1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I currently work within Transaction Advisory Services in Restructuring and fall into the Financial and Operational Restructuring team, where we develop solutions principally for corporate clients that are experiencing reduced stock market valuations, underperformance in part or all of their portfolio, restricted access to capital markets or pressure to restructure.
Within Restructuring you’d be involved in project-based work, so your work will depend on the restructuring solution or advisory service being provided to your client, as a result your day to day work will change throughout your time here as you experience different types of projects and interact with a variety of clients.
I am currently a Business Trainee and during my time here I have worked on numerous projects, including administrations, members’ and creditors’ voluntary liquidations, scheme of arrangements and financial advisory pieces, to name a few. The project I am currently involved with sees me take ownership of particular workstreams, producing internal and external reports, liaising with clients and attending client meetings alongside the partner.
Through a differential experience programme offered to me, I have been paired with a partner to work alongside them on all of their internal and external engagements as method of accelerating my development and preparing me for the next stage in my career.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
My technical knowledge and understanding of our practice, services and the sectors we operate and advise within is incomparable to what it was prior to joining the programme.
Through the experience accumulated, I have built not only knowledge but interest in specific sectors and my understanding of insolvency procedures and my approach to advisory services is at a stage I could not have previously anticipated.
My personal skills have also grown beyond what I would have imagined. My confidence is noticeably the largest change in my character, I am able to interact with senior employees and clients alike without issue, I can tackle problems independently and I feel as though through the direct investment and training given to me, I add value to the projects I am on.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The greatest thing I enjoy about the programme is that it doesn’t necessarily feel like a “programme”, everyone’s experience is different and it feels like an immediate start to your career with necessary training and exams added on top to provide some structure and to prepare you as you progress.
There are always going to be moments where you are not particularly enjoying the project you are on, luckily through rotation and a flexible team there is an ability to ensure you do not ever feel trapped.
I have very much enjoyed my whole time here at EY, that is not to say there haven’t been times of difficulty, but I am glad I have overcome the obstacles I have faced and I have been supported throughout.
In conclusion, it is not only a “programme”, but a life-defining experience as you commence your life of work.
4. How valued do you feel by EY?
Through my time working here I have genuinely felt like a valued employee.
There have been a number of occasions where I have raised feedback points on how I feel like I can personally accelerate my development, or pointed out specific areas where opportunity wasn’t equally being distributed and there has always been a push to improve and create an inclusive and diverse working environment.
I am offered a plethora of training courses, as a team there are constant updates on the work in the pipeline, there are initiatives to promote inclusiveness and there is support when it is needed.
The reason I feel valued is because I feel as though I have a voice that will be listened to; a workplace may not be perfect but if as a whole the company aims to constantly improve by listening to its employees, then they will feel valued and delivery valuable work, which is what I feel EY does.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme doesn’t have a very rigid structure, which has its pros and cons.
The most structured aspect is the exams we sit, which sees you reunited with your cohort to attend college and sit the exams. This is usually in 3 month chunks which are split between attending college, working and sitting the papers.
Periods where you are out for exams are organised according to when the Audit team are not at ‘peak season’, which, being part of Restructuring and not the Audit team, does not necessarily represent the height of the projects I am working on and feels unbalanced as sometimes I am forced to let go of great roles on projects due to the timing of college.
Apart from exams, everyone is placed into their respective service lines and commences work. Everyone’s journey is not necessarily guided by anything other than their work and specific training courses, this means that the programme allows every individual to shape their own experiences and take hold of very different opportunities.
Once we complete the 5 years of the programme we are all considered permanent staff, everyone is at the same rank and it is expected that everyone is a chartered accountant having successful attained the ACA qualification.
This structure provides individuals with fluidity and flexibility, though it may not be to everyone’s taste.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Our “training provider” would be the exams team, who manage and deal with organising the exams and the sittings and dealing with any queries that arise.
Where I have had any instance of personal difficulty which may affect my chance of successfully passing an exam, they have always acted in my favour and provided me with the support and put in place the appropriate actions to ensure my first sittings are when I pass the exams.
As a result of the above, I feel very supported by my training provider.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I am very supported by my employer, for example where I have asked for an exam deferral they have supported and authorised this based on the personal circumstances arising.
Wherever I have asked for further opportunities to develop, they have been granted and I have even completed a differential experience with a Partner of the firm as a method of accelerating my development and preparing me for the next stage of my career with direct guidance by someone who heads up the business.
There has never been a time where I have asked for help and it has not been given to me, which - considering the size of EY - is an incredible feature as an employer.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary currently matches that of a graduate, this does meet my costs and allows me to have disposable income, however, considering I have been in the business for 3 years by the time my contemporaries who have been to university join, with no experience they are matching my salary which doesn’t reflect the value I add in comparison to them, this is something which should be reviewed in future programmes.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
EY has a plethora of networks, they offer external mentors and have numerous links to social events and other opportunities to expand your network / experience beyond the firm.
As a result, you can take up as many (or as little) of these offerings as you would want, but the opportunity is always there.
In terms of work life balance, there are short bursts of intense periods but EY promotes flexibility and is a business that understand personal commitments and helps to ensure these aren’t compromised.
9a. Would you recommend EY to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
There is a genuinely push within EY for inclusivity and for the development of the individual, I have found that where you speak up you will be attended to, whether that relates to asking for different roles or varied experiences or whether there is something you are struggling with, somewhere within the machines of this humongous corporation there is someone to listen to your voice, which is something I thought I could find hard when getting accustomed to the corporate world.
I would recommend it based not only on connections and prospects, but because of the recent and sincere push by EY to have its people at the centre of its business and the incomparable opportunity for personal growth and development.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to EY? *
I would suggest reaching out to those who are in the business; there is a strong ‘helping others’ culture here and speaking to those who already work for EY or have gone through the programme will provide unparalleled insight and help guide your application.
During the application stage I would always recommend being a team player, but also showing your confidence and ability to lead, so finding a balance in illustrating this and always giving examples when asked about your strengths is key to being successful and getting through the door.
You should have a very basic understanding of the service line you are applying for and make sure you show that you are enthusiastic.
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