How to get a Sponsored Degree: EY's Assurance Scholarship Programme and the Insider Application Tips

Fancy earning £40,000 at university, and landing work placements with a multi-national company? Well, it’s your lucky day: EY has launched a new scholarship programme. We chatted application tips with one of the Managing Partners.

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EY is a multinational professional services firm. They offer advice to other companies and ordinary people to help them solve problems, to help them check they aren't breaking the law and to help them buy other businesses.

The company’s new scholarship programme gives students the opportunity to study for a degree while receiving financial support and work experience.

Students studying for a degree in Accounting, Auditing & Finance at Lancaster University, and Accounting & Finance at the University of Bath and the University of Warwick are eligible to apply.

A total of 60 students will be awarded up to £40,000 in financial support, broken down into £15,000 over three years of study, and a salary during the placements.

They will also complete a paid summer work placement at an EY UK office in their second year of study, and a year in industry over their third year.

During these, students will put their academic theory into practice on real client assignments and projects, and study towards becoming an ICAS or ICAEW qualified chartered accountant. They will qualify faster than if they had entered EY through the graduate programme.

Students will not owe EY any money if they drop out of their studies or switch subjects, and those who complete will not be tied into working for the company.

So, how can you nail that application? AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk sat down with Assurance Managing Patrtner, Hywel Ball,to get his advice.

“I have to say the obvious first: study hard and get your exams, especially the basics, maths and English,” said Hywel. “You don’t need to be a mathematician, but you need to be comfortable with numbers.”

Hywel also emphasised the importance of other skills: “You need to be able to communicate well, in writing and when speaking. Our business is very social, so we need people who get on well with other people and are able to work in big teams. It’s really, really important to us.

“You have to be able to adapt and be flexible to different groups. I know everyone says that, but we work so closely with client teams that it really is essential.”

“I think a lot of people really underestimate that side of the business, they think you’re going to be an accountant, sit behind a desk, but most of it is about social interaction.”

And work experience doesn’t necessarily have to be in accountancy. “If you’re stacking shelves at a supermarket, if you’re in a team and working with lots of people, it’s just as relevant as an accountancy placement,” said Hywel.

“You just need to be able to speak about the experience – what challenges you faced, what skills you developed – and link it to the work at EY.

“It’s also really important that you start thinking about how you want to develop through your career.”

Those who get through to the assessment stage can expect a few interviews and tests in numeracy, language, and communication.

However, Hywel said: “The key thing we’ll be looking for is, what are you like as a person? So my key advice is, be yourself.”

To apply you’ll need grades B or higher in GCSE maths and English language or equivalent, and predicted AAB/A*AA in your A Levels or equivalent. You'll also need an offer of a place to study Accounting & Finance at one of EY's partner universities.

Sound like you? Visit the EY website for more details. 

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