In 2022, Cappfinity partnered with EY’s UK student recruitment team to develop and deliver the “EY VR Internship of the Future,” an immersive, inclusive, and differentiated approach to early careers recruiting and intern attraction and development.
Built on VR and other digital technologies, Cappfinity and EY created a unique internship program that provided greater insights than other virtual experiences into the authentic working world of EY.
NACE AWARD WINNERCappfinity is co-winner of the 2023 NACE Business Affiliate Innovation Award for the “EY VR Internship of the Future.” For more information about the NACE Awards program and the full list of award winners/honorable mentions, see www.naceweb.org/about-us/nace-awards/.
“EY UK, wanted to create something that's innovative, immersive, engaging, inclusive, and really speaks to not having any bias,” says Trudy Steinfeld, Cappfinity’s strategic advisor, partnerships, U.S. and global evangelist.
“Certainly, some of this was born out of the pandemic when we used different means to provide an authentic experience, but we also wanted to give EY’s interns opportunities that the average intern would not have while preparing them for the future. People from all backgrounds were able to participate in the EY VR Internship as it leveled the playing field.”
The overall internships were a blend of in person and virtual. During the virtual component, EY interns followed a five-week, self-led journey using a VR headset provided by the firm. The VR headset was preloaded with different tasks, experiences, and activities, but also the gave the intern the ability, for example, to virtually join meetings with other interns and colleagues at different levels, interact with simulated clients, and learn how to make a pitch to sell an idea.
“From virtually sitting in on an initial client meeting in Week 1 through delivering a final ‘pitch’ to senior EY stakeholders in Week 5, interns learned, planned, and prepared in a virtual setting,” Steinfeld explains.
“All of these points elevated the experience for the interns because they were so immersed in it and felt better equipped for EY and the workplace.”
Key aspects of the VR program include:
- Providing students with access to all levels of the EY ecosystem;
- Enabling students to gain confidence and a greater understanding of their own skills and competencies; and
- Creating opportunities to join the EY working world of the future.
The outcomes were impressive. Results of an intern survey show that:
- 92% said the internship made them more curious to learn about tech consulting;
- 100% said their understanding of client projects had improved;
- 100% said they were more confident attending business meetings than they were before the internship;
- 83% said they were more confident using these new technologies;
- 83% of the interns said they now view EY as a very tech-centered company.
“It's unique for a student to truly be able to feel like they are in situations that, if they joined EY in the future, they would actually be in. For the user to be able to experience what it feels to be in a meeting with partners and understand how to prepare because they have ‘lived it’ is extremely beneficial,” Steinfeld says.
“Employers can give a student a job description and students can go through interviews and be told what a job is like, but for them to be in the moment in the EY VR Internship of the Future and to be saturated with the experience in real time feels very different and they come away with a skill set—collaboration, curiosity, presentation, professional etiquette, and more—that they can apply to their career.”