I learned more about myself and met so many successful individuals. I learned something from each person I met and all of the conversations I had. I would recommend applying to the summer leadership conferences for each firm so that you can discover where you have the best cultural fit. It is a valuable experience to have while deciding your career path because you get a great overview of what it is like to work for a Big 4 firm.