This week was packed with so many activities. We started off our Monday with a lecture on the Irish economy from Dr. Alessia Passagnini in the Quinn School of Business at UCD. This lecture provided us with information on the European Union as well as Ireland’s economic impact/struggles. Some important information we learned related back to Ireland accounting for .9% of the EU’s population as well as before becoming apart of the EU, Ireland depended economically on farming. Although, according to our slides, nowadays global exports as well as hi-tech industry help support the Irish economy. The lecture was FILLED with tons of useful information. All of us left there feeling like we really got a taste of the history and understanding of the Irish economy.
Later on that day, it was time to head over to Ernst & Young! On our way over there I was definitely nervous. While I am not an accounting major I had no idea what to expect and going to one of the big 4 accounting firms was an intimidating thought in the beginning. I was so worried about whether or not I was going to be able to work in this type of environment and if I would even understand what was going on. As we arrived we were put in a large room with all of the other EY interns. We took a seat waiting to be told what the plan was for the day. We found out that we were all going to be competing against each other and be split up into teams of around 9 people, but our teams had to be a mixture of Arkansas and EY. The competition was based off of a case study where we had to analyze different scenarios and decide which would be the best for a company looking to expand. we had about an hour to analyze and put together a powerpoint to present to the crowd. Our team worked very well together and we came up with some great ideas, it just turned out that we didn’t quite have enough time to really organize our powerpoint as well as we would have liked. But the experience itself was a great one. I learned a lot about working with complete strangers and time management as well as what it would be like to be given a project like that and to have to present it to what could one day be a Board of Directors.
Some of the interns in this photo have become some great friends! They were all so kind and showed us around town. At least for me, I felt like this is what studying abroad is all about. It’s about getting a hands on education in places you wouldn’t be able to experience in your home country as well as making friends and embracing different cultures for what they are.
On Tuesday, we made our way over to the Glasnevin cemetery. This cemetery has more people buried in it than the entire population of Ireland (which happens to be around 4.6 million). As we were walking around you could tell how much respect the Irish have for their deceased, especially O’Connel, as well as Michael Collins just based off the flowers still left on their graves. These two have a lot of history built up between them.
That night we were off to watch the Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre! This was one of my favorite memories from the trip. The Irish Dancing and singing throughout the performance was amazing. The talent was unbelievable to watch. It provided a traditional look into Irish Dance as well as incorporating a modern spin on it. Watching the show made me wish I didn’t have 2 left feet. Below is a picture of the Gaiety Theatre.
The next day we continued with our second stop at Deloitte. I was so impressed with the people and culture there. My ears definitely perked up when they said they accepted people with different majors. The day consisted of another competition, but this time it was all of our study abroad group on teams competing against one another. The competition was not what I had expected.
We were on teams of 3 and there were 4 parts to the competition with 15 minutes to complete each section. My team began at the analytics station where we had to use a computer program to decide if implementing a program to teach undereducated people would be beneficial in a certain area of town by gathering data on a multitude of things. Next, we moved on to tax. This station required us to determine whether or not certain companies involved in different types of situations deserved tax breaks- this was determined by if they met a series of constraints, which is what we were required to figure out. The next stage of competition was the ‘As One’ challenge. It was our job to pitch to “representatives” of the Rio olympics on behalf of Deloitte and express why we would be their best option for handling their financials and logistics. This was challenging because of the time constraint but we managed to put together and present our ideas. Our last stop of the competition was Forensics. We had to decode a message but first had to figure out the key. The message solved was “those who never make mistakes never tried anything new.”
Once the challenge was over we were a bit relieved. It was all non-stop and almost exhausting. It was a great experience and something I’d feel more comfortable doing if I was ever thrown into that situation again.
It was fun to get a taste of what goes on everyday for those working at these firms. The experiences at both were really unique and beneficial. I feel like this type of real world experience is allowing us to see what it would be like to works for these types of firms one day in the future and to allow us a glimpse at what we may or may not like.