Delaney Ritter and Stephanie Hintz were thrilled last year when they learned that financial services giant Ernst & Young had selected them to spend the summer as interns at the firm’s office in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Later, they were even more delighted to discover what professional doors such an internship could open.
Ritter, a 2015 graduate of Elmhurst, and Hintz, a senior majoring in accounting and finance, turned their experiences in Germany into full-time positions in the firm’s Chicago office. Ritter is working in Ernst & Young’s international tax service division; Hintz will begin working as an auditor with E&Y in August.
The two learned of the internship opportunity through Elmhurst’s Center for Professional Excellence (CPE). The CPE’s staff worked with 2009 graduate Anna Martin, an E&Y professional in Europe, to make two internships positions available to students from Elmhurst in the summer of 2015. Hintz and Ritter were selected from among a field of Elmhurst applicants.
“I had always been interested in travel and international business, so when I heard about this internship in Germany, I knew I had to apply,” Ritter recalled. She and Hintz, friends and fellow residents of West Hall, were happy to learn that they would both be spending the summer in Germany. Their preparations for their time abroad were so thorough that by the time their new employer offered to help them find housing in Düsseldorf, they were able to reply that they had already taken care of that detail. The Elmhurst students had found themselves an Airbnb apartment not far from the Ernst & Young offices.
Hintz and Ritter spent three months in Düsseldorf, and Hintz called the time there “an incredible learning experience.” The students sat in on meetings with company chief financial officers and worked on complex analytics projects.
“They threw us in the deep end, and that was so cool,” Ritter said.
Their work seems to have impressed their employers; upon their return to the United States, each was invited to interview at the firm’s Chicago office for a full-time position.
Ritter began working full time at Ernst & Young’s Chicago office in January. She said she was impressed with her coworkers’ diversity.
“They come from all over the world, but there is diversity of experience, too,” Ritter said. “Ernst & Young has been named one of the top places to work in Chicago, and there is a reason why their reputation is so strong.”
She and Hintz credited Elmhurst and the CPE with preparing them to enter the professional world.
“I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for the CPE,” Hintz said. “It’s been my dream to live and work in Chicago, so I’m really excited to have this opportunity. I’m so grateful.”
“Elmhurst presented me with the opportunity to go anywhere in the world,” Ritter said. “I wouldn’t be doing this job otherwise. They give you the chance, but you have to have the initiative.”