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Five minutes with Ollie

Corporate Finance Assistant Executive, Ollie, provides insight into his journey so far at EY, and shares his advice for those school leavers exploring alternatives to university. Ollie joined EY straight from college three years ago.

Why did you decide to pursue an alternative to university to start your career in business?

My original plans post-18 were to go to straight to university, following which I wanted to pursue a career in finance, and to do so I secured a place to study at Exeter University.

However I began to look into the alternatives to university when EY visited my college to deliver a presentation about the opportunities available on the EY School Leaver programme. It was at this point I realised there were options outside of university that would allow me to achieve the same career aspirations as going to university. In fact, I would be able to make these achievements 1 year earlier than I had previously anticipated had I followed the university route.

When it came to making my decision between University and EY there were a few benefits of joining the EY School Leaver I could not ignore. The globally recognised chartered accountancy qualification, work experience from my first day, and a career at a big four firm with no student debt!

What have been your key career milestones on your journey as a business trainee in Restructuring?

There have been a few!

My first career milestone came within a month of joining the firm. This was my first contact with clients. I had been through my initial training and my manager felt confident in putting me in front of her clients. Being able to gain such experience at such an early stage was fantastic.

Next came the first set of accountancy exams...with some hard work on my part I passed these!

At the end of the first 6 month period in restructuring I was provided with my first set of official feedback from the various teams I had been working with – all positive. This represented a key milestone for me as it was the recognition for the hard work I had put in that I’d been looking for.

From an exam perspective the next milestone was after passing 9 exams. At this point I became a part qualified chartered accountant. This part qualification alongside my work place performance resulted in my first promotion, just 2 years after joining the firm – at the same time many of my old college friends were only just returning to university for their final year of study.

Following the promotion this gave me the opportunity to begin to coach more junior team members. To be given the responsibility to coach, and delegate to junior staff after just 2 years with EY felt like a real achievement and shows how supportive EY are of personal development.

What are your plans for the future?

I now just have 2 ACCA exams left. I hope to sit these exams in December. Dependant on these results I will then be a qualified chartered accountant in February 2015, at the age of 21! Upon qualifying I should then be promoted to Executive, at which point I will be responsible for the day to day running of projects. The qualification your receive is internationally renowned and EY have offices in over 150 countries around the world, as such once qualified next year I hope to explore my options to work in one of our overseas offices.

What would be your top tip for someone looking at alternatives to university?

Attend events such as the EY Insight Evenings to get a good understanding of the business you are going to be joining. These will often also give you an opportunity to meet members of the recruitment team who are there to provide advice on your application, and to connect you with trainees like me on the programme so you can find out more about working in professional services. I’m on Twitter so please feel free to ask me any questions @EYOllie

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