Andy did two tours of Northern Ireland and overseas exercises with The Light Infantry before transitioning to civilian life.
After the Army
I joined an insurance group to train as an Underwriter in London. After a short time, I was put forward as a work-stream leader on a major transformation project at the company’s head office, working alongside a team from EY. This was a great project to be involved with and convinced me that a career in consultancy beckoned. I spoke with the EY project director, who suggested I do an MBA, as he had done. I studied for an MBA at Henley and joined EY’s Insurance team in 2000. I was part of the Management Consultancy business which was sold off to an IT company, but I re-joined EY’s Insurance team (part of Financial Services) in 2006, along with most of my old team. During the six years I was away, I got some useful performance improvement experience with insurance clients on a variety of domestic and international projects. I started back in EY’s Performance Improvement practice. However, having demonstrated that I could deliver projects effectively, I wanted to leverage this experience to show that I could also develop new relationships with clients and originate work. I then moved to the account management team and now look after a portfolio of global and specialist insurance clients.
I have wonderful variety in my job looking after a great client base. My role involves managing the overall relationship with key clients and winning new business across our service lines. This may involve transactions, market research, operating model design, IT and tax advice or assurance work involving international teams from EY. The role requires you to know your industry but also have the social confidence to create new client relationships and leave them with a positive impression of EY. This comes easily to military people who are used to presenting to large numbers of soldiers on a regular basis. I still also undertake delivery engagements, leveraging my experience and industry background, which keeps me current, in terms of industry knowledge.
My military background has certainly been helpful in my civilian career. The Estimate process has always been useful to clarify the objective of any situation and plan accordingly. The willingness to be flexible and hit deadlines that the military instils has also been useful. This career can involve a lot of travel and living out of a suitcase (rather than a rucksack) and normally a lot has to be achieved in a short timescale on most of our projects, which involves working long hours and weekends. The military is very similar but normally less comfortable!
The main change I have had to make in my management style, is to recognise I now work with some very smart technical specialists from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds. Instead of doing all of the thinking and giving the orders, my role is to help them understand the client situation and manage and support them to produce, and execute, the best solution. EY has been a great place to work, with wide variety of people who all bring something different to the firm; the military ones included.