How to make a summer internship work for you

It is no secret that work experience is highly valued by employers from almost any industry. A survey illustrated in gradireland’s Top 100 Leading Graduate Employers, reveals that 30.1 per cent of employers consider relevant work experience as an applicant requirement. Summer internships are a great way to gain valuable experience and strengthen your CV without disrupting your studies. Taking the time out of your summer to intern demonstrates drive, ambition and a willingness to learn, qualities that will impress employers. If you take full advantage of the experience, display determination, test your skills and knowledge and attempt to network and establish industry contacts, a summer internship could determine your future career path.

Maurese Gargan, Theoretical Physics student at TCD, gives us an insight into her summer internship experience in EY’s Risk Advisory Department.

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Maurese Gargan


At the beginning of my third year studying Theoretical Physics, I knew that I didn’t want to pursue an academic career. Instead, I hoped I could leverage the skills I had developed with my degree, such as problem solving and data analytics, and find a suitable career in the professional services industry. I was aware that careers in management consulting and advisory were well suited to people with strong problem solving skills, but I didn’t know much else about working in the field. I felt that an internship would be a good way to see if a job in professional services would suit my skills and personality.

My internship experience

I attended gradireland’s Graduate Careers Fair at the RDS and after speaking with the student recruitment team from EY, I knew it was the company for me! The application process and interview were made as straightforward as possible for me and, thankfully, I was a successful candidate. I was given a place on the 12 week summer internship in the Risk Advisory department in the Dublin EY office, and it was the beginning of the summer of a lifetime!

Coming from a “non-traditional” background into an accountancy firm left me a little nervous on my first day. I was worried that my lack of business knowledge would leave me at a disadvantage, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the other 42 summer interns were also from “unusual” degree courses. However, we were all provided with comprehensive training during our first week at the firm, so it turned out that my degree background was irrelevant because nobody was left in the dark.

Once I joined my service line, Advisory, I was made feel a part of the team. The Advisory management team made the interns feel very welcome and encouraged us to ask as many questions as we could. The partners and directors of the department sat on the same floor as everybody, so they were always approachable and happy to give us advice. I was allocated a “buddy” who I could bombard with silly questions and turn to if I needed help. I also had a counsellor who helped me to plan my 12 weeks, to set my goals and to ensure that I was reaching my potential during my internship. I was given work to do almost immediately and was well and truly thrown in at the deep end; completing client facing assignments, attending client meetings and working with senior members of the Advisory department. Although the work was something I had never done before, help was always available and ultimately the responsibility I had been given made it a valuable learning experience.

As well as all of the Advisory work, I also had many opportunities to work in other areas of the firm. I was able to work with the student recruitment team, the marketing department and the EY Entrepreneur of the Year team. I also completed a business challenge with six other summer interns from different departments. It gave us exposure to many areas within the firm and helped us to understand the inner workings of a large organisation.

The highlight of my internship, however, was definitely attending the EY International Intern Leadership Conference (IILC) in Disney World Florida. Alongside 2,300 of my intern colleagues from all over the world, I had the opportunity to attend leadership workshops, to experience large scale team building activities and meet the global CEO, Mr. Mark Weinberger. The week long event was also an incredible networking experience where I made international EY friends and also learned to appreciate how my input in the Dublin firm can affect the firm’s performance on a global level. The IILC taught me that even in large multinational corporations, every contribution is important.


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Maurese Gargan (left) with EY’s CEO Mark Weinberger (right)

My future

At the end of my 12 weeks, I was able to interview for a graduate position. After such a wonderful intern experience, I had absolutely no doubts that EY was where I wanted to start my career. Thankfully, the Advisory department felt that I had made a good impression and that I was the right fit for a graduate placement, starting September 2014. Since returning to college for 4th year, EY have given me the opportunity to work with them in their recruitment campaign and have continued to support me through my final year studies.  My summer internship experience ultimately launched my career into the professional services industry, and has adequately prepared me for my graduate placement with EY.

For further information and advice on internships and work placements, please visit

gradireland’s annual Summer Fair is the perfect opportunity for you to talk to individual employers about internships and work placements. 

For more information on the fair, please visit

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