In all fairness, I only had eight weeks of internship experience at Ernst and Young to go off of for my decision to go back. When full-time fall recruiting season came around, I tried to find excuses to recruit and find something “more prestigious.” You see, I’d envisioned myself at a management consulting firm since sophomore year. And it was very easy to see that job as an end goal, this internship as a steppingstone. It takes a moment’s thought to dispel that idea, and everyone comes to the realization eventually. There is no end goal. The moment a goal is reached, or even before, a new one is formed. Which begs the question: what are we looking for? If goals bring momentary happiness and are discarded, then what do we want? What do I want?
Over the summer, doing tech advisory for Ernst and Young’s exponentially growing Financial Services Office, I was furiously doing whatever it took to get results to our client. They threw me into new waters and let me swim. I was analyzing data, picking up new programming languages, conceiving strategies regarding regulations, and I was having a blast learning so much. I was in New York City, around my friends and my family. Better than that, I had time to even explore the city with my girlfriend. Most importantly, at Ernst and Young, there is an extremely strong “people culture.” That phrase reeks of insincere professional-speak, so I’ll put it another way – they care about you. It’s hard to ask more of such a large company. I figure, and I could be wrong, that it’s not just chasing the ball that brings the dog happiness, but the fields he runs through and the friends and family he runs with.
So I suppose I’ll be missing Penn when I graduate. It’s a unique place. I wonder, though, if I’ll be one of those alumni who wistfully advise to recruits, “Enjoy it while you’re there! I was happiest in college.” That’s a rather scary fate to contemplate, don’t you think? I can’t say for sure that Ernst and Young will be as fun and fulfilling as Penn, but it will be close, and it will be awesome.
Jack is a current M&T senior in the Class of 2013. He studies Materials Science within Penn Engineering and Management, Entrepreneurship, and Operations and Information Management in the Wharton School.